In recent years, Oscar voters have voted for nominees for best documentary short that tell human-centered stories.
We’ll be updating these predictions throughout awards season, so stay tuned to IndieWire for our 2023 Oscars picks. The final vote will take place between March 2 and 7, 2023. The 95th Academy Awards will air on Sunday, March 12th and will air live on ABC at 8:00 PM ET/5:00 PM PT.
See IndieWire’s previous Oscar predictions for this category and more here.
State of the species
It’s time to watch the Best Short Documentary category.
While the recent documentary boom has had its pros and cons, one exciting byproduct has been that the category’s contenders have become more accessible than ever before. Two of the films are available for free on YouTube and two others can be streamed on Netflix. Just “How do you measure a year?” is still working on an easy way to see it outside of the Academy screening room (and in the upcoming short film nominees’ theater), but that’s hardly an objection, since Academy voters already know its director, Jay Rosenblatt. : nominated in the same category last year for his short film “When We Were Bullies”.
The film chronicles the life of her daughter Ella and features interviews Rosenblatt conducted with her on her birthday since she was two years old. The success of “CODA” last year would suggest that the Academy has fallen in love with father-daughter stories that tug at the heartstrings, but a simple criticism could prevent “How Do We Measure a Year?” of the win is that it uses a format that has already been seen by millions in the annual videos produced by Vanity Fair. Billie Eilish.
Netflix’s “The Martha Mitchell Effect” is in a similar position, coming between two high-profile limited series that also chronicled the Watergate scandal. Starz’s “Gaslit” specifically featured Julia Roberts as Mitchell, the outspoken wife of Nixon’s attorney general, but the role didn’t get as much recognition as one might think. This may help this documentary project in its definitive retelling of Mitchell’s role, as he does a very good job of piecing together archival footage to create a great refresher on both the scandal and a fascinating, half-forgotten figure in recent American history.
As for which film has the most momentum, “Stranger at the Gate” recently brought on activist Malala Yousafzai as an executive producer. It would be a spoiler, but the project, distributed by The New Yorker, for both true crime fans and those looking for something more soulful, director Joshua Seftel packs twists into the story of a marine’s plan. to attack an Indiana mosque.
On the more eco-friendly end of the spectrum are “Haulout,” about a walrus beach, and “The Elephant Whisperers,” about an animal sanctuary, both of which feature some pretty incredible nature. However, the films voted on by Academy members for best short documentary in recent years tend to be more human-centric.
The nominees are listed below in order of probability of winning.
“Stranger at the Gate”
“The Martha Mitchell Effect”
“How do you measure a year?”
“The Elephant Whispers”
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