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  • Ishita Tenjerla

Oscar Winning Documentaries Of The Decade

The Academy Awards, popularly known as the Oscars are an annual event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Let’s take a look at some of the Oscar winning documentaries of the decade.

1) 2010 - Inside Job ( Documentary - Feature)

“Forgive me, I must start by pointing out that three years after a horrific financial crisis caused by massive fraud not a single financial executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong.” - Director Charles Ferguson, Oscar acceptance speech.

The Inside Job, which won best Feature Documentary at the 83rd Academy Awards (2011) is a film that aimed to expose the truth behind the 2008 economic crisis and the people behind it. The film uses extensive research and interviews with economic analysts and financial advisors to paint a better picture of the issue. The 2008 financial crisis cost many people their jobs and livelihoods due to the reckless housing market bubble that was created, along with high risk financial transactions.

2) 2011 - Undefeated

This 2011 sports documentary takes us through the life of a High school football team in Memphis - the Manassas Tigers. The movie talks about teenagers from a poor neighbourhood who had to deal with absentee fathers. Their team is led by Bill, a volunteer coach who acted as their father - figure. He understands what it's like to grow up without an involved father. The director Daniel Lindsay and T.J Martin focused on the daily struggles of these students, from exam pressure to temper flares and stress.

Washington Post described the documentary as ““[A] stirring, emotional portrait of a high school football team in the impoverished neighbourhood of North Memphis, Tenn.”

3) 2012 - Searching for Sugar Man

Searching for Sugar Man is a film that follows the journey of two African men as they try to find the story behind Sixto Rodriguez, a singer from the 70’s whose music went on to serve the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa. The film focuses on the life of this obscure singer, his music and how his fans initially thought he was dead. Little was known about him and that only added to the mystery. His music largely speaks to the audience of the Apartheid - era of South Africa. The documentary directed by Malik Bendjelloul bought Rodriguez a large fan following. This led to him being able to perform his 1st show in NY in 2012.

4) 2014 - CitizenFour

CitizenFour is a documentary about espionage, government spying and the dangers of being a whistleblower. The documentary follows the story of Edward Snowden ( famously known for being a NSA surveillance whistleblower). He is known to be one of the largest sources of NSA information leaks in US history. This documentary takes a look at footage of documentarian Laura Poitras, who at Snowden’s request conducted a series of interviews with him in Hong Kong to expose the truth about government surveillence. This documentary is the 3rd film in the post 9/11 series of documentaries by Laura Potras

5) 2022 : Summer of Soul (Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised )

This 2021 Academy Award winner documentary talks about the 1969 Harlem Cultural Festival, an event that celebrated Black history, culture and music. The footage of this festival was never seen and soon forgotten until the director Ahmir Thomposon revived it through this documentary, thus bringing one of history's forgotten celebrations under the spotlight. This feature film included never seen before concert shows by Stevie Wonder, Nina Simone and Ray Baretto.

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