Alex Honnold’s attempt to free solo Yosemite’s El Capitan, Free Solo, won the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature. A well deserved win for a feat that takes nerves of steal and willpower that is second to none.
The accomplishment is huge – and worthy of the acclaim. It followers American climber Alex as he prepares to climb the formidable 3,000ft El Capitan in California’s Yosemite National Park. The danger and death-defying feat truly inspiring. The documentary has been described as a ‘watching through the fingers experience’ and is a film that everyone should make the effort to give it a watch. Hannold’s last task before this ultimate free-climb was to assure the camera crew that they shouldn’t feel guilty if, as most experts commonly anticipated, he fell to his death as they were filming him.
As well as the stunt itself the cinematography in a challenging high-angle environment and the narrative are human and dynamic throughout. It tells a tale of friendship, boldness and faith.
The film, directed and co-produced by the husband-and-wife team of Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, accepted the award in Los Angeles. In their acceptance speech, Vasarhelyi thanked National Geographic and signed off by saying “for everyone who believes in the impossible.”
Here is the acceptance speech in full: