“On the Record,” the HBO Max documentary centering on music producer Drew Dixon and the other women who accused hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons of sexual assault, is receiving some major notices heading into this award season. The film just made it onto the exclusive shortlist at DOC NYC, the most prominent documentary festival in America. “On the Record” is among 15 films chosen by festival programmers that are expected to be “among the year’s strongest contenders for Oscars and other awards,” as stated in the official press release. Considering the festival’s history with foretelling future Oscar success in the Best Documentary Feature race, this could be a sign that the film could indeed be on the path to awards glory.
What may help “On the Record” earn attention from Academy members is the film’s focus. Producer-directors Kirby Dick and Amy Ziering, having previous experience crafting films about the #MeToo movement, choose not to center the film on Simmons but the women whose lives were impacted.
Each of their stories is heartbreaking, especially Dixon’s as she describes how she thought nobody would believe her if she were to officially make an accusation. The film also delves into the specific criticisms Black women face from their peers when they come forward about Black men.
Dick and Ziering are Oscar nominees for 2012’s “The Invisible War,” a documentary about sexual assault in the U.S. military. Their next film, “The Hunting Ground,” about rape on college campuses, earned them an Emmy nomination while an original song from the film, “Til It Happens to You,” was nominated at the Oscars. “On the Record” is the team’s latest collaboration, which debuted at Sundance earlier this year to rave reviews and was released on HBO Max in May.
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