Oscar's Docs, 1950–87: Creative Expression

February 1–13, 2012


Woodstock. 1970. USA. Directed by Michael Wadleigh

Oscar’s Docs, the annual collaboration between the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and MoMA's Department of Film, surveys Oscar nominees and winners in the categories of Best Documentary Feature and Best Documentary Short Subject. Diverging from the previous editions, which included films that documented wartime, social change, and scientific explorations, this fifth edition of Oscar's Docs focuses on the arts and humanities. Examining well-known subjects—Jacques d'Amboise, Arthur Rubinstein, Robert Frost,
Saul Bass, and Marc Chagall, among others—established in the fields of music, dance, art, and literature, as well as amateurs and craftsmen, the filmmakers were often first-time producer/directors, inspired by their subjects to use the nonfiction medium as a tool to express their own creativity.

Organized by Rajendra Roy, The Celeste Bartos Chief Curator of Film, Jenny He, Curatorial Assistant, Department of Film, and Ed Carter, Documentary Curator, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Special thanks to Jane Gutteridge, National Film Board of Canada; Sarah Finklea, Janus Films; Wendy Clarke; John Reed, National Library of Wales; and Jennifer Bass. All prints are courtesy of the Academy Film Archive (Woodstock is courtesy of the Constellation Center Collection at the Academy Film Archive).


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