Pay Attention to the Oscars' Documentary Shorts

The Oscars take place on Sunday. I know that, when people normally watch the Oscars, they consider the important parts to be the pre-show, where everyone shows off their red-carpet dresses, and the categories with the big stars, so you can see their wacky acceptance speeches.

This year, though, I implore you to pay attention to an oft-ignored category: Documentary Short. It’s often really hard to see the documentary shorts before the ceremony unless you really seek them out, so people think of that category mostly as the Oscar-pool tie-breaker. This year, though, the nominees are filled with your neighbors.

One of the nominees, God Is the Bigger Elvis, is directed by Rebecca Cammisa of Tarrytown, produced by Julie Anderson of Scarsdale, and centers around Bethlehem, Connecticut, native Dolores Hart. Hart was a successful actress, with a claim to fame that she received Elvis Presley’s first on-screen kiss in the movie Loving You. Then, at age 24, she gave up the glamorous life to become a cloistered Benedictine nun. In the short film, Hart—now known as Mother Dolores—takes the filmmakers around the abbey where outsiders are normally not permitted.

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The second local nominee, Incident in New Baghdad, comes to us from Katonah resident James Spione, who is also a graduate of Purchase College School of the Arts. The subject matter here is decidedly heavier: the film is about the killing of two Reuters journalists and a number of other civilians by U.S. attack helicopters in 2007. You can see a clip of it here:

So, we’re represented with two of the five nominees? Those aren’t bad odds for a single category.

Where else are our neighbors nominated?  We have similar chances with the best Actress in a Leading Role category. There, Bedford resident Glenn Close is nominated for her role in Albert Nobbs alongside Bedford native Rooney Mara for hers in Girl with the Dragon Tattoo.

And locals aren’t relegated to documentary short subjects, either. Northern Westchester’s Joe Berlinger is nominated for his much-buzzed-about Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory.

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And the final name I recognize can be found in the Adapted Screenplay category, where Scarsdale native Aaron Sorkin is nominated for the script to Moneyball.

You can see the complete list of nominees here. Our fingers are crossed for all of our local nominees!

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