ESPN Hopes OJ Simpson Will Help It Break Into the Oscars

It plans to qualify its new documentary series for an Academy Award
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 31, 2016 4:42 PM CDT
ESPN Hopes OJ Simpson Will Help It Break Into the Oscars
ESPN is going after an Oscar with its new OJ Simpson documentary series.   (Ethan Miller via AP, Pool)

As the so-called golden age of television rolls on, ESPN is attempting to strike another blow for the idiot box against the silver screen. The Los Angeles Times reports ESPN will be qualifying its new 7.5-hour OJ Simpson documentary series, OJ: Made in America, for the Academy Awards by screening it for one week in Los Angeles and New York before airing it in five parts on TV in June. "This was not constructed as an episodic series—it was constructed as a film that just happens to lay out the story over a longer period of time," one ESPN Films executive says.

Now ESPN just has to hope the Motion Picture Academy views the series—which uses OJ Simpson to look at race relations in the US—the same way. "Making this eligible for an Oscar sends a larger message: The old definitions of who can produce films, and how long they should be, and even what we call them, are irrelevant. The best work is the best work, and should be eligible for the highest prizes," the Times states. According to Complex, the move makes sense for ESPN as this is the "era of the docu-series," what with the success of The Jinx and Making a Murderer, and we seem to also be in a "new era of OJ Simpson obsession." (More ESPN stories.)

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