The 10 Documentary Shorts on the 2021 Oscar Shortlist and Where to Watch Them

All ten of this year's ten semi-finalists are available to watch online now!

Oscars Short Documentary Shortlist 2021

One of these documentary shorts will be taking home an Academy Award this year. Well, specifically the director and a producer will be receiving the physical award for the honor. And for the most part, the group of shortlisted contenders is comprised of relative unknowns in the field or at least non-nominees. There is one Best Documentary Feature winner in the bunch, however, and one director who was nominated recently in this category.

I’ve seen a few of these and even wrote about one of the shorts last year. The rest I’m catching up with, and fortunately, nine of the ten are available to stream free online or with a Netflix subscription right now. Check them out via our guide below, and try to guess which five will make the next round of Academy favor when the Oscar nominees are announced on March 15th.

Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa

Produced and directed by Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, and Janet Goldwater

What it’s about: Counselors at an abortion helpline in Philadelphia
Oscar-qualifying festival wins: AFI Docs, Florida
Length: 13 minutes

Stream the film now via Topic on YouTube below.

Call Center Blues

Directed by two-time Emmy Award-winning editor Geeta Gandbhir (When the Levees Broke)

What it’s about: A community of US deportees rebuilding their lives in Tijuana.
Length: 25 minutes

Stream the film now via Topic on Vimeo.


Written and directed by Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Anthony Giacchino (Great Moments from the Campaign Trail)

What it’s about: The titular Colette Marin-Catherine, a 90-year-old veteran of the French Resistance who fought the Nazis during World War II.
Oscar-qualifying festival wins: Big Sky, Palm Springs, St. Louis
Length: 24 minutes

Stream the film now via The Guardian.

A Concerto Is a Conversation

Directed by Ben Proudfoot and two-time Emmy-nominated composer Kris Bowers (When They See Us, Mrs. America)
Executive produced by Oscar-nominee Ava DuVernay (13th)

What it’s about: Kris Bowers looks back on his heritage from his 91-year-old grandfather through to his own success as a musician and composer.
Length: 13 minutes

Stream the film now via the New York Times‘ Op-Docs on YouTube below.

Do Not Split

Directed and shot by Anders Hammer
Produced by Hammer and Charlotte Cook (Hale County This Morning, This Evening)

What it’s about: The 2019 Hong Kong protests over the Fugitive Offenders amendment bill.
Length: 35 minutes

Stream the film now via Field of Vision on YouTube.

Hunger Ward

Directed by Oscar-nominee Skye Fitzgerald (Lifeboat)

What it’s about: Healthcare workers at a therapeutic feeding center in Yemen.
Other major awards consideration: Critics Choice Documentary Awards
Length: 40 minutes

Screen the film via virtual festivals or watch on Pluto TV’s Documentary Channel.

Hysterical Girl

Written and directed by Kate Novack (The Gospel According to André)
Produced by Novack and Andrew Rossi (Page One: Inside the New York Times)

What it’s about: A feminist reexamination of a famous Sigmund Freud case study.
Length: 13 minutes

Read Nonfics’ Review

Stream the film now via the New York Times’ Op-Docs below.

A Love Song for Latasha

Directed, shot, and edited by Sophia Nahli Allison

What it’s about: The shooting death of fifteen-year-old Latasha Harlins in South Central Los Angeles in 1992.
Oscar-qualifying festival wins: New Orleans
Other major awards consideration: Cinema Eye Honors, IDA Awards
Length: 18 minutes

Stream the film now on Netflix.

The Speed Cubers

Directed by Sue Kim

What’s it about: The world’s best/fastest Rubik’s Cube solvers.
Other major awards consideration: Critics Choice Documentary Awards
Length: 39 minutes

Stream the film now on Netflix.

What Would Sophia Loren Do?

Directed and shot by Oscar-winner Ross Kauffman (Born Into Brothels)
Produced by Kauffman, Oscar-nominee Robin Honan (Mondays at Racine), and Nicole Galovski

What’s it about: A fan of acting legend Sophia Loren.
Length: 32 minutes

Stream the film now on Netflix.

(Editor in Chief)

Christopher Campbell is the founding editor of Nonfics.