Ben Affleck presents the award for Best Documentary Feature
Searching for Sugar Man, about a singer whose musical star faded without a trace until he was rediscovered in South Africa, won the best documentary feature Oscar on Sunday.
The film tells the story of Sixto Rodriguez, who made two albums in the early 1970s but then quit music – and who knows nothing about his fame on another continent.
The documentary was made by first-time director Malik Bendjelloul, who first discovered Rodriguez while travelling for six months in Africa in 2006, and was fascinated by his story.
The award was accepted by Bendjelloul and producer Simon Chinn, who explained why Rodriguez did not attend the Oscars show at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
No film swept this season’s early nonfiction awards from critics groups, but in recent weeks one documentary has picked up momentum from a number of industry groups. Is there still room for an upset in the race for Best Documentary Feature, or will it be a runaway victory?
“Sugar Man” is far out front with 3/2 odds overall. 22 out of 24 experts, eight out of nine editors, and 79% of users predict it will win.
The film, which tells the story of two South Africans searching for their musical hero, Rodriguez, has been awarded by BAFTA, Critics’ Choice, DGA, PGA, and WGA. It also won the Audience Award at the Sundance Film Festival for World Documentaries.
This is the first Oscar nomination for director Malik Bendjelloul. Producer Simon Chinn previously won this category for “Man on Wire” (2008).
Malik Bendjelloul spent four years “Searching for Sugar Man” and that quest to find the reclusive singer/songwriter Rodriguez has brought him to the Oscars.
His film picked up the Producers Guild prize as Best Documentary and just won him Best Documentary Director at the DGA Awards. It also took top honors with the Critics’ Choice Awards, International Documentary Assn. and the National Board of Review. In the coming weeks, he contends at both the WGA and ACE Eddie awards as well.
No surprise then that “Searching for Sugar Man” is the frontrunner to win Best Documentary Feature at the Oscars. Nineteen of our 23 experts as well as three-quarters of our editors and users are predicting it to prevail.