Indeed, documentary was a feature of the very first film awards in 1949, with the special award going to Rotha’s polemic about postwar Europe, The World is Rich. A specific category was added the next year. As documentary flourished on TV, groundbreaking work such as Michael Apted’s Up series was recognised with nominations, before the later resurgence of documentary on the big-screen with the emergence of documentary features such as The Thin Blue Line (1988), Roger and Me (1989) and Hoop Dreams (1995).
That British connection, meanwhile, was remade with the naming of Kevin MacDonald’s thrilling Touching The Void as Outstanding British Film in 2004, helping to usher in the return of a bespoke documentary category to the Film Awards.
Image: David Attenborough presents the Flaherty Documentary Award to Claude Lanzmann, director of the epic documentary Shoah (1985). The documentary recounts the story of the Holocaust through interviews with witnesses – perpetrators as well as survivors. The film amounts to over 9 hours of oral history footage.