2024 Oscars: Best Documentary Short Predictions

Nominations voting took place from January 11-16, 2024, with official Oscar nominations being announced January 23, 2024. Final voting is February 22-27, 2024. And finally, the 96th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 10 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT. We update predictions through awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2024 Oscar picks.

State of the Race

While there are positives and negatives to how much an eventual distributor affects a filmmaker’s chances of receiving an Oscar nomination, it is pretty great that the five nominees for Best Documentary Short this year are all close to being accessible to anyone with access to Disney+, Paramount+, and YouTube.

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“Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó” is the only one without a release date yet, with the Disney+ slate only saying that it will be on the platform in February 2024, yet it currently has the most buzz due to its director Sean Wang also premiering his breakout feature “Dìdi” at Sundance within days of the Oscar nominations being announced.

Filmmaker and composer Kris Bowers has similarly been on a roll, having done the music for current theatrical releases “Origin” and “The Color Purple” (the latter of which he was on the Best Original Score shortlist for). His film “The Last Repair Shop” is a Searchlight Pictures release that, from a filmmaking perspective, expands upon his 2021 Oscar-nominated short “A Concerto Is a Conversation,” meaning it conjures even more tears from viewers.

While the two aforementioned titles tug on the heartstrings, “The ABCs of Book Banning” and “Island in Between” take a more political angle. The former, a Paramount+ release, is partially notable for serving as the directorial debut of Sheila Nevins, the current head of MTV Documentary Films and an icon in the documentary world. The timely title also speaks for itself.

Lastly, “The Barber of Little Rock” got a big push prior to the Oscar shortlist announcement, with Dwayne Wade boarding as an executive producer, but the New Yorker short does need a second wind to become a more competitive nominee.

Nominees are listed below in order of likelihood they will win.

“The Last Repair Shop” 
“Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó”
“The ABCs of Book Banning”
“The Barber of Little Rock”
“Island in Between”

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