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Oscar 2012: Best Documentary Short Subject Semi-Finalists

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Lucy Walker
Lucy Walker’s The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom

Lucy Walker’s The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Rebecca Cammisa’s God Is the Bigger Elvis, and Jon Alpert and Matthew O’Neill’s In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution are among eight films still in the running for the 2012 Academy Award for Best Documentary Short Subject. Five of those shorts will earn Oscar nominations.

The semi-finalists were selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Documentary Branch. Thirty-five entries were originally submitted.

Unfortunately, there isn’t much information out there about several of the current contenders, but at least some of the shorts — inevitably — revolve around recent international events, e.g., In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution; The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, about how some in Japan use art and the national flower to recover from the devastating earthquake and tsunami earlier this year; and James Spione’s Tribeca Film Festival winner Incident in New Baghdad, in which a U.S. serviceman recounts his experiences after an American attack left a group of mostly unarmed men — including two Reuters journalists — dead.

Several of the potential nominees have had ties to the Academy in the past. For instance, Lucy Walker was nominated for the Documentary Feature Waste Land earlier this year; Rebecca Cammisa was nominated for Which Way Home early in 2010; and James Spione won a Student Academy Award back in 1987.

The eight Oscar 2012 semi-finalists for Best Documentary Short Subject are listed below in alphabetical order by title, along with their production company.

  • The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement, Purposeful Productions, Inc.
  • God Is the Bigger Elvis, Documentress Films
  • In Tahrir Square: 18 Days of Egypt’s Unfinished Revolution, Downtown Docs
  • Incident in New Baghdad, Morninglight Films
  • Pipe Dreams, Leslie Iwerks Productions
  • Saving Face, Milkhaus/Jungefilm
  • The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, Supply & Demand Integrated
  • Witness, Buche

The 2012 Academy Award nominations will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills.

The Academy Awards ceremony will take place on Sunday, February 26, 2012, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. In the United States, the telecast will be broadcast live on ABC. The Oscarcast will also be televised live in more than 200 countries worldwide.

Photo via thetsunamiandthecherryblossom.com.

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