The 65th annual Golden Globes were canceled in January due to the continuing Writers Guild of America strike and – as of press time – those with an ear to the red carpet were speculating the Academy Awards might follow suit.
The potential disappearance of the Oscar telecast brought to mind another hypothetical: how would doc-makers feel if the Oscars themselves – not just the ceremony – ceased to exist?
‘The Oscars mean a lot in the doc world because a nomination can really bring attention to an independent film that has had only a small theatrical release…. Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the doc community would be hurt by a moratorium on the little golden guys,’ says Heidi Ewing, co-founder of New York-based Loki Films, the prodco behind Jesus Camp (nominated for best doc feature for 2006).
‘To be among the five nominees and have one’s film mentioned on that TV program is terrific advertising… whether or not it wins. I do hope the Oscar broadcast goes forward, somehow,’ says Peter Raymont, president of Toronto’s White Pine Pictures, the prodco behind A Promise to the Dead: The Exile Journey of Ariel Dorfman (short-listed, as of press time, with 14 other films for best doc feature for 2007).
‘Because documentary films often address social issues, the attention films get from a nomination can really make a difference in the world beyond the Oscars,’ says Barbara Kopple, two-time Oscar winner and president of New York-based Cabin Creek Films, the prodco behind Shut Up and Sing (short-listed for best doc feature for 2006).
‘It is a great honor to be recognized by your fellow professionals as the best, or one of the best. Of course, producing films is not a competition, and we all know of great films that have never won awards, but we must recognize that it is a great feeling to be onstage, once in a lifetime, at the Kodak Theater,’ says Emmanuel Priou, co-founder of Paris-based Bonne Pioche, the prodco behind March of the Penguins (winner for best doc feature for 2005).