*Moments after their Oscar win, the filmmakers behind the documentary “20 Feet from Stardom” were asked if they knew Darlene Love was going to break out in song during their acceptance speech.
“I had a hunch,” admitted Morgan Neville, who directed the film spotlighting noteworthy background singers, including Merry Clayton, Judith Hill, Claudia Lennear, Tata Vega and Lisa Fischer. “They sing all the time. It’s what they do. The question was, was the orchestra going to drown her out, and would she start singing lyrics over the orchestra. She could do that, too. She could do anything.”
As previously reported, Love accompanied Neville and producer Caitrin Rogers onstage to accept the Oscar for Best Documentary, Feature. When it was Love’s turn to speak, she said a few words before busting out with “His Eye is On the Sparrow.”
“That’s the thing, that’s how they express joy – is music,” Neville said of the spontaneous moment. “And I’m so happy she had the chance to do it. I just had the biggest goose bumps. That was in incredible moment for me.”
Below, Neville said through all of the difficulty in getting the film made – including raising financing and coordinating the singers’ various schedules – he credits the constant prayer of Darlene Love and fellow featured singers with keeping the production moving forward.
Watch the trailer for “20 Feet From Stardom” below.