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'20 Feet from Stardom,' 'The Lady in Number 6' Win Documentary Oscars

By Tom White

20 Feet from Stardom, Morgan Neville's celebration of the dynamic singers behind some of the the greatest hits in rock ‘n' roll, took the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, while The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved my Life secured the Oscar for Best Documentary Short Subject.

In praising Alice Herz Sommer, the late subject of The Lady in Number 6, director Malcolm Clarke noted, "She had an extraordinary capacity for joy and an amazing capacity for forgiveness... She was 110, she died quietly, and so this is for her. She was a woman who taught every one of my crew to be a little but more optimistic and a little bit more happy about all the things that are happening in our lives, so see the film it'll help you live a much happier life."


Nicholas Reed and Malcolm Clarke accept the Oscar® for Best Documentary Short Subject for The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life. Photo: Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.


Neville lauded the late Gil Friesen, the film's producer and mastermind behind the film, who passed away just before the 2013 premiere at the Sundance Film Festival. "It was his idea and his baby," Neville said. "And when I first met with him, I remember he said, 'I want to win an Oscar,' and I remember thinking, 'You're crazy. That will never happen!' ...Tonight I know he'll be celebrating with us, along with his wife, Janet, and his son Theo...and lastly I want to thank the incredible singers like Miss Darlene Love"—who grabbed the mic and rocked the house with her blazing rendition of "His Eye Is on the Sparrow."


Left to right: Janet Friesen, director Morgan Neville, singer Darlene Love and producer Caitrin Rogers accept the Oscar® for Best Documentary Feature for 20 Feet from Stardom. Photo: Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.