Oscar Predictions: Best Documentary Short

Stranger at the Gate / The New Yorker

There are 15 films on the shortlist in this category – watch 13 of them yourself by clicking on the hyperlinked titles! The Flagmakers co-director Cynthia Wade previously won for Freeheld and was nominated for Mondays at Racine, while the director of last year’s When We Were Bullies, Jay Rosenblatt, is in contention again for How Do You Measure a Year? This would be the first nomination in this category for all other filmmakers.

Let’s take a look at the range of films on the shortlist. Haulout and Nuisance Bear are mostly wordless films about environmental impacts on the welfare of walruses and polar bears, respectively, while The Elephant Whisperersfocuses on orphaned baby elephants in India. Anastasia and Holding Mosesexamine the complications of parenting under difficult circumstances. American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton and Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison break down the failings of the American criminal justice system. Stranger at the Gatelooks at the possibilities for redemption following a life spent expressing hate, while Shut Up and Paint meets the intersection of activism and art. Happiness is £4 Millionexplores what it means to be successful, while 38 at the Garden shows the power of defying cultural expectations through a popular sport. The Flagmakersinspects the complicated roots and main symbol of American patriotism, while As Far As They Can Run shows the universality of acceptance. The Martha Mitchell Effectchronicles an interesting piece of 20th-century history that was also recently covered in the limited series Gaslit, while How Do You Measure a Year? is the only film on this list with an unabashedly positive perspective. 

Predicting which of these fifteen will advance to the nominations list is a tricky endeavor. Stranger at the Gate and Shut Up and Paint feel like strong bets, while The Flagmakers and Happiness is £4 Million may also prove resonant. Holding Moses and As Far As They Can Run champion diversity and disabilities, while those who prefer to highlight climate change may want to highlight Haulout or Nuisance Bear. Among all the seriousness, the sweet and entertaining How Do You Measure a Year? might be a lighthearted choice.

Predictions: As Far As They Can Run, Holding Moses, How Do You Measure a Year, Stranger at the Gate, Shut Up and Paint

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