Oscar odds are looking better and better for “O.J.: Made In America,” as the sweeping epic took home the Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary Feature in Los Angeles Saturday afternoon.
Ezra Edelman accepted the award for his in depth portrait of the trial of the century, which gripped viewers for all of its 8 hours. Produced by ESPN’s 30 For 30, it has been seen by upwards of 50 million viewers, proving that quality films can have a mass appeal, especially when the subject is one that fascinated so many people.
“O.J.: Made In America” tells the story of the O.J. Simpson trial, beginning with Simpson’s college football years and ending with his the little known story of his later days, which eventually led to his being arrested for armed robbery of some of his own memorabilia. Edelman amassed a stunning number of participants, from original jurors to members of Simpson’s defense team, as well as prosecutor Marcia Clark.
Edelman previously produced three HBO sports documentaries: “Magic & Bird: A Courtship of Rivals,” “The Curious Case of Curt Flood,” and the Emmy Award-winning “Brooklyn Dodgers: Ghosts of Flatbush.”
The win is a particular boon for the film in what became a highly competitive category later in the game, with the January release of Raoul Peck’s “I Am Not Your Negro.” Edelman was also up against another racial justice documentary, Ava DuVernay’s “13th,” which played the New York Film Festival’s opening night. The other two nominees were Kirsten Johnson’s “Cameraperson,” Rokhsareh Ghaem Maghami’s “Sonita,” and Vitaly Mansky’s “Under The Sun.”
The 32nd Film Independent Spirit Awards were hosted Saturday, February 25 by Nick Kroll and John Mulaney on a beach in Los Angeles. The annual ceremony honors the best in independent film as voted on by members of Film Independent and IFP.