Of all the documentaries released this year, none other arguably made as big an impact on the public consciousness as "Blackfish." Director Gabriela Cowperthwaite's film dramatically pulled back the curtain on the devastating effects of captivity on marine mammals; in particular focusing on the story of the male orca whale "Tilikum" that killed trainer Dawn Brancheau at SeaWorld Orlando in 2010.
So it's rather surprising that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to recognize "Blackfish" this morning for an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary. Fans immediately rushed to Twitter to both denounce the snub and buoy support for the film.
#Blackfish was seen by millions of people around the world & it has changed their thinking about captive marine mammals. I say thats a win.— Elizabeth Brown (@lizibrown) January 16, 2014
In an interview with MNN earlier this week, Louie Psihoyos, director of the 2009 Academy Award-winning documentary "The Cove," said that while award shows like the Oscars are great - the goal first and foremost for documentary filmmakers is to inspire awareness and change.
"I feel like documentarians are bonded in their quest to use art and story-telling to make a difference," he said. "I feel we're more collaborators than competitors. I get genuinely excited by the success of every documentary because every one that makes it to the surface of public consciousness has an opportunity to change lives in a positive way. Awards certainly raise the profile for a doc, but we don't make them to get awards and certainly not to just make money. Success is measured by impact, brains and hearts in seats as opposed to butts in seats."
While "Blackfish" will not be contending on Oscars night, the film is still nominated for a host of national and international awards - including the prestigious British Academy of Film and Televisions Arts (BAFTA) Awards. For some fans, that's more than enough to continue the film's momentum.
Related on MNN:
- 'Blackfish' prompts Pixar to change 'Finding Dory' ending
- 'Blackfish' persuades another band to cancel SeaWorld gig