Documentary Short

Very few winners let alone nominees in the Best Documentary Short category are remembered after the Academy Awards ceremony is over. Can you recall even a single winner in the honor’s more than 70 years? Maybe you’ve at least heard of Jessica Yu’s 1997 winner, Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien, since it led to the making of The Sessions, a drama about O’Brien nominated for an Oscar this year in the Best Supporting Actress category. You also ought to know that there are often returning nominees in this niche arena, including multiple winner Walt Disney and now five more filmmakers representing three of the current contenders.

One of those five Academy Award veterans even won in her previous race, and while that can often work against a nominee in other categories, here it shouldn’t at all. Even ignoring all the wins for the U.S. Armed Forces in the early years, as well as the aforementioned Disney, we’ve seen multiple wins each for Charles Guggenheim, Robin Lehman and Bill Guttentag. And the thing is, if Cynthia Wade joins them this year, she’ll do so with a film that some see as fitting the current model for Documentary Short winners anyway.

But there are a few films this year that fit the model, and one of the other two are likely to take the statue Sunday night. Read on to learn more about the five nominees and their chances of being named the winner. My prediction is the one in red


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