Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Documentary Short

The nominees:
Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (B)
This short, the longest in this category at 45 minutes, is an informative look at the country’s only veteran call center in which responders handle calls from those struggling with PTSD and contemplating suicide. It offers an effective and harrowing look at the difficult and important work done by the people who answer the phone.
Joanna (C-)
This film follows a Polish woman suffering from a chronic fatal illness as she spends the little time she has left with her family. It may be insensitive to rate it so poorly, but there is no introduction of any kind and the film presents its conversation without any framing, making for a depressing but far from fulfilling experience.
Our Curse (B)
This one takes the cake for heart-wrenching, spotlighting two parents who bring their infant son home from the hospital and discuss the implications of the disorder he suffers from that requires him to be constantly hooked up to a respirator. Watching these parents see their child in such agony is immensely hard to watch.
The Reaper (D+)
I’m not really sure why this was made into a film. The story of a Mexican slaughterhouse employee nicknamed “The Reaper” doesn’t have much to offer other than the obviously off-putting nature of the work he does. What makes that film-worthy? Nothing.
White Earth (C-)
I’ve always wanted to go to North Dakota just to see it, and this documentary has almost completely negated that desire (I’ll still go at some point, probably to Fargo). Hearing about oil field workers and their neglected children just doesn’t cut it in terms of seeming relevant or interesting.

Previous winners: The Lady in Number 6, Inocente, Saving Face, Strangers No More, Music by Prudence, Smile Pinki, Freeheld, The Blood of Yingzhou District
Who should win: I was not at all impressed with this field. I would pick “Crisis Hotline” over “Our Curse” and really hope the rest don’t win.
Who will win: I think that Crisis Hotline has the edge over “Our Curse,” which I think voters will find too difficult to get through.

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