The Nina Simone Documentary Got Some Love From the Academy Awards

UNSPECIFIED - OCTOBER 18, 1964:  American pianist and jazz singer Nina Simone performs October 18, 1964 in an unidentifed location. Simone, whose deep, raspy voice made her a unique jazz figure and later helped chronicle the civil rights movement, died in her sleep on April 21, 2003 of natural causes after a long illness. She was 70.   (Photo by Getty Images)

The Nina Simone Documentary Got Some Love From the Academy Awards

But does it stand a chance against Amy?

Published January 20, 2016

It's not all bad news with the Academy Award nominations. The acclaimed Nina Simone documentary What Happened, Miss Simone? has been nominated in the Best Documentary Feature category, adding some much-needed diversity to the nominations. Not only is the film, a Netflix original, a portrait of one of the greatest Black icons to ever live, it was directed by a woman, the revered doc filmmaker Liz Garbus.

What Happened, Miss Simone? has been met with nearly universal positive reviews and is already considered the definitive biopic, fiction or non-fiction, on the jazz singer's life. Some, however, took issue with the fact that the film so candidly portrayed the abuse Simone endured throughout her life and linked it to her genius. The film even features interviews with Simone's husband Andy Stroud, a man she claimed "put a gun to my head, then he tied me up and raped me.” 

Regardless, What Happened, Miss Simone? was one of the best documentaries of the year and, at the very least, brings one Black story to the Oscars. The trouble is, even with the firestorm of #OscarsSoWhite, nobody is talking about it. In fact, in a year when another portrait of an iconic white singer who died before her time (the Amy Winehouse documentary Amy) is also in the running, it seems unlikely that Garbus will need to pen an acceptance speech for her portrait of Miss Simone.

Let's hope we're proven wrong come Oscar night. And speaking of Nina, what ever happened to Zoe Saldana's biopic of the singer, which was due out last month? Guess we're still waiting on that one. Watch Zoe talk about the backlash she received for playing the music legend below:

(Photo: Getty Images) is your No. 1 source for Black celebrity news, photos, exclusive videos and all the latest in the world of hip hop and R&B music. 

Written by Evelyn Diaz


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