Best Short Documentary Speeches at the Oscars: 4 Best of All Time [WATCH]
When the initial announcement was made that eight categories would be pre-taped and then edited into the 2022 Oscars broadcast, we all knew that the short film categories – Best Documentary Short, Best Live Action Short and Best Motion Picture Short animation – would be the first on the Billot. Although these projects are the least viewed of all the Oscar nominees, the categories have given us some amazing moments over the years. So, rather than wallowing in our sadness at not seeing them distributed live, let’s take a look back at five of the best speeches from former Best Documentary Short winners. Hopefully the academy soon realizes that short categories are something special and should be left out.
As a reminder, the five nominees for the best documentary short film at the Oscars 2022 are: “Audible” (Matt Ogens and Geoff McLean), “Drive me home” (Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk), “The Queen of Basketball” (Ben Proudfoot), “Three songs for Benazir” (Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei) and “When we were bullies” (Jay Rosenblatt).
TO SEE Oscars 2022 nominations: Full list of nominees in all 23 categories
One of the most emotional moments of the Oscars arrived in this category in 1995. “One Survivor Remembers” won the award and Kary Antholis brought the subject of the film, Gerda Weissmann Klein, on stage with him. After saying his remarks, Klein approached the microphone. The Holocaust survivor spoke of her experience: “Where winning meant a crust of bread and living another day.” She then paid tribute to the millions “who never lived to see the magic of a boring evening at home” and that the best way to honor their memory was “to realize that each of you who knows the joy of freedom is a winner”.
The following year brought another iconic moment when Jessica You won for “Breathing Lessons: The Life and Work of Mark O’Brien” (1996). After receiving her trophy, she joked, “You know you’ve entered new territory when you realize your outfit costs more than your movie.”
2009 saw one of the most bizarre cases in Oscar history in the category. When “Music by Prudence” won, the film’s director, Roger Ross Williams, took the stage and began to deliver his acceptance speech. While he was talking, Elinor Burkitt fired a Kanye West move and started talking over Williams saying, “Don’t you like that the man never let the woman talk.” She then gave her own speech. Burkitt had served as the film’s producer but parted ways with the project due to creative differences with Williams.
Louis CK provided stunning comments when presenting the award in 2015, lovingly saying, “These people will never be rich in their lifetime, so this Oscar means something” and “This Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic,” plus, “It’ll give them anxiety to keep him in their shitty apartment.” He was right when “A Girl in the River” won and the director, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoysaid on stage that the Prime Minister of Pakistan would change honor killing laws after watching the film and that was the power of the film.
In 2018, this category delivered again when the prize was claimed by “Period. End of sentence. Rayka Zehtabchi began her remarks by noting, “I’m not crying because I’m on my period or anything. I can’t believe a movie about menstruation just won an Oscar. This part made the audience laugh, but that was the end of by Melissa Burton speech that had the greatest impact, “A period should end a sentence, not a girl’s education.”
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