All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022), the documentary following renowned artist Nan Goldin’s campaign against members of the billionaire Sackler family and their role in the opioid crisis, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Documentary Feature category. If director Laura Poitras wins, she will be just one of a handful of documentarians to have earned a pair of Academy Awards over the course of her career. Her documentary Citizenfour (2014), about whistleblower Edward Snowden and the National Security Agency spying scandal, won the Oscar in the same category in 2015.
All the Beauty and the Bloodshed (2022), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival last year, chronicles Goldin’s career and her activism in the wake of her own years-long recovery from opioid addiction, a time she describes as “a darkness of the soul”.
After reading the revelatory New Yorker article detailing the Sackler family’s hand in pushing Oxycontin sales, Goldin felt called upon to challenge their reputation as benevolent art world philanthropists, publishing a searing essay in Artforum, producing a new body of photographs calling for change and helping to organise major protests against the Sacklers under the auspices of Prescription Addiction Intervention Now (Pain), an anti-big pharma advocacy organisation she founded in 2017. Goldin’s work has been shown in many institutions that benefitted from Sackler support, a poignant tension explored throughout the film.
The 2023 Academy Awards will take place in Los Angeles on 12 March.