Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Documentary Short

The competition:
Body Team 12 (B)
This 13-minute documentary doesn't get too far into its content, but does offer a decently compelling look at the cleanup operation following the ebola outbreak in Liberia. It doesn't achieve much, but presents a quick look at a country in crisis.

Chau, Beyond the Lines (B)
This heartwarming film spotlights a young artist who, due to the aftereffects of a chemical used by American forces during the Vietnam War, has limited use of his limbs yet yearns to achieve his dream. It's a fine if short and unfinished portrait.

Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah (B+)
This affecting forty-minute film explores the filmmaker behind one of the most acclaimed miniseries of all time, and traces his journey in researching the Holocaust and going far in search of the truth. Lanzmann's own testimony is a particularly strong part of the film as he reflects back on his life and the difficult process of making "Shoah."

A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (B+)
This shocking documentary follows Saba, a young Pakistani woman who survived an honor killing attempted by her father and uncle when she dared to marry someone deemed not good enough. What this film uncovers about her society is horrifying, and it's a thoroughly explored and haunting expose.

Last Day of Freedom (B+)
This is by far the most creative of the nominees in this field, utilizing hand-drawn animation to assist its narrative, which mostly involves one man being interviewed, in a very effective style reminiscent of “Waltz with Bashir.” This stirring tale of a war hero sent to death row is a contemplative, affecting exploration of a truly broken system.

Previous winners: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1, 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 think I would choose “A Girl in the River,” but I would be happy with “Last Day of Freedom” or “Claude Lanzmann” too. These are all pretty good.
Who will win: I think A Girl in the River has the best shot, but this race is wide open.

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