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"The Square," Egyptian-American director Jehane Noujaim's study of the Egyptian Revolution from its 2011 origins in Tahrir Square, has looked like on to watch the documentary Oscar race ever since it won the Audience Award in its section at the Sundance Film Festival. It followed that up with the People's Choice Award for documentaries at Toronto, and nabbed further headlines when it became Netflix's first film acquisition. Sure enough, it was among the 15 titles shortlisted by the Academy earlier this week.
Last night, "The Square" received an additional boost when it won the top prize at the International Documentary Association Awards, one of the most significant doc-only events on the awards circuit -- beating such heavyweights as "The Act of Killing," "Blackfish" and "Stories We Tell." Last year's IDA winner was eventual Oscar champ "Searching for Sugar Man" -- though while that film swept pretty much all before it, something tells me this year's documentary honors will be more generously dispersed.
"The Square" was the only Oscar-shortlisted title to receive an IDA gong, as other feature film categories went to "Blood Brother" (the Humanitas Award), PGA nominee "A Place at the Table" (the Pare Lorentz Award) and "Let the Fire Burn" (Best Editing), among others. In the TV categories, Morgan Spurlock (an Oscar nominee back in 2004 for "Super Size Me") won the Limited Series award for his investigative project "Inside Man."
Alex Gibney was recognized with a Career Achievement Award -- the Oscar winner has, of course, had a busy year with "The Armstrong Lie" and "We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks," the former of which cracked the Academy shortlist. "We Steal Secrets," meanwhile, lost the IDA's VideoSource Award to "The Trials of Muhammad Ali."
Full list of winners below:
Best Documentary Feature
Best Documentary Short
Pare Lorentz Award
"A Place at the Table"
ABCNews VideoSource Award
"The Trials of Muhammad Ali"
"Let the Fire Burn"
"How to Make Money Selling Drugs"
Best Limited Series
Best Continuing Series
David L. Wolper Student Documentary Award
"My Sister Sarah"
Career Achievement Award
Courage Under Fire Award
IDA Amicus Award
Jacqueline Donnet Emerging Filmmaker Award
Everything: Academy Awards
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