‘Sugar Man’ wins Oscar for best documentary

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In this photo taken Tuesday Feb. 12, 2013, Sixto Rodriguez performs on stage at Carnival City, near Johannesburg, South Africa. AP

LOS ANGELES — “Searching for Sugar Man,” the heartwarming chronicle of a forgotten musician’s rediscovery, has won the Academy Award for best documentary.

Directed by the Swedish filmmaker Malik Bendjelloul, “Searching for Sugar Man” tells the story of the Detroit singer-songwriter Sixto Rodriguez, who disappeared from public after releasing an album in the early ’70s, but developed an unlikely cult following in South Africa.

In this heart-warming and inspiring documentary by Bendjelloul, two South Africans seek out the fate of their musical hero.

It’s won several other awards and taken guitarist, singer and song-writer Rodriguez, now half-blind and in his 70s, to New York’s Carnegie Hall and London’s Royal Albert Hall on a worldwide tour including sold-out concerts in the home of his stardom, South Africa.

The other nominees Sunday night were “5 Broken Cameras,” ”The Gatekeepers,” ”How to Survive a Plague” and “The Invisible War.”

The voting process for the documentary category underwent an overhaul this year intended to limit the nomination of obscure films, and ensure that a larger group of documentary filmmakers winnowed the nominees.

The 85th Academy Awards are airing live from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles with host Seth MacFarlane.

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December 18, 2014

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