Co-producer Simon Chinn and Malik Bendjelloul with their statues for Searching for Sugar Man. Foto: John Shearer/Scanpix.
Oscar Awards

'Searching for Sugar Man' wins best documentary

0:41 min

"Searching for Sugar Man", a Swedish production about an American folk musician who was a huge success in South Africa without his knowledge,  won an Oscar for best documentary at the 85th Academy Awards on Sunday night.

Directed by Malik Bendjelloul, it is the first Swedish documentary to ever win an Oscar. The film tells the true story of Sixto Rodriguez, an obscure folk singer in the 70s who was living a simple life in Detroit. He was unaware that his music had become the soundtrack for the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.

Rodriguez was not at the Oscars. Bendjelloul said he was touring in South Africa.

"This is huge for Malik Bendjelloul and he's going to be showered with offers," says Roger Wilson, a film critic for Swedish Radio.

This is the first time since 1984 that a Swedish film wins an Oscar. Ingmar Bergman's Fanny & Alexander won four Oscars that year.

"Searching for Sugar Man" has won a number of prizes in recent months, including the award for Best Documentary at the British Academy Film Awards in the beginning of February.

Two other Swedes won Oscars Sunday night. In the category for Best Sound Paul NJ Ottosson for “Zero dark thirty” and Per Hallberg for “Skyfall” shared the prize.

"Rodriguez was the soundtrack of our lives"

Radio Sweden spoke with Jonathan Stoch, a South African living in Stockholm who remembers the music of Sixto Rodriguez, the documentary's mystical subject, spreading among his friends during the 1970s. "He might not have been as popular if Afrikaans South Africans had known he wasn't a white artist," Stoch said.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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