What Happened, Miss Simone?

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
What Happened, Miss Simone?
What Happened, Miss Simone logo,jpg.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byLiz Garbus
Distributed byNetflix
Release date
  • January 22, 2015 (2015-01-22)
  • June 26, 2015 (2015-06-26)
Running time
101 minutes
CountryUnited States

What Happened, Miss Simone? is a 2015 American biographical documentary film about Nina Simone directed by Liz Garbus. The film opened the 2015 Sundance Film Festival. The screening was followed by a tribute performance by John Legend.[1] The film was released by Netflix on June 26, 2015. It was nominated for Best Documentary Feature at the 88th Academy Awards.


The documentary chronicles the life of American singer Nina Simone, who became a civil rights activist and moved to Liberia following the turbulence of the 1960s.[2] The documentary combines previously unreleased archival footage and interviews with Simone's daughter and friends. The title of the film was taken from a Maya Angelou quote.[3]


Garbus was approached with the idea and rights for the film by RadicalMedia.[4] Nina's daughter Lisa Simone Kelly served as the film's executive producer.[5]


Indiewire gave the film a B grade.[6] Michael Hogan wrote for Vanity Fair that, "The risk of making a documentary of a towering artist is that, by explaining her, you only end up diminishing her. Not Nina Simone—not this time. In Liz Garbus's telling, Simone's talent and personality shine through, as gloriously singular, and uncontrollable, as ever."[7] The film was selected as one of 15 shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.[8] It eventually received a nomination.[9]

Manohla Dargis of The New York Times cited the film's relevance today, calling it an "often electric, bracingly urgent documentary."[2]


The film was nominated for six Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Documentary or Nonfiction Special and Outstanding Directing for a Nonfiction Program,[10] winning the former.


  1. ^ "John Legend performs Nina Simone tribute at Sundance". CBS News. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  2. ^ a b Dargis, Manohla (June 23, 2015). "Review: 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Documents Nina Simone's Rise as Singer and Activist". The New York Times. Retrieved July 17, 2018.
  3. ^ Cohen, Sandy. "Nina Simone documentary a powerful portrait of the artist". Associated Press. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  4. ^ Berger, Laura. "Sundance Women Directors: Meet Liz Garbus – 'What Happened, Miss Simone?'". Indiewire. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  5. ^ Swann, Jennifer. "One Icon, Two Movies: Can Hollywood Do Right by Nina Simone?". TakePart. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  6. ^ Jhaveri, Anisha. "Sundance Review: 'What Happened, Miss Simone?' Puts Nina Simone's Legacy in the Spotlight". Indiewire.com. Retrieved January 29, 2015.
  7. ^ Hogan, Michael. "Prepare to be Amazed All Over Again by the Gloriously Singular Nina Simone". Vanity Fair. Retrieved February 15, 2015.
  8. ^ "15 DOCUMENTARY FEATURES ADVANCE IN 2015 OSCAR® RACE". December 1, 2015. Retrieved December 16, 2015.
  9. ^ "Oscars 2016 Nominations: Complete List of Nominees". E! Online. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016.
  10. ^ "68th Emmy Awards Nominations For Programs Airing June 1, 2015 – May 31, 2016" (PDF). Academy of Television Arts & Sciences. July 14, 2016. Retrieved July 14, 2016.

External links[edit]