2 items from 2016
The fabled Oscar-winning documentary “From Mao to Mozart: Isaac Stern in China” (1980), which followed Stern as he taught the children of Communist China to play — and love — Western classical music, captured a new kind of synergy between the West and the East. In “The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble,” a documentary directed by Morgan Neville (who made the Oscar-winning “20 Feet from Stardom”), musicians from all over the world join the legendary cellist to form a virtuoso ragtag band, and they create a joyful noise — a percolating life force that’s equal parts klezmer and Bollywood, with maybe a hint of disco. The instrumentalists, who hail from Spain, Syria, Japan, Iran, and other nations, are so at home with global musical fusion that they might almost have been among the Chinese teenagers taught by Isaac Stern — and, in fact, one of them was (we see »
- Owen Gleiberman
This year’s best documentary feature nominees continues a long trend of music docs being recognized by the Academy, as two music-related films have earned nominations at this year’s Oscars.
Amy, which tells the story of late songstress Amy Winehouse in her own words through never-before-seen archival footage and unreleased tracks and is nominated for best doc this year, earned nominations for the Queer Palm and Golden Eye awards at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival for director Asif Kapadia.
Filmmaker Liz Garbus earned the second nomination of her career with the Netflix documentary, What Happened, Miss Simone? The film focuses on the life of iconic R&B singer Nina Simone and her life as a singer, mother, and civil rights activist. Garbus earned her first Oscar nomination in 1998 for her documentary The Farm: Angola, USA.
Music-related docs have been a hot topic for the Academy in years past, »
- Patrick Shanley
2 items from 2016
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