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Netflix Wins First Feature Documentary Oscar With ‘Icarus’

Russian doping documentary “Icarus” has won the best documentary Academy Award for director Bryan Fogel and producer Dan Cogan — marking the first feature film documentary Oscar for Netflix.

Icarus” topped “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Faces Places,” “Last Men in Aleppo,” and “Strong Island.”

The film chronicles Fogel happening upon a major international doping scandal through Grigory Rodchenkov, the head of the Russian anti-doping laboratory. He was one of the whistleblowers who came forward about Russian athletes using performance-enhancing drugs to compete in the Olympic Games. Fogel’s documentary helped lead to the ban of Russia from competing in the Winter Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Olympic officials allowed Russian athletes to participate under a neutral flag as “Olympic Athletes from Russia.”

Fogel said in his acceptance, “We dedicate this award to Dr. Grigory Rodchenkov, our fearless whistleblower who now lives in great danger. We hope ‘Icarus’ is a wake-up call — yes, about Russia, but more than that, about the importance of telling the truth, now more than ever.”

Fogel blasted the International Olympic Committee backstage for giving Russia what he called a slap on the wrist. “What a fraud and what a corrupt organization,” he added.

Cogan also noted that Rodchenkov has been in protective custody in the U.S. as a result of his disclosures and pointed out that the head of the Russian Olympic said Rodchenkov should be shot.

Fogel and Cogan also praised Netflix, noting that the streaming service releases in 190 countries.

“Netflix has single-handedly changed the documentary world,” Fogel said. “It was a no-brainer decision. I’m honored that this is their film.”

“Icarus” premiered at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival and was bought by Netflix for $5 million, one of the biggest ever deals for a non-fiction film.

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