News Column

'Searching for Sugar Man' an Oscar Favorite, but Will Rodriguez Attend?

Feb. 23, 2013

Julie Hinds

oscars,  Searching for Sugar Man, Rodriguez

Feb. 23--The enigmatic, charismatic nature of Detroit musician Rodriguez has fueled the success of "Searching for Sugar Man," the favorite to win the best documentary Oscar at Sunday's ceremony in Los Angeles.

So it's not surprising that there's some mystery surrounding his plans for the event. Will Rodriguez, the subject of "Sugar Man," be at the Oscars? As with the movie itself, we'll have to watch and see what happens.

"He's just getting back from a really great and large South African tour," his daughter, Regan, said Friday. But she couldn't confirm his plans for Oscar night. "I don't know if he is going to definitely be there, but he is definitely really excited about everything and glad that the the movie is doing so well," she said.

The film's distributor, Sony Pictures Classics, had no comment on whether Rodriguez would be attending. "Sugar Man" director Malik Bendjelloul and producer Simon Chinn are expected to be at the event.

If "Sugar Man" wins, it will be a Michigan moment on par with the 2003 Oscars, when Michael Moore won best documentary for "Bowling for Columbine" and Eminem, Jeff Bass and Luis Resto won best song for "Lose Yourself."

And if Rodriguez isn't there for the big moment, it would be an echo of another memorable Motor City no-show -- Eminem did not attend the Oscars in 2003.

Wherever Rodriguez spends Oscar night, his Detroit fans will be gathering at the Old Miami on Cass Avenue, a spot where he performed last year and located in a neighborhood Rodriguez has been known to frequent. It's having an Oscar viewing party starting at 8 p.m. Sunday night. Food will be served and there will be a champagne toast if the documentary wins.

Only they're not saying if it happens. "I'm saying 'when'," commented Bridget Volpe of Old Miami on Friday.

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