What just happened? A short documentary from the VR game Medal of Honor: Above and Beyond received the Academy Award for Best Documentary (Short Subject) for 2021. Titled Colette, the short film was produced by Oculus Studios and EA’s Respawn Entertainment. The Oscar is the first-ever awarded to anything from the video game industry.
Last night’s Oscar ceremony differed from most years. The event occurred two months later than usual and was split between the Dolby Theater in Hollywood and Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Moreover, most of the movies were released when theatres were closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, there were also some marking moments. Chloé Zhao won the Best Director award with the movie ‘Nomadland,’ becoming the first woman of color to win it. Actress Yuh-Jung Youn was the first Korean to win an Oscar (Best Supporting Actress) thanks to her work in ‘Minari.’ Surprisingly, the film ‘Colette’ won the Best Documentary Short Subject, the first video game industry Oscar award.
‘Colette’ is a short film featured in the VR war game Medal of Honor: Brave and Beyond. It tells the story of Colette Marin-Catherine, a member of the French resistance against the Nazi regime that returns to Germany for the first time in 74 years. During her time there, she visits the slave labor camp where her brother was killed. Anthony Giacchino directed the film.
“The real hero here is Colette herself, who has shared her story with integrity and strength,” said Mike Doran, Oculus Studios director of production. “As we see in the film, resistance takes courage, but facing one’s past may take even more.”
Unlike the documentary short, critics panned Medal of Honor: Brave and Beyond. The VR game was criticized for having a mediocre story and good but forgettable action scenes, receiving an average review score of 65 percent.
The 24-minute film premiered in 2020 at Big Sky Documentary Film Festival, where it also won the Best Documentary Short award. It is now available to watch for free on YouTube and Oculus TV.