Monday, February 25, 2013

”Inocente,” “Sugar Man” Nab Oscar Honors

A pair of documentaries with Latino protagonists were among the films that won at the latest edition of the Academy Awards.

The Oscar for Best Documentary Short went to ”Inocente,” a film on the life of nineteen-year-old Inocente Izucar. 

As we mentioned last month, the documentary examines the many difficulties by the Mexican-born Izucar including homelessness, family abuse and living as undocumented immigrant. Nevertheless Izucar’s love for art was strong and it was through her involvement in a special therapeutic arts program that caught the attention of filmmakers Sean Fine and Andrea Nix Fine. 

Since the film was made, Izucar has been able to exhibiting her work and selling them for several thousand dollars apiece.  She has moved in to her own apartment though she continues to have a strained relationship with her family.

”Inocente” also made Oscars history by becoming the first film funded by the crowd-funded Kickstarter website to win an Academy Award.

Meanwhile, “Searching for Sugar Man” became the first music-oriented film to win the best-feature length documentary award since 1986. 

The documentary examined the impact Mexican-American folk singer Rodriguez had in South Africa. His soulful and politically conscious music became anthems for the anti-apartheid movement although he was unaware of the effect his music had thousands of miles away.  Thus, the film follows two South African fans of Rodriguez who look into the urban legend that Rodriguez died forgotten and abandoned.

Much like Izucar and “Inocente”, “Searching for Sugar Man” has helped Rodriguez by resurrecting his career including recently completing a tour of South Africa.  In contrast to Izucar, however, Rodriguez opted to “stay home in Detroit” and watch the Oscars on TV according to one of the film’s producers.

Chilean film “No” unsurprisingly lost in the Best Foreign Film category to the Michael Heneke-dicrected “Amour.”  But Chileans are celebrating that one of their countrymen, Claudio Miranda, received an Oscar for best cinematography.

According to an article on the VOXXI website, Miranda acknowledged that his work for the “Life of Pi” was far from easy:

“This movie was quite a beast to make,” said Miranda, who shot dazzling images of a youth adrift on a lifeboat with a Bengal tiger… 
“You just can’t put a boy and a tiger on a boat together, ever,” he told reporters. “You know that you’re going to be in the hands of visual effects to put the tiger in for you, and then just hope it doesn’t look like a cartoon.”
The Oscars ceremony was not without controversy such as the reaction to host Seth MacFarlane’s jokes or the omission of Lupe Ontiveros from the "In Memoriam" montage.  In Colombia, meanwhile, some members of the country’s film industry blasted former Senate chief Armando Benedetti who tweeted that “the Oscars prove that actors are a bunch of dopes.”

Video Source– YouTube via Inocente Izucar

Online Sources – El Colombiano, VOXXI, CNN, Washington Post,, BBC News, The Latin Americanist

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