Questlove is Now Officially an Oscar Nominee

Directed by Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, Summer of Soul has received an Oscar nomination for Best Documentary Film at the 94th Academy Awards.

Questlove has plenty of reason to let the sunshine in. On Tuesday morning, it was announced that his directed film Summer of Soul, chronicling performances at the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, was nominated for Best Documentary Feature.

Following the announcement, which took place via livestream on the Oscars website, Quest went to Twitter to rejoice about his nomination.

First premiering at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, Summer of Soul received high praise for debuting unreleased footage of the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, which boasted appearances from Nina SimoneStevie WonderSly and the Family Stone and more. The Summer of Soul soundtrack also received critical acclaim for being an archive of music from the 1960s soul era, including songs that weren’t featured in the film.


After it’s full-length release last June, Summer of Soul nabbed a myriad of awards, including Best Music Documentary, Best Archival Documentary and Best First Documentary Feature at the Critics’ Choice Awards; Best Documentary Film at the Gotham Independent Film Awards; and Best Documentary Film at the National Board of Review.

In a new profile with the Los Angeles Times, Quest talked about the formation of Summer of Soul and how the protest music of summer of 1969 connects to civil unrest music of summer of 2020.

“I do wonder that if there were a reframing in the telling of the story — that this was important just like Woodstock, this was important, this was important too — could this have changed lives? I absolutely think so,” Quest said.

“But, here’s the other thing. I also feel as though this film is still a baby. Like this film can still work its magic 50 years after the fact. This film has changed my life in ways that I can’t even explain. So just that alone, the fact that I’ve been given the opportunity to tell other music stories on this level shows you how much it’s going to change and it’s going to move somebody.”

The 94th Academy Awards broadcast air live on Sunday, March 27th at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.

Jaelani Turner-Williams

Jaelani Turner-Williams is a contributing news writer for Okayplayer with bylines at Billboard, MTV News, NYLON, Recording Academy and more. Read her mind on Twitter at @hernameisjae.

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Jaelani Turner-Williams

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