And the Oscar goes to . . . “Searching For Sugar Man”. This powerful documentary about a musician named Rodriguez proves fact is stranger than fiction. It also gives us hope that if we do our best work (eventually) people will notice.
In a nutshell, a very talented Detroit-based musician makes an amazing album in 1971 but struggles to sell several copies (and that’s not a misprint) despite rave reviews. He follows up his debut record with a second stellar recording, which also goes nowhere.
It seems a career in music isn’t meant to be, so he goes to work in construction (barely getting by), raises a family, and enjoys the simple things in life–without even an inkling that he is as famous as Elvis (maybe more so) in South Africa where over 500,000 copies of his albums have sold for over two decades.
For reasons unknown, his fans all believe he is dead (and there are several theories as to how it happened) so nobody tries to track him down . . . until a man named “Sugar” goes searching for the artist who wrote the song “Sugar Man”.
This is the most amazing documentary to watch because it took more than twenty years for this talented and deserving musician to get his due, but to see him play three sold out shows to an adoring audience in 1998 is the perfect fairy tale ending–but it gets better.
The documentary about his life did indeed win an Oscar this year and Rodriguez is doing what he should have been doing all along, playing his songs live and making a living doing what he loves.
It’s never too late.