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Netflix bags best doc Oscar

Icarus focuses on the Russian doping scandal

Netflix took home the award for best documentary at the Oscars last night, but it was a quiet evening for rival streaming giant Amazon.

Icarus, Netflix’s documentary about the Russian athletics doping scandal, beat Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Last Men in Aleppo, Strong Island and Faces, Places (Visages, Villages) in the category.

The film, which had its world premiere during Sundance’s US Documentary Competition last year, focuses on anti-doping doctor Grigory Rodchenkov, who reveals details of Russia’s state-sponsored Olympic doping programme that took place ahead of the 2016 summer Games. Bryan Fogel directed the doc, which he co-wrote with Mark Monroe.

It was the only award picked up on the night by the streaming service, whose feature film Mudbound was nominated in the best supporting actress, best adapted screenplay, best cinematography and best song categories.

It comes after Netflix won the documentary short award for The White Helmets, about rescue workers in Syria, at last year’s ceremony.

Amazon last year beat Netflix in the battle of the SVoD services by taking home awards for Manchester by the Sea in the best actor and best original screenplay categories, and winning best foreign-language film for The Salesman.

This year, however, the production arm of the e-retail behemoth went home empty-handed after being nominated for The Big Sick in the best original screenplay category, in which Jordan Peele’s Get Out was triumphant.

Last year’s Oscars were the first to count SVoD operators among the award winners.

Elsewhere during last night’s ceremony, Dear Basketball, which was distributed online via Verizon Communications’ Go90 streaming service, won in the best animated short category. The film was adapted from a poem former basketball star Kobe Bryant wrote to announce his retirement from the NBA.

While last year’s ceremony was thrown into disarray after La La Land was incorrectly announced as the winner of best picture instead of Moonlight, this year’s event was free of any embarrassing mix-ups.

Many nominees and winners took the chance to call for more representation and female empowerment in Hollywood following the sexual harassment scandal that has rocked the industry over the past six months.

More than 300 actors, writers and directors gave their backing to an initiative, dubbed Time’s Up, to help fight sexual harassment in Hollywood and other workplaces in the wake of the scandal.










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