Oscar 2014 – Long Documentary

… and the winner is ”Twenty Feet from Stardom” by Morgan Neville, in the category Feature Length Documentary.

”So Hollywood is Still Hollywood”, wrote Niels Pagh Andersen on FB. The editor of ”The Act of Killing” expressed indirectly what many had expected, including the NYTimes Melena Ryzik in her prediction, that the feel-good documentary from American showbusiness ”Twenty Feet from Stardom” would take the Oscar. Her argument: (it is) a crowd-pleaser that also happens to be a well-told tale about a subject close to many performers’ hearts — the careers of backup singers, a.k.a. the talented lot who don’t often get the recognition they deserve…

It was the decision of the Academy members, a disappointment for the many, including me, who had hoped for ”The Act of Killing” after the many awards to an innovative, controversial film with big impact.

The winner does not even approximately reach that standard. Anyway ”Hollywood is Hollywood” and personally the Oscar has not really had my interest before these last two years after the change of the rules to get there. So what is to be saluted is that quality films like ”Five Broken Cameras”, ”Sugarman”, ”The Gatekeepers” last year and ”The Act of Killing”, ”The Square”, ”Cutie and the Boxer” this year, get all the well deserved publicity through being nominated.

One last thing: Some have called the Oscar the world championship for documentaries… forget about that, there are many masterly films worldwide that have no chances to get to the Oscar.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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