It's a Winner! 'Searching for Sugar Man' Gets an Oscar

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“Searching for Sugar Man,” the film that captured the essence of Detroit -- its soul, its spirit and its humbleness -- won the best full feature documentary Sunday night at the 85th Annual Academy Awards.

The star of the film, Sixto Rodriguez, was not in the attendance at the awards ceremony. But Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul accepted the Oscar, and gave a shout out to Rodriguez, calling him “one of the greatest singers ever.”

Director and producer Simon Chinn added: “Rodriguez isn’t here tonight because he didn’t want to take any of the credit himself. And that just about says everything about that man and his story that you want to know.”

The documentary, which was favored to win, tells the story of Rodriguez, a Detroit musician whose work never caught on in America, but unbeknowst to him, became incredibly popular in South Africa during apartheid. Rodriguez continued to work hard labor jobs while his music thrived far far away.

Filmmaker Aviva Kempner, a Detroit native who lives in D.C., and produced the classic Detroit documentary “The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg,” predicted earlier in the weekend that Rodriguez would win, telling Deadline Detroit:

“ Sugarman is beautifully shot doc and a Cinderella story about Rodriguez.  It's nice to see a movie about Detroit that's uplifting and positive.”

Detroiters were rooting for a win for the hometown celebrity.

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