When it comes to winning your office pool on the Best Documentary Short Subject Oscar, think tearjerker and you’ll be close to mark. This year, the documentary branch of the Academy selected 10 shorts out of 96 submissions to vie for the five final slots for the Oscars. As always, these nominations are far more diverse than most of the other Oscar categories.
Netflix landed one slot, for veteran filmmakers John Haptas and Kristine Samuelson’s “Life Overtakes Me,” about how children facing the anxiety of deportation retreat into resignation syndrome, falling into a coma-like sleep that can last for months, even years. The New York Times’ Op-Docs supplied Laura Nix’s moving “Walk Run Cha-Cha,” which follows a loving couple, dancers Paul and Millie Cao, 40 years after they emigrated to the United States after the Vietnam War.
IDA Documentary Awards‘ short winner “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)” (Lifetime Films, A&E IndieFilms) was shot in Afghanistan by Carol Dysinger over five years. Also landing slots were Korean filmmaker Yi Seung-Jun’s disturbing exposé “In the Absence” (Field of Vision) and Smriti Mundhra and Sami Khan’s “St. Louis Superman” (MTV Documentary Films, Al Jazeera Witness and Meralta Films).
Nominees are listed in order of their likelihood to win.
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“Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (if you’re a girl)” (Lifetime Films, A&E IndieFilms)
“In the Absence” (Field of Vision)
“St. Louis Superman” (MTV Documentary Films, Al Jazeera Witness and Meralta Films)
“Walk Run Cha-Cha” (New York Times Op-Docs)
“Life Overtakes Me” (Netflix)