Best Documentary Short Film cheat sheet: All 15 Oscar semi-finalists with complete details

Darn, those short film categories at the Oscars can be a difficult field to navigate, can’t they? Predicting the winners is one thing, but predicting the nominees in those categories can be an even bigger headache. Never fear, Derbyites, as you no longer have to worry about this since we’ve got your back covered! We’ve looked over the recently announced shortlist for Best Documentary Short Film at the 2023 Oscars and have provided you with descriptions of each one of the 15 finalists that you can use to help choose the five that you think will get nominated in our predictions center.

As a reminder, the four most recent Oscar winners in the Best Documentary Short Film category were “The Queen of Basketball” (2021), “Colette” (2020), “Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl)” (2019) and “Period. End of Sentence.” (2018). What will join the list this year? Here are the details on the 15 finalists for Best Documentary Short Film at the 2023 Oscars.

“American Justice on Trial: People v. Newton” – The short tells the story of the scandalous 1968 murder trial of Huey Newton, the co-founder of the Black Panthers Party.

“Anastasia” – This film centers on a woman who leads a resistance against Vladimir Putin in Russia at a terrible personal cost.

“Angola Do You Hear Us? Voices from a Plantation Prison” – It examines Liza Jessie Peterson’s performance of her play, “The Peculiar Patriot,” at the Louisiana State Penitentiary, also known as Angola.

“As Far as They Can Run” – In a rural Pakistani community, three young adults join a running program for disabled youth with the hopes shifting the perspectives about where they live.

“The Elephant Whisperers” – An indigenous couple in South India encounter an orphaned elephant that they care for and work to ensure his survival. The project is available to stream on Netflix.

“The Flagmakers” – The short looks at the immigrants from around the world who work in Wisconsin at the largest manufacturing plant of American flags in the country. Directed by Sharon Liese and Cynthia Wade, Wade won an Oscar in this category in 2007 for “Freeheld” (with Vanessa Roth) and was nominated again in 2012 for “Mondays at Racine” (with Robin Honan).

“Happiness is £4 Million” – As a young journalist reports on China’s biggest real estate speculator, the conflicting values they hold challenge the worldview of the journalist and expose the generational and societal changes happening there.

“Haulout” – In the emptiness of the Russian Arctic, a man is waiting in his hut to observe an annual natural event that happens there, but the warming ocean is taking a huge toll on it.

“Holding Moses” – When a Broadway actress becomes a mother, she must forge a path in order to connect with her disabled son.

“How Do You Measure a Year?” – Director Jay Rosenblatt examines the relationship that developed with his daughter from age 2 to 18 as he films her answering the same questions every year. Rosenblatt was nominated in this category last year for another self-reflecting short, “When We Were Bullies.”

“The Martha Mitchell Effect” – It examines Martha Mitchell, the wife of Richard Nixon’s Attorney General John Mitchell, who spoke out about Watergate and how the Nixon administration attempted to gaslight her into keeping quiet.

“Nuisance Bear” – The short takes a look at the polar bears who inhabit Churchill, Mantioba and draws numerous tourists to the Canadian town. The piece won Best Short Documentary at the recent Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards.

“Shut Up and Paint” – When artist Titus Kaphar finds an unsatisfiable art market is attempting to quell his activism, he seeks to use film as a medium to express himself.

“Stranger at the Gate” – When a U.S. Marine plans to carry out a terrorist attack at a mosque in an American small town, things take a very unanticipated when he encounters the people that he has set out to murder.

“38 at the Garden” – Looks at the impact of Jeremy Lin during his time on the New York Knicks during the 2011-12 NBA season and cultural phenomenon that became known as “Linsanity.” The short is available to stream on HBO Max.

PREDICT the 2023 Oscar nominees through January 24

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