DOCUMENTARY SHORT SUBJECT SHORTLIST:

“Águilas”
“Audible”
“A Broken House”
“Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis”
“Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker”
“Day of Rage”
“The Facility”
“Lead Me Home”
“Lynching Postcards: “Token of a Great Day””
“The Queen of Basketball”
“Sophie & the Baron”
“Takeover”
“Terror Contagion”
“Three Songs for Benazir”
“When We Were Bullies”

Eighty-two films qualified in the category. Members of the Documentary Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees. As I have not seen any of these films, I’ve picked the five that, from their synopsis, sounds like the fare normally chosen by the Academy. I could end up being way off, so don’t make any money bets off of these.

Per the Academy’s press release:

Nominations voting begins on Thursday, January 27, 2022, and concludes on Tuesday, February 1, 2022. Nominations for the 94th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, February 8, 2022. The 94th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby® Theatre at Hollywood & Highland® in Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide.

OSCAR NOMINATION PREDICTIONS

“The Facility”
Field of Vision

“Audible”
Netflix

“Lead Me Home”
Netflix

“A Broken House”
Jimmy Goldblum

“When We Were Bullies”
Jay Rosenblatt Films

#1: “The Facility” (26m)

IMDB Synopsis: A group of immigrants detained inside an infamous American detention center as the pandemic spreads, organize in protest to demand protections and their release. Separated from their families and fearing for their lives they take bold action. But officials who run the detention center are intent on keeping these men and women silent and locked up. Filmed using the cameras attached to tablets installed inside the detention center cell-blocks, The Facility is a real-time chronicle of a life in an immigration detention facility, and of a struggle for freedom and accountability.

#2: “Audible” (39m)

IMDB Synopsis: Football player Amaree McKenstry-Hall and his Maryland School for the Deaf teammates attempt to defend their winning streak while coming to terms with the tragic loss of a close friend.

#3: “Lead Me Home” (39m)

IMDB Synopsis: Shot over the course of three years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle, this short presents the epidemic of homelessness in America with a show-don’t-tell approach, featuring candid testimonials from those who rest their heads in shelters, tent cities, and anywhere a night’s sleep can be found. A poetic and dignified portrait of our culture’s fraying edges and the people who inhabit them, Lead Me Home is filled with bracing humanity.

#4: “A Broken House” (20m)

IMDB Synopsis: When Mohamad Hafez received a single-entry visa to study architecture in the United States, he realized if he couldn’t return home to Syria, he could make home. A skilled architectural model-maker, he spent his years in exile sculpting life-like renditions of his Damascus neighborhood. When the civil war broke out and his parents fled to the United States as refugees, Mohamad’s bottled-up frustration erupted on his models. In a fit of mania, he broke his artworks, leaving them shattered, bombed-out replicas of the Syrian buildings he saw on the news. And yet, when word of his broken pieces spread, Mohamad became an inspiration to refugees and immigrants in the diaspora who dreamed of homes that only existed in memories. ‘Hiraeth’ is a film about loss and love, responsibility and identity — about homesickness for the places to which we can no longer return.

#5: “When We Were Bullies” (36m)

IMDB Synopsis: A mind-boggling coincidence leads the filmmaker to track down his fifth grade class and fifth grade teacher to examine their memory of and complicity in a bullying incident 50 years ago.

OSCAR NOMINATION ALTERNATES

#6: “Lynching Postcards: “Token of a Great Day”” (15m)

IMDB Synopsis: During 1880-1968 over 4,000 African Americans were lynched at the hands of white mobs. These lynchings were commemorated through souvenir postcards that would ultimately be subverted by Black activists to expose racist violence in the U.S.

#7: “Camp Confidential: America’s Secret Nazis” (36m)

IMDB Synopsis: At the height of WWII, a group of young Jewish refugees are sent to a secret POW camp near Washington, D.C. The recent refugees soon discover that the prisoners are no other than Hitler’s top scientists.

#8: “Three Songs for Benazir” (22m)

IMDB Synopsis: Even as Shaista’s love for Benazir is palpable, the choices he must make to build a life with her have profound consequences.

#9: “Day of Rage” (41m)

IMDB Synopsis: As part of a six-month investigation, The Times synchronized and mapped thousands of videos and police audio of the U.S. Capitol riot to provide the most complete picture to date of what happened – and why.

#10: “Águilas” (14m)

IMDB Synopsis: Along the southern desert border in Arizona, it is estimated that only one out of every five missing migrants are ever found. Águilas is the story of one group of searchers, the Aguilas del Desierto. Once a month these volunteers—construction workers, gardeners, domestic laborers by trade—set out to recover the missing, reported to them by loved ones often thousands of miles away. Amidst rising political repression and cartel violence, as well as the eternal difficulties of travel in the Sonoran Desert, the Aguilas carry out their solemn task.

THE REST

#11: “Terror Contagion” (25m)

IMDB Synopsis: A visual study of the investigation by Forensic Architecture into the Israeli cyberweapons manufacturer NSO Group and the use of its Pegasus malware to target journalists and human rights defenders worldwide.

#12: “The Queen of Basketball” (22m)

IMDB Synopsis: She is one of the greatest living women’s basketball players. 3 national trophies. Scored the first basket in women’s Olympic basketball at the ’76 Olympics. Drafted to the NBA. But have you ever heard of Lucy Harris?

#13: “Takeover” (37m)

IMDB Synopsis: In 1970, a group of young Puerto Rican activists took over a decrepit hospital in New York City, launching a battle for their lives, their community, and health care for all.

#14: “Coded: The Hidden Love of J. C. Leyendecker” (28m)

IMDB Synopsis: Setting the standard for modern marketing as we know it, Coded unpacks illustrator J.C. Leyendecker’s advertisements that animated his male partner and became an easter egg of queer coding in art.

#15: “Sophie & the Baron” (30m)

IMDB Synopsis: This charming story of an unlikely friendship between iconic photographer Baron Wolman at the end of his prolific career and up-and-coming artist Sophie Kipner at the beginning of hers, takes us on an uplifting journey into an artistic collaboration that transcends eras and mediums. Quirky, fun and full of life, Sophie and The Baron is a whimsical look at the magic of just saying yes.

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