Oscar Best Documentary Short Subject

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1. Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 (2016)

40 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A brilliant but tortured 56-year-old artist channels her depression and anxiety into her work.

Director: Frank Stiefel | Star: Tom Wudl

Votes: 614

2. The White Helmets (2016)

TV-14 | 41 min | Documentary, Short, Comedy

As daily airstrikes pound civilian targets in Syria, a group of indomitable first responders risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble.

Director: Orlando von Einsiedel | Stars: Khalid Farah, Mohammed Farah, Abu Omar, Raed Saleh

Votes: 5,308

3. A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness (2015)

TV-PG | 40 min | Documentary, Short

A woman in Pakistan sentenced to death for falling in love becomes a rare survivor of the country's harsh judicial system.

Director: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy | Stars: Asad Jamal, Saba

Votes: 1,062

4. Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 (2013)

TV-14 | 40 min | Documentary, Short

Counselors provide support, guidance and hope to despondent servicemen dealing with emotional, physical and financial troubles.

Director: Ellen Goosenberg Kent

Votes: 437

5. The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life (2013)

39 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Aliza Sommer-Herz, aged 109 and the world's oldest Holocaust survivor, tells the story of how music saved her life: both during her time at Theresienstadt concentration camp and in the years afterwards.

Director: Malcolm Clarke | Stars: Aliza Sommer-Herz, Zdenka Fantlova, Anita Lasker-Wallfisch, Malcolm Clarke

Votes: 823

6. Inocente (2012)

40 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A personal and vibrant coming of age story about a young artist's determination never to surrender to the bleakness of her surroundings. At 15, Inocente refuses to let her dream of becoming... See full summary »

Directors: Sean Fine, Andrea Nix

Votes: 315 | Gross: $2.14M

7. Saving Face (2012)

Not Rated | 40 min | Documentary, Short, Drama

Plastic surgeon Dr. Mohammad Jawad returns to his native Pakistan to help those left horribly scarred by acid attacks.

Directors: Daniel Junge, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy | Stars: Sarkar Abbas, Mohammad Jawad

Votes: 1,210

8. Strangers No More (2010)

40 min | Documentary, Short

In the heart of Tel Aviv, there is an exceptional school where children from forty-eight different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. Many of the students arrive at ... See full summary »

Directors: Karen Goodman, Kirk Simon

Votes: 171

9. Music by Prudence (2010)

33 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Prudence Mabhena leads a group of young, disabled Africans who inspire others with their music, proving that disability does not mean inability.

Director: Roger Ross Williams | Stars: Farai Mabhande, Prudence Mabhena, Energy Maburutse, Marvelous Mbulo

Votes: 100

10. Smile Pinki (2008)

39 min | Documentary, Short

A destitute Indian child meets a social worker who makes it possible for her to obtain free surgery to cure her cleft lip.

Director: Megan Mylan | Stars: Anti Chauhan, Ghutaru Chauhan, Virendra Kumar Das, Ravi Anand Manya

Votes: 380

11. Freeheld (2007)

Not Rated | 39 min | Documentary, Short

Lieutenant Laurel Hester is dying. All she wants to do is leave her pension benefits to her life partner - Stacie, so Stacie can afford to keep their house. Laurel is told no; they are not ... See full summary »

Director: Cynthia Wade | Stars: Laurel Hester, Stacie Andree, Dane B. Wells, Steven Goldstein

Votes: 271

12. The Blood of Yingzhou District (2006)

Not Rated | 38 min | Documentary, Short

A year in the life of children in the Province of Anhui in China, who have lost their parents to AIDS. Traditional obligations to family and village collide with terror of the disease.

Director: Ruby Yang | Stars: Huang Children, Gao Jun, Nan Nan

Votes: 233

13. A Note of Triumph: The Golden Age of Norman Corwin (2005)

39 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A biography of Poet Norman Corwin, and the events surrounding his powerful radio broadcast commemorating VE Day on May 8, 1945.

Director: Eric Simonson | Stars: Robert Altman, Norman Corwin, Walter Cronkite, Norman Lear

Votes: 80

14. Mighty Times: The Children's March (2004)

40 min | Documentary, Short

The children of Baltimore, Maryland take to the streets for civil rights in 1963.

Director: Robert Houston | Stars: Dominiqua Alexis, Rico E. Anderson, Josh Evans, Sir Fappington

Votes: 77

15. Chernobyl Heart (2003)

39 min | Documentary, Short

This Academy Award-winning documentary takes a look at children born after the 1986 Chernobyl nuclear plant disaster who have been born with a deteriorated heart condition.

Director: Maryann DeLeo | Stars: William Novick, Adi Roche

Votes: 640

16. Twin Towers (2003)

34 min | Short

Two brothers, one a firefighter, one a police officer, are remembered for their bravery in New York City on September 11.

Directors: Bill Guttentag, Robert David Port | Star: Tommy Buda

Votes: 198

17. Thoth (2002)

40 min | Documentary, Short, Music

Thoth is a street performer currently in New York. Thoth is an individual with a complicated life and background. Thoth plays on opera with a violin in a loincloth in Central Park. Thoth is.

Director: Sarah Kernochan | Star: S.K. Thoth

Votes: 179

18. Big Mama (2000)

35 min | Short, Documentary

The story of Viola Dees, an elderly woman who is trying to care for her troubled grandson.

Director: Tracy Seretean | Star: Viola Dees

Votes: 66

20. The Personals (1999)

Not Rated | 40 min | Documentary, Short

Documentary about a Jewish senior citizens' acting group on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The film covers both the progress and impediments of a play the group is mounting about senior ... See full summary »

Director: Keiko Ibi | Stars: Gloria Bobrofsky, Abram Calderon, Deborah Ehrlich, Seth Glassman

Votes: 32 | Gross: $0.01M

21. A Story of Healing (1997)

28 min | Documentary, Short

In January, 1997, a team of five nurses, four anesthesiologists, and three plastic surgeons arrive in Vietnam from the United States for two weeks' of volunteer work. They operate on 110 ... See full summary »

Director: Donna Dewey | Stars: Barron Christian, Donna Dewey

Votes: 50

22. Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O'Brien (1996)

Not Rated | 35 min | Documentary, Short

Portrait of writer Mark O'Brien, who contracted polio as a child and spent much of his life in an iron lung.

Director: Jessica Yu | Stars: Mark O'Brien, Elizabeth Duvall, Ian Berzon

Votes: 123

23. One Survivor Remembers (1995)

Unrated | 39 min | Documentary, Short, History

Holocaust survivor Gerda Weissmann Klein recounts her six-year ordeal as a victim of Nazi cruelty, including the loss of her parents, brother, friends, home, possessions, and community.

Director: Kary Antholis | Stars: Gerda Weissmann Klein, Kurt Klein, Peter Thomas

Votes: 216

24. A Time for Justice (1994)

38 min | Documentary, Short

A short history of civil rights movements in the US.

Director: Charles Guggenheim

Votes: 38

25. Defending Our Lives (1994)

42 min | Documentary, Short

Documentary about the magnitude and severity of domestic violence. This film features four women imprisoned for killing their batterers and their terrifying personal testimonies.

Directors: Margaret Lazarus, Renner Wunderlich, Stacey Kabat

Votes: 33

26. Educating Peter (1992)

30 min | Documentary, Short

Peter Gwazdauskas, a child with Down Syndrome, attends a normal school with regular students. The documentary follows Peter and how much he has improved throughout the school year.

Director: Gerardine Wurzburg | Stars: Judy Gwazdauskas, Peter Gwazdauskas

Votes: 149

27. Deadly Deception: General Electric, Nuclear Weapons and Our Environment (1991)

27 min | Documentary, Short

This 1991 Academy Award®-winning documentary uncovers the disastrous health and environmental side effects caused by the production of nuclear materials by the General Electric Corporation.

Director: Debra Chasnoff

Votes: 37

28. Days of Waiting (1991)

28 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

The story of Estelle Ishigo, one of the few Caucasians interned with Japanese Americans during World War II. The wife of a Japanese American, Ishigo refused to be separated from her husband... See full summary »

Director: Steven Okazaki | Stars: Estelle Peck Ishigo, Lynn O'Donnell, Dorothy Stroup

Votes: 43

29. The Johnstown Flood (1989)

26 min | Documentary, Short

On May 30, 1889 the South Fork Dam, which maintained a pleasure lake for wealthy Pittsburgh industrialists and their families, failed due to very heavy rains and poor maintenance by the ... See full summary »

Director: Charles Guggenheim | Stars: Len Cariou, Elam Bender, Randy Bender, Clarita Berger

Votes: 86

30. You Don't Have to Die (1988)

27 min | Documentary, Short, Family

A young boy's successful battle against cancer and his subsequent efforts to help other children overcome their fears of the illness.

Directors: Malcolm Clarke, Bill Guttentag | Stars: Jason Gaes, Adam Gaes, Craig Gaes, Geralyn Gaes

Votes: 29

31. Young at Heart (1987)

Not Rated | 29 min | Documentary, Short, Romance

Filmmakers Sue Marx and Pamela Conn document the romance between Sue's father Louis Gothelf and Reva Shwayder, each in their mid-80s. Both artists and residents of the Detroit suburbs, they... See full summary »

Directors: Pamela Conn, Sue Marx | Stars: Louis Gothelf, Reva Shwayder-Gothelf

Votes: 27

32. Women - for America, for the World (1986)

30 min | Documentary, Short

22 prominent American women discuss their activism for nuclear disarmament and their motivations in seeking the end of the arms race.

Director: Vivienne Verdon-Roe | Stars: Joanne Woodward, Jean Shinoda Bolen, Betty Bumpers, Shirley Chisholm

Votes: 28

33. Witness to War: Dr. Charlie Clements (1985)

29 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

Documentary of Charlie Clements, a Vietnam War pilot who was convinced by his experiences in the war that he should become a doctor working behind enemy lines.

Director: Deborah Shaffer | Stars: Charlie Clements, Richard Nixon

Votes: 19

34. The Stone Carvers (1984)

30 min | Documentary, Short

A look at some of the last stone carvers working in the United States, those completing the sculptures adorning the Washington National Cathedral. They discuss their craft and the cultural ... See full summary »

Directors: Marjorie Hunt, Paul Wagner | Stars: Vincent Palumbo, Roger Morigi

Votes: 19

35. Flamenco at 5:15 (1983)

29 min | Documentary, Short

For a few weeks each year, in the depths of winter, senior students at the National Ballet School of Canada are treated to a style of dance that is unlike any other - flamenco.

Director: Cynthia Scott | Stars: Susana Robledo, Antonio Robledo, Rita Bozi, Catherine Hader

Votes: 114

36. If You Love This Planet (1982)

26 min | Documentary, Short

An Australian pediatrician gives a speech on the consequences of a nuclear war.

Director: Terre Nash | Stars: Helen Caldicott, Vannevar Bush, Winston Churchill, Leslie Groves

Votes: 105

37. Close Harmony (1981)

30 min | Documentary, Short, Family

A chorus of 4th- and 5th-graders at the Brooklyn Friends School and a chorus of elderly retirees at a Brooklyn Jewish seniors' center combine to give an annual joint concert. Practicing ... See full summary »

Director: Nigel Noble

Votes: 12

38. Karl Hess: Toward Liberty (1980)

26 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A look at Karl Hess, libertarian intellectual and activist, from his background as a magazine editor in his youth to his work as a Republican speechwriter, as he became simultaneously a ... See full summary »

Directors: Roland Hallé, Peter W. Ladue | Stars: Karl Hess, Kevin Burns, Barry Goldwater, Adolf Hitler

Votes: 33

39. Paul Robeson: Tribute to an Artist (1979)

Not Rated | 30 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

An examination of the life of actor and singer Paul Robeson, from his first major triumphs on the stage in the 1920s through his gradually increasing social activism in the 1930s and 1940s,... See full summary »

Director: Saul J. Turell | Stars: Sidney Poitier, Paul Robeson, Margaret Webster

Votes: 217

40. The Flight of the Gossamer Condor (1978)

27 min | Documentary, Short

The Flight of the Gossamer Condor tells the inspiring true story of history's first successful human-powered flight. Renowned inventor Dr. Paul MacCready and his team were filmed creating ... See full summary »

Director: Ben Shedd | Stars: Bryan Allen, Paul B. MacCready, Tyler MacCready, Greg Miller

Votes: 34

41. Gravity Is My Enemy (1977)

26 min | Documentary, Short, Biography

A look at artist Mark Hicks of Manhattan Beach, California, a quadriplegic since falling out of a tree at age 14. His work is examined, along with a discussion of his being a student at ... See full summary »

Director: John C. Joseph | Stars: Mark Hicks, Jan Stussy

Votes: 15

42. Number Our Days (1976)

28 min | Documentary, Short

A documentary study of a community of elderly Jews in Venice, California.

Director: Lynne Littman | Stars: Harry Asimow, Barbara Myerhoff, Lynne Littman

Votes: 36

43. The End of the Game (1976)

29 min | Short, Drama

Robin Lehman presents an intimate view of the panorama of African wildlife, giving a sense of what it is really like to be there, and in a dramatic climax makes a poignant plea for ... See full summary »

Director: Robin Lehman

Votes: 16

44. Don't (1975)

19 min | Documentary, Short

A short documentary film following the life cycle of the monarch butterfly.

Director: Robin Lehman

Votes: 17

45. Princeton: A Search for Answers (1974)

30 min | Documentary, Short

A film portrait of teaching and learning at Princeton University. From black holes in space to the B Minor Mass. A film about teachers and students who care to ask the question "Why?"

Directors: Julian Krainin, DeWitt Sage | Stars: William G. Bowen, Edward Cone, Aaron Lemonick, Daniel Seltzer

Votes: 27

46. Deze kleine wereld (1972)

15 min | Documentary, Short

Documentary about antique mechanical toys.

Director: Charles Huguenot van der Linden

Votes: 15

47. Sentinels of Silence (1971)

G | 18 min | Documentary, Short

An 18-minute helicopter-based aerial visit across the archaeological ruins in Mexico.

Director: Robert Amram | Stars: Ricardo Montalban, Orson Welles

Votes: 83

48. Interviews with My Lai Veterans (1971)

22 min | Documentary, Short, War

Interviews with five former American soldiers who were present at the March 16, 1968 attack on the village of My Lai during the Vietnam War; they discuss the orders that were issued leading... See full summary »

Director: Joseph Strick | Star: Richard Hammer

Votes: 175

49. Czechoslovakia 1918-1968 (1969)

13 min | Documentary, Short, History

Short documentary about 50 years of history of Czechoslovakia, with archive images.

Directors: Robert M. Fresco, Denis Sanders | Stars: Leonid Brezhnev, Neville Chamberlain, Alexander Dubcek, Adolf Hitler

Votes: 137

50. Why Man Creates (1968)

29 min | Documentary, Animation, Short

Through several amusing live action and animated vignettes, Saul Bass illustrates a fundamental and essential particularity of human nature that keeps us alive and the world turning, ... See full summary »

Director: Saul Bass | Star: Paul Saltman

Votes: 468