Best Documentary Cheat Sheet for the Oscars 2022: Queen of Basketball…
This year’s race for best documentary short seems to have a clear favorite. Based on our combined odds at the running tracks, “The Queen of Basketball” is the one to beat on Sunday night. These odds are derived from predictions made by expert film industry journalists, Gold Derby editors, our top 24 users and thousands of Derbyites worldwide.
But could another film dethrone “The Queen”? What else could bring it down? Let’s take a closer look at this category and take a look at the five nominees in order of their odds as of this writing.
“The Queen of Basketball” (odds of winning: 16/5)
The film examines the life of Lusia “Lucy” Harriswho led the Delta State University women’s basketball team to three championships and became the first woman ever drafted by an NBA team.
This is the second Oscar nomination for Ben Proudfootwho was nominated in this category last year for “A Concerto is a Conversation”.
Benefits: It’s incredibly charming, and it all comes from hearing Lucy, who died in January, tell her story. On top of that, there are billboards all over Los Angeles promoting the short film and it’s readily available to watch for free through The New York Times.
The inconvenients: It doesn’t fit the usual mold of winners, who often deal with pressing sociopolitical events of the present or document tragedies of the past.
Who predicts it: 20 Experts, 12 Editors, 15 Top 24 Users and 73% of all users.
“Three songs for Benazir” (odds of winning: 4/1)
Shaista lives in a refugee camp with his new wife, Benazir. While he adores his wife, he also struggles to balance having a family with his desire to join the Afghan National Army.
Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei are both celebrating their first Oscar nominations for this short film.
Benefits: Shaista is a sympathetic protagonist and his love for his wife is very endearing. Recent disturbing memories of the US withdrawal from Afghanistan lend it additional significance.
The inconvenients: There’s not a whole lot of context around Shaista’s story, and that might knock a few ankles off for some voters.
Who predicts it: 1 Expert, 6 Top 24 Users and 17% of all users.
“Audible” (odds of winning: 4/1)
The film centers on Amaree who attends Maryland School for the Deaf and plays on their football team. When his teammate and best friend commits suicide, Amaree and the rest of his team must learn to cope while preparing for their final comeback match.
Matthew Ogens and Geoff McLean earned their first Oscar nomination for this film.
Benefits: Although it may be emotionally difficult to take in, it’s a gripping short with a fantastic ending that feels like an episode of “Friday Night Lights.” It also has Netflix’s marketing muscle behind it.
The inconvenients: With another sports movie in the mix here, it might be eclipsed by “Queen of Basketball.”
Who predicts it: 3 Experts, 1 Editor, 2 Top 24 Users and 8% of all users.
“When We Were Bullies” (odds of winning: 9/2)
Director Jay Rosenblatt recalls a bullying incident he was a part of in elementary school and seeks to track down his classmates and teacher to try to better understand what happened.
This is Rosenblatt’s first Oscar nomination.
Benefits: The way animation is used to tell the story makes it compelling. And it’s fascinating to watch Rosenblatt reflect on this incident.
The inconvenients: Shorts where the filmmaker is a central character generally didn’t do well here.
Who predicts it: 1 expert and 2% of all users.
“Drive me home” (odds of winning: 9/2)
The lives of several homeless people are examined in the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco and Seattle.
This is the first Oscar nomination for Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk.
Benefits: Your heart really breaks for the interviewees. It could also affect members of the Academy based in Los Angeles personally.
The inconvenients: Focusing on so many people and only hearing fragments of their stories somehow limits the film’s impact.
Who predicts it: 1 Expert and 1% of all users.
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