With the Oscar nominations now announced, we head into what’s essentially “Phase 2” of the Oscar campaign season. Here, all bets are off as the various studios aim to make the case for why their movie deserves to win all the Oscars. As such, 20th Century Fox has released a 44-minute documentary about Alejandro G. Iñárritu’s frontier-set revenge drama The Revenant, offering an extensive behind-the-scenes look at the difficult production.
Based on guild recognition, overall buzz, and Oscar narratives, I’d say the Best Picture race this year is really down to Spotlight and The Revenant, with The Big Short playing the potential spoiler. And with The Revenant, the movie sure has a buzzy narrative: that it was a hellish shoot for all involved, stretching over 9 months in secluded areas of Canada with impossible conditions for the cast and crew.
Much of that is on display in this official documentary, which offers a fascinating look at the making of the Leonardo DiCaprio film while also highlighting a couple of areas of importance: the indigenous peoples that the production encountered while making the movie, and the severe effects of climate change that made the shoot so tricky; when they were expecting snow, they got no snow, and eventually had to move the production to down near Antarctica in order to find the snow cover needed to shoot the film’s ending.
While this documentary was no doubt intended to appear on the film’s Blu-ray either way, it’s no coincidence that Fox has made it available to watch online for free just as we’re in the thick of Oscar voting. Regardless, this has been one of the most widely reported-on productions in recent history, so it’s nice to actually get a peek behind the curtain at what really went down. And to see master cinematographer Emmanuel Lubezki at work, obviously.
Watch the documentary below, via The Playlist.