News / USA

Most Entertaining Documentary May Win The Oscar

The Most Entertaining Documentary May Win The Oscari
X
February 19, 2013 12:45 PM
Documentaries are the least popular film genre. They don’t showcase special effects or superstars. The protagonists are usually ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. The films don’t play in big suburban theaters, nor can they compete at the box office. But through political and social exposes they can change hearts and minds the world over. VOA’s Penelope Poulou reports on the five Oscar nominees for Best Documentary and the Motion Picture Academy’s criteria for the winner.
Penelope Poulou
Documentaries are the least popular film genre. They don’t showcase special effects or superstars. The protagonists are usually ordinary people dealing with extraordinary circumstances. The films don’t play in big suburban theaters, nor can they compete at the box office. But through political and social exposes they can change hearts and minds the world over. 

Dick Kirby’s Oscar-nominated documentary The Invisible War is a gut-wrenching expose on rape in the U.S. military.

The film contends that since 1991 about half a million military men and women have been sexually assaulted by their peers, and the U.S. military has done nothing to punish the culprits.

“The more we did these interviews, the more we really felt this is a film we had to really make and finish," said Dick Kirby. Like Kirby, most award-winning documentarians reveal hard truths that make their films tough to watch.

The Gatekeepers is a critics' favorite.  Israeli director Dror Moreh interviewed six former heads of the Shin Bet, Israel's domestic spy agency, responsible for gathering intelligence in the occupied West Bank.

They said fighting Palestinian terrorists meant they had to bend the rules of morality and justify collateral damage.  The film exposes Israel's internal divisions and offers a grim prediction of the country's future if it doesn't make peace with its enemies.
 
Five Broken Cameras by Emad Burnat, a Palestinian villager, and Israeli filmmaker Guy Davidi, is a video diary of Emad's life under Israeli occupation in the West Bank. 

It's an account of how Palestinian villagers fought against the Israeli security barrier that was cutting them off from their lands.

How to Survive a Plague chronicles the early years of the AIDS epidemic and how a handful of activists stemmed its deadly tide.  David France made the film.

“Everything about the way medicine and healthcare is delivered and practiced today is an outgrowth of AIDS and AIDS activism," he explained. "So I wanted to tell a story of triumph and accomplishment.”

These four nominees tell powerful stories with groundbreaking footage.  But, none so far has captured the hearts of the Academy's voters as much as Searching for Sugarman.

Malik Bendjelloul’s film is about Rodriguez, a '70s rock musician from Detroit who had no idea that he became a music icon in South Africa.

“Right now, you'd have to say that that’s the putative favorite,” stated filmmaker Nina Seavey. The Emmy Award-winning filmmaker says the Academy seems to be going more for entertainment-driven documentaries and Searching for Sugarman fits the bill.

Although the Oscars may be a popularity contest, all five documentaries were selected primarily for their merit, not for their box office allure.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid