Western alumnus TJ Martin won an Oscar for his documentary, “Undefeated,” Sunday, Feb. 26, at the 84th Annual Academy Awards.Undefeated followed an underprivileged high school football team, the Manassas Tigers, as it rose to victory.
The film was up against four other films for the title of Best Documentary Feature: Hell and Back Again, If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front, Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory and Pina.
Martin said when he and his co-director, Dan Lindsay, first discovered the North Memphis community they felt an absolute need to tell the story.
“We’ve done a fair amount of traveling within the U.S., and I don’t think we’ve ever seen poverty on that level,” Martin said.
Lindsay said in his speech that receiving an Oscar was beyond his expectations.
“A year ago today we were sitting in our editing room, depressed thinking nobody was ever going to see this movie and a friend said, ‘don’t worry, next year you’ll be at the Oscars’ and we said, ‘you’re an idiot,’” Lindsay said. “So we’d like to take this opportunity to apologize to him and say you’re a lot smarter than we thought.”