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Icarus took home the Academy Award for best documentary feature Sunday night, beating out Abacus: Small Enough to Jail, Faces Places, Last Men in Aleppo and Strong Island.
Producers Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan thanked Netflix, UTA and fellow filmmakers Jim Swartz and David Fialkow. The two dedicated the award to the documentary’s subject, Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov.
“We hope this is about the important of telling the truth, now more than ever,” Fogel said.
A Netflix spokesperson applauded Icarus, its producers and Rodchenkov in a statement: “Netflix congratulates Bryan Fogel and Dan Cogan on their Academy Award for the groundbreaking documentary Icarus, the first Netflix documentary feature film to win an Oscar. We applaud them, as well as its brave subject Grigory Rodchenkov, for the sacrifices they all made to expose and stand up for the truth.”
Multiple nominees in the documentary category made Oscar history, including Strong Island director Yance Ford as the first-ever openly transgender nominee, Faces Places writer-director Agnès Varda as the oldest nominee and Last Men in Aleppo helmer Feras Fayyad as the first Syrian nominee.
While Fayyad was in attendance Sunday, in the weeks leading up to the awards show, Last Men in Aleppo producer Kareem Abeed and the documentary’s subject, Mahmoud Al-Hattar, weren’t certain they’d be able to attend due to the Trump administration’s travel ban, which placed restrictions on eight predominantly Muslim countries.
Abeed is Syrian and currently resides in Turkey, but he was initially denied a visa to enter the U.S. for the Oscars. After a successful appeal to the U.S. State Department, Abeed was ultimately granted a visa and attended Sunday night’s show. Al-Hattar, on the other hand, was denied a passport by the Syrian government. The Academy had previously voiced their solidarity with the two and the rest of the Last Men in Aleppo team.
Read Fogel and Cogan’s full remarks, below.
Fogel: Oh, thank you. Thank you to the Academy. Thanks to Ted Sarandos, Lisa Nishimura, Adam Del Deo, our incredible partners at Netflix. UTA, Rena Ronson, our fellow producers, Jim Schwartz and David Fialkow, and our amazing creative team — Jon Bertain, Mark Monroe, Jake Swantko, Adam Peters and my parents, who are here, I love you guys. We dedicate this award to Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, our fearless whistleblower who now lives in grave danger. We hope Icarus is a wake-up call — yes about Russia, but more about the importance of telling the truth, now more than ever.
Cogan: To my wife, Liz Garbus, you taught me everything I know about how to support a great filmmaker, because you are one. Amelia and Theo, I love you. And Geralyn Dreyfous and all the members of Impact Partners. Thank you all for making films like Icarus possible. Thank you.
The awards were handed out at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center, with Jimmy Kimmel returning to host for a second year.
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