Two Asian-American Filmmakers Receive Academy Award Nominations for Best Documentary

Two documentaries directed by Asian-American filmmakers have been nominated for the 2019 Academy Awards for Best Documentary (Feature): Bing Liu’s “Minding the Gap” and Jimmy Chin’s “Free Solo,” which is also co-directed by his wife Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.

“Free Solo” follows world renowned free solo climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to fulfill his wish to climb El Capitan, the 3,000-foot granite rock in Yosemite National Park, in June 2017, AsAm News reported. He became the only athlete to ever make the treacherous ascent without any ropes or safety equipment.


The fillm won Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for Most Compelling Living Subject (Alex Honnold), Best Cinematography (Jimmy Chin, Clair Popkin and Mikey Schaefer), Most Innovative Documentary, Best Sports Documentary, and the Cinema Eye Audience Choice Prize for Chin and Vasarhelyi, as noted by the report.


“Minding the Gap,” meanwhile, focuses on the story of three long-time skateboarder friends. They follow each others’ lives as they grow up together, go through their teenage lives, and eventually take on adult responsibilities.

As he focuses on friends Zack, who is about to become a father himself, and Keire, who is grappling with his racial identity, Liu realizes that he must resolve his feelings about his own abusive childhood,” the synopsis read via Oscars.

The documentary, which is currently streaming on Hulu and will air on PBS on February 18, won Critics’ Choice Documentary Award for Best First Time Director and a Film Independent Spirit Truer Than Fiction Award as well as the Best Editing Award from the Los Angeles Film Critics Association.

“Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision,” directed by Frieda Lee Mock in 1994, was the first documentary by an Asian-American director to ever win in this category.

The winners in the category are set to be announced at the Oscars on February 28 on ABC.

Featured images (left) via Instagram / bingliu89, (right) via Instagram / jimmy_chin

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