Ah, the plight of the documentary short subject! One theater in my state decided to air these five nominees, and they only chose one showtime: 11:15 am on Saturday and Sunday.
Let’s just say I couldn’t make it.
Luckily a few of these films are available on online platforms. Extremis and The White Helmets are available on Netflix. Joe’s Violin is available through the New Yorker here. With a handful of the five under my belt, let’s try and figure this category out.
Best Documentary Short Film:
- Extremis – Dan Krauss
- 4.1 Miles – Daphne Matziaraki
- Joe’s Violin – Kahane Cooperman, Raphaela Neihausen
- Watani: My Homeland – Marcel Mettelsiefen, Stephen Ellis
- The White Helmets – Orlando von Einsiedel, Joanna Natsegara
Will Win: Extremis
Could Win: Joe’s Violin
Dark Horse: The White Helmets
Odds predicting website GoldDerby puts this category in a two-horse race between Extremis at number one and Joe’s Violin at number two. Given I was able to see both of these films, it is easier to discern which of these two are likely to win than to judge the category as a whole, which includes two films I have not seen.
Based on pathos alone, Extremis takes the cake. Two years ago, the Best Documentary Short Film category went to a similar film, in that both took an intimate stance on emotional trauma, Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1. It seems likely that the Academy will take a similar approach to this category, choosing the emotionally devastating over the light, hopeful story.
The edge has to go to Extremis, which is the safe bet in this category. Joe’s Violin‘s upset potential is low but not zero. Same goes for The White Helmets, which is am ambitious directorial effort worth some attention.
As always, thanks for reading!
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)