Oscar Image
Oscar Image


Oscar winning short docs are usually American and over 30 mins. Here are four of the best winners and shorter nominees from the last few years.

Saving Face

Saving Face by Junge & Obaid-Chinoy (2012) (USA/Pak) (40m)

Saving Face by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy won the Academy Award for Best Short Documentary in 2012. It explores the many acid attacks in Pakistan, where each year hundreds of people - mostly women - have acid thrown in their face. Saving Face follows the story of several of these survivors, their fight for justice, and a Pakistani plastic surgeon who has returned to help them restore their faces and their lives. Get ready to cry!

Warriors of Qiugang

The Warriors of Qiugang by Ruby Yang (2010) (China) (40m)

Ruby Yang had already been nominated with her short documentary, The Blood Of Yingzhou District, which looked at the ostracized AIDS orphans in China. In The Warriors Of Quigang she follows a group of villagers in rural China as they take on a chemical company that is poisoning their land and water. As they fight to transform their environment, they find themselves transformed as well. Yang explores how the new China conflicts with the old.

Smile Pinki by Megan Mylan (2009) (USA/India) (40m)

Smile Pinki won the Academy Award for Best Documentary, Short Subject in 2009. Pinki is a five-year-old girl with a cleft lip who lives in a poor Indian village. Ostracized because of her birth defect, Pinki is desperate to have corrective surgery but her parents cannot afford it. A social worker arrives one day who holds out the promise of free surgery through The Smile Train program. The surgeon, Dr Singh, and Pinki herself attended the 81st Oscars night with the filmmakers. Sometimes people do good things...

Smile Pinki

Salim Baba

Salim Baba by Tim Sternberg (2008) (USA/India) (15m)

Salim Muhammad is a 55-year-old father of five from Calcutta, India. Since the age of ten he has made a living using a manually turned projector to screen discarded film for the kids in his neighborhood. It is a little reminiscent of the much loved feature from Italy, Cinema Paradiso, and Salim Baba, unusually short for an Oscar nominee, was short-listed in 2008. Its director, Tim Sternberg, went on to make the feature film Ivory, but this was less successful.

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