The Academy Award nominees get major recognition at two awards shows
With just three weeks to go before the Academy Awards, Ezra Edelman's Oscar drive is gaining speed.
He was honored this weekend with the Directors Guild Award for outstanding directorial achievement in documentary for his work on O.J.: Made in America. It was one of the biggest prizes yet for the film which has earned virtually every major award for documentary this season.
It is the defining cultural tale of modern America - a saga of race, celebrity, media, violence, and the criminal justice system.
Edelman's win came over Otto Bell, director of The Eagle Huntress; Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg, directors of Weiner; Raoul Peck, director of I Am Not Your Negro, and Roger Ross Williams, director of Life, Animated.
Williams did not go winless on the weekend, however. His documentary about a family who learned to communicate with their autistic son through Disney animated movies won a special achievement award Saturday at the Annies, the show honoring the best in animated films and TV programs.
Williams created an extended animated sequence within his documentary, based on a story by the central character in his film, Owen Suskind. The director had to get special permission from Disney to include many of its famous movie sidekick figures in the sequence.
Williams and Edelman are among the five filmmakers in contention for the Oscar for best documentary feature. Joining them are the aforementioned Raoul Peck, Ava DuVernay, director of 13th, and Gianfranco Rosi, director of Fire at Sea [Fuocoammare]. The Academy Awards will be held Sunday, February 26 in Hollywood.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and Documentary.org.