Sugar Man wins best documentary Oscar
25 February 2013
The documentary Searching for Sugar Man
, the chronicle of a forgotten
musician and his rediscovery, has bagged the Academy Award for Best Documentary.
The 85th Academy Awards took place at the Dolby Theatre in Los
Angeles on Sunday, with host Seth MacFarlane.
The other nominees in the Best Documentary category were 5 Broken Cameras,
The Gatekeepers, How to Survive a Plague
and The Invisible War
While accepting the award, which was presented by filmmaker Ben Affleck, producer
Simon Chinn told the Oscars audience that Rodriguez was not there to accept the
award because he did not want to take any of the credit for the film.
"That just about says everything about that man and his story that you want to
know," he said - before being unceremoniously played off the stage.
Voting in the documentary category was overhauled this year to limit the nomination
films, and ensure
that a larger group of documentary filmmakers winnowed the
The film, directed by Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, follows the efforts of two
fans from Cape Town to find Rodriguez.
The Mexican-American singer, obscure in his own country, knew nothing of his
extraordinary fame in South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s. Rumour and speculation
was rife regarding his disappearance from the music scene, with many believing he
had committed suicide on stage.
Rodriguez was first "discovered" in a Detroit bar in 1968. His debut album, Cold
, was a commercial flop in the United States. But a bootleg copy made its
way to South Africa in the early 1970s and became an instant success with people
variously opposed to, or out of tune with, the apartheid regime.
"In typical response, the reactionary government banned the record, ensuring no
radio play, which only served to further fuel its cult status," it
says on the Sugar
"Over the next two decades, Rodriguez became a household name in the country and
Much of the movie was filmed in Cape Town, and the city's tourism chief executive
officer, Mariëtte Du Toit-Helmbold, says: "The documentary is a great showcase of
Cape Town’s most iconic landmarks like Table Mountain, Lion's Head, Camps Bay, the
cityscape and the ocean road alongside the Twelve Apostles.
"Viewers are transported to a beautiful Cape Town - a city where inspirational and
soulful people work and play. Searching for Sugar Man
is putting Cape Town
firmly in the hearts and minds of filmgoers across the world."
Released in 2012, the film won Best Documentary at the 2013 Bafta awards, as well
as critical acclaim with the Special Jury Prize and the Audience Award for Best
International Documentary at the Sundance Film Festival 2012.
This article was first
published by the Gauteng Film Commission. Republished on SAinfo with kind