3SMReviews: Oscar Nominated Shorts, Documentary

 In Everything
3SMReviews: Oscar Nominated Shorts Documentary

There was a time when I wondered how people ever got to see the short films that were nominated for Academy Awards, but that time has passed. In my town of Portland, many movie theaters show them. It’s great to be able to see what the Academy sees.

Of note. If you have multiple theaters showing these shorts, you might choose carefully. My theater showed me all five for one price. I notice that other theaters are dividing the documentary shorts into two programs, each of which you have to pay for.

Cost: $8.00
Where watched: Living Room Theaters

For this review, I’m dispensing with my three sentence format and will feature all five nominees.

Black Sheep

(27 minutes) Directed by Ed Perkins and Jonathan Chinn. UK
The story of Cornelius Walker whose mother moved him out of London to keep him safe, relocating the family to an all-white estate where Cornelius attempted to shed his Black identity to survive. It’s tough to watch, but worth it, and there is much to discuss.


Where to watch: here

End Game

(40 minutes) Directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman (USA)
A movie that examines end-of-life care in San Francisco, following a family who keeps fighting cancer in the hospital, and also the residents and staff of a hospice house. Having watched it, I’m very clear on where I would want my time to come to an end. It also sets up a jarring comparison for the next short.


Where to watch: Netflix is streaming it.


(40 minute) Directed by Skye Fitzgerald and Bryn Mooser (USA)

Features the work of German nonprofit Sea Watch who search the Mediterranean looking for refugees from rafts. It’s horrifying to see the people stacked on the rafts and fascinating to see how the refugees are rescued. There’s also coverage from the shore showing what happens to those who die trying to cross.


Where to watch: I can only find a trailer, so your best best is an Oscar Shorts program.

A Night at the Garden

(7 minutes) Marshall Curry (USA)

A very short film about the “Pro-USA” rally held at Madison Square Garden in 1939. It invites a lot of comparison to the present day.


Where to watch: You can see the entire thing at this link as well as read a Q&A from the director which sheds light on who some of the people are.


(26 minutes) Rayka Zahtabchi and Melissa Berton (India)

This was my favorite (I prefer my documentaries to be hopeful) and I think it should win. If it does, I will be surprised because its subject matter has nothing to do with grammar and everything to do with menstruation practices in India. Apparently only 10% of women use pads, the rest making do with cloth. This causes all sorts of problems. To right this inequity, there’s a super cool machine involved and some basic entrepreneurship.


Where to watch: Not online. You can watch a trailer here.

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