I have an idea that in this, a year in which a sizable percentage of Academy members are committed to expressing anti-OscarsSoWhite sentiments, the Academy’s doc branch might want to give Ava Duvernay‘s 13th their Best Documentary Feature Oscar. I don’t know anything (I won’t see it until next Tuesday) but reviews are through the roof (Rotten Tomatoes 100%, Metacritic 94%) and I can smell it in the wind, not to mention those insect antennae vibrations that I’ve learned to trust over the years.

Duvernay’s doc, which opens the New York Film Festival tonight and will pop on Netflix on 10.7, argues that slavery didn’t actually end with the passage of the 13th Amendment, and that for 150 years since the U.S. penal system has more or less kept slavery going by putting a disproportionate number of black dudes behind bars and reaping the benefits of their prison labor.

This point was made by Michael Moore in Where To Invade Next, and has now been forcefully re-litigated by 13th, which has definitely qualified itself for a Best Feature Doc Oscar. (I checked with Netflix this morning.)

This makes the absence of Duvernay during this year’s Savannah Film Festival “Docs to Watch’ panel (10.23) seems curious.

The panel will be moderated by The Hollywood Reporter‘s Scott Feinberg, who has fulfilled the same task for the past two years. The classy, award-season-friendly festival will run from 10.22 thru 10.29. Hollywood Elsewhere will be there from 10.21 through 10.26.

Feinberg notes in a 9.30 THR piece that “the directors of ten of the top contenders for the best documentary feature Oscar will be heading south for the 20th Savannah Film Festival,” blah blah.

Obviously I’m not saying Duvernay’s doc is a lock or even heavily favored, but I’m sensing it might be the one at the end of the day.

Yes, I’m aware that everyone loves Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg‘s Weiner and especially Ezra Edelman‘s O.J.: Made in America (these three will participate in Feinberg’s panel). Other Savannah-bound hotties include Gleason‘s Clay Tweel and The Ivory Game‘s Kief Davidson.

I’m just saying that omitting Duvernay from the panel seems curious, to say the least. The participants in Feinberg’s panel may be “ten of the top contenders,” but it will seem odd in hindsight if 13 wins the Oscars and Duvernay wasn’t there. Maybe Feinberg can make this happen; he should at least try.

Is Leonardo DiCaprio‘s Before The Flood eligible?