The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Ant-Man and the Wasp
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All Critics (11)
| Top Critics (6)
| Fresh (11)
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For film fans catching up with the nominees in cinemas or on-demand at home, the program makes for a downbeat but illuminating 2 1/2-hour marathon.
The strongest entry this year is Orlando von Einsiedel's British short The White Helmets.
Arresting, often impassioned and technically deft proof that a film doesn't have to drone on for an hour and a half to qualify as art.
Like the nominees in the feature-length best documentary category, the five films in this group demonstrate a commitment to both relevance and experimentation.
The documentaries tread typically heavy ground.
This year's short documentaries are not lighthearted, but tell vital human stories about resistance in the face of suffering.
I would give the Oscar in a three-way tie to the Syrian-themed nominees, which offer stunningly intimate observations on the ongoing humanitarian crisis.
I can't recall the last time the nominees for Best Documentary Short were so essential in terms of both the quality of the films and the importance of their subject matter.
All are about compassion in one way or another.
Misery and suffering know no national borders, but refugees from those conditions know all too well their demarcations. That is the message that comes through clearly in these five contenders.
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