Riz Ahmed's Flee documentary breaks strange Oscars record

Riz Ahmed's Flee documentary breaks strange Oscars record

Flee — the searing documentary from producers Riz Ahmed and Nikolaj Coster-Waldau — has run away with a peculiar Oscars record.

The hybrid film — which tells the real-life story of Amin, a gay Afghan refugee, through vividly animated renderings of both his past and future with a new husband — became the first movie in Oscars history to receive nominations for Best Animated Feature, Best Documentary Feature, and Best International Feature in the same year.

Directed by Jonas Poher Rasmussen from an idea he co-wrote with the film's subject, Amin, Flee's presentation of entirely animated images qualified it for the Animated Feature category, while the inclusion of Amin's actual narration of his life story makes it an official documentary as well.

Though the film was co-produced with funding from Denmark, France, Norway, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States, Flee qualified as an International Feature contender for only one country after Denmark submitted it to represent the nation at the Oscars.


NEON 'Flee' documentary.

Flee debuted to rave reviews at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, and earned sustained recognition on the precursor circuit before being distributed by Neon and Participant. EW critic Leah Greenblatt named it the third-best feature of the year, calling it a "kaleidoscopic study" that's "as funny, sad, and intimate as any scripted" dramatic production.

"We're not used to seeing a refugee story told with such humanity, or such artfulness, an Afghan story told from an Afghan perspective," Ahmed previously told EW of the film. "We're not used to seeing a gay love story told in this world. It's such an incredible intersection of bold firsts. It's purely led by truth, and it's told with such magic."

See the full list of 2022 Oscar nominations here, before the winners are announced Sunday, March 27, during ABC's live broadcast.

Check out more from EW's The Awardist, featuring exclusive interviews, analysis, and our podcast diving into all the highlights from the year's best films.

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