After first premiering way back at the Sundance Film Festival in January of 2012, Malik Bendjelloul’s “Searching for Sugar Man” has won the Oscar for Best Documentary Feature at the Academy Awards.
The film tells the story of singer/songwriter Sixto Rodrigeuz, whose album “Cold Fact,” released in 1970, became a rally cry for anti-Apartheid sentiment in South Africa for decades. Myths circulated the performer, who had not been heard from in years and had even been feared dead.
“Thanks to one of the greatest singers ever, Rodriguez,” Bendjelloul said to the Dolby Theatre audience with Oscar in hand. “And to Sony Classics, the best distributor on this planet.”
The film has dominated the precursor circuit, winning awards from the Producers Guild, Directors Guild, Writers Guild and International Documentary Association. Fellow nominee “5 Broken Cameras” won the Cinema Eye Honor. That film’s Palestinian director, Emad Burnat, was recently detained by security at LAX when attempting to enter the country for the ceremony.
“It”s the kind of enchanting story you couldn”t make up,” HitFix’s Katie Hasty wrote of “Searching for Sugar Man” out of Sundance, “though all the archetypes are there: music industry mismanagement, fan fiction, revolution, Detroit decay, the essence of rock and roll and redemption, old men made young again.