Icarus, the Netflix documentary which started out as a film about doping in the Haute Route and ended up exposing Russian state-sponsored doping, has been nominated for an Oscar.
The film by Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan is up for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, with the winner being announced at an awards ceremony in Los Angeles on March 4.
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Released on Netflix last summer, the film began as an attempt by Bryan Fogel to see what would happen if he took performance-enhancing to take part in the Haute Route sportive, aiming for a high result overall and seeing if he could avoid being caught in anti-doping controls.
However things quickly get out of hand, as Fogel enlists the help Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping programme, with the intention of being given assistance with the doping and avoiding anti-doping tests, before learning about Russian state-sponsored doping at the Sochi Winter Olympics in 2014.
Fogel then helps Rodchenkov provide testimony to help expose the scandal to the world, giving an interview with the New York Times before Rodchenkov is forced to go into hiding due to threats against his life
The film has garnered widespread critical acclaim, described by critic Brian Tallerico as “remarkable, as we watch a man’s life and safety circle the drain” and “a cracking documentary”, which has now been rewarded with the Academy Award nomination.
Fogel and Cogan will face tough competition in the Best Documentary Feature category from the likes of Faces Places, a French documentary which follows filmakers Agnès Varda and JR travelling around France creating portraits of the people and communities they meet, and Last Men in Aleppo, which focuses on the White Helmets, a volunteer search and rescue organisation which worked to save lives during the siege of Aleppo in Syria.