Academy Reveals Oscar Shortlist of Doc Shorts

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Films about the oldest Holocaust survivor, a tsunami aftermath and a rollerblading neurosurgeon advance from a field of 40

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has revealed the eight films that will be competing for Best Documentary Short Subject at the 86th Academy Awards. From these, three to five will earn a nomination.

The shortlisted films do not include eligible short docs by AMPAS governor Rob Epstein and Oscar-winning filmmaker Jessica Yu, but they do include films about the oldest-living Holocaust survivor (“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life”), the recovery of personal photographs after a tsunami in Japan (“Recollection”), screenwriter Scott Lew’s battle with ALS (“Jujitsu-ing Reality”) and a retired neurosurgeon who rollerblades daily at Venice beach (“SLOMO,” photo above).

Some members of the doc community were surprised by the shortlisted films, which were the result of voting by volunteer members of the Academy’s Documentary Branch. Voters were separated into two committees, each of which received 20 of the 40 eligible shorts to review and score.

Most Oscar-nominated doc shorts range between 30 and 40 minutes in length, meaning the voters had to wade through a large amount of material.

Also read: Oscar Documentary Overhaul Creates Screener Overload for Voters (Exclusive)

Below are the eight films in alphabetical order:

“CaveDigger” — Karoffilms
“Facing Fear” — Jason Cohen Productions
“Jujitsu-ing Reality” — Sobini Films
“Karama Has No Walls” — Hot Spot Films
“The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life” — Reed Entertainment
“Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall” — Prison Terminal
“Recollections” — Notrac Productions
“SLOMO” — Big Young Films and Runaway Films

Nominees for the 86th Academy Awards will be announced on Jan. 16, and the awards ceremony will take place on March 2 at the Dolby Theater.

Steve Pond contributed to this report.

  • Amanda Micheli

    thanks for the story, Michael! Just wanted to note one fact-checking thing: SLOMO skates at Pacific Beach in San Diego, not Venice Beach. That’s kind of like confusing Aussies with Kiwis; easy to do but pisses the locals off ;)