Oscars Predictions: Best Documentary Short – Netflix Could Dominate With Sophia Loren, ‘Latasha’ and ‘Speed Cubes’

Variety's Awards Circuit is home to the official predictions for the upcoming Oscars from Film Awards Editor Clayton Davis. Following Academy Awards history, buzz, news, reviews and sources, the Oscar predictions are updated regularly with the current year's contenders in all categories. Variety's Awards Circuit Prediction schedule consists of four phases, running all year long: Draft, Pre-Season, Regular Season and Post Season. Eligibility calendar and dates of awards will determine how long each phase lasts and will be displayed next to revision date.

To see all the latest predictions, of all the categories, in one place, visit THE COLLECTIVE



UPDATED: Feb. 25, 2021

AWARDS PREDICTION COMMENTARY: Netflix has three contenders, all of which have the goods to win the category. The prestige of “What Would Sophia Loren Do” will keep it in the conversation while the charms of “Speed Cubers” could get voters to rally behind it. Also, the importance and heartbreak of “A Love Song for Latasha” fits very well with this moment in history. With all of that said, Kris Bowers and Ben Proudfoot’s “A Concerto Is a Conversation” could benefit from “too many cooks in the kitchen” and rally support. If Netflix can’t manage all the contenders, watch out for “Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa” to come and secure a spot in the lineup.

Awards Circuit Winners Chart (2020-2021)
2021 Awards Season Calendar

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Courtesy of NETFLIX


  1. "A Concerto Is a Conversation" (Breakwater Studios)

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    PRODUCERS: Ben Proudfoot
    DIRECTOR: Kris Bowers, Ben Proudfoot
    SYNOPSIS: A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family's lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.

  2. "Hysterical Girl" (New York Times)

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    PRODUCERS: Kate Novack, Andrew Rossi
    DIRECTOR: Kate Novack
    SYNOPSIS: Sigmund Freud's sole case study of a female patient is re-examined from a modern feminist perspective.

  3. "A Love Song for Latasha" (Netflix)

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    PRODUCERS: Fam Rothstein, Janice Duncan
    DIRECTOR: Sophia Nahli Allison
    SYNOPSIS: The injustice surrounding the shooting death of 15-year-old Latasha Harlins at a South Central Los Angeles store became a flashpoint for the city’s 1992 civil uprising.
    WATCH TRAILER: Short is available on Netflix

  4. "The Speed Cubers" (Netflix)

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    PRODUCERS: Evan Krauss, Sue Kim, Chris Romano
    DIRECTOR: Sue Kim
    SYNOPSIS: Discover the special bond -- and uncommon competitive spirit -- shared by the world's Rubik's Cube-solving record breakers in this documentary.
    WATCH TRAILER: Short available on Netflix

  5. "What Would Sophia Loren Do?" (Netflix)

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    PRODUCERS: Nicole Galovski, Robin Honan, Ross Kauffman
    DIRECTOR: Ross Kauffman
    SYNOPSIS: An Italian-American grandmother and film buff finds strength and joy in the life of her screen idol, Sophia Loren.
    WATCH TRAILER: Short available on Netflix

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A still from Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa by Barbara Attie, Janet Goldwater and Mike Attie, an official selection of the Shorts Programs at the 2020 Sundance Film Festival.
Courtesy of Sundance Institute


  1. "Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa" (Topic)

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    PRODUCERS: Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, Janet Goldwater
    DIRECTOR: Barbara Attie, Mike Attie, Janet Goldwater
    SYNOPSIS: At the Philadelphia abortion helpline, counselors answer non-stop calls from women and teens who cannot afford access to reproductive health care in America.

  2. "Call Center Blues" (Topic)

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    PRODUCERS: Jessica Devaney
    DIRECTOR: Geeta Gandbhir
    SYNOPSIS: Call Center Blues is a lyrical portrait of an unlikely community of US deportees and their loved ones struggling to rebuild their lives in Tijuana, Mexico.

    Call Center Blues from Topic on Vimeo.

  3. "Colette" (Time Travel Unlimited)

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    PRODUCERS: Alice Doyard, Aaron Matthews, Annie Smalls
    DIRECTOR: Anthony Giacchino
    SYNOPSIS: Nazi occupied France. Resistance took courage. Seventy-five years later, Facing one's ghosts may take even more.

  4. "Hunger Ward" (MTV Documentary Films)

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    PRODUCERS: Michael Scheuerman, Skye Fitzgerald
    DIRECTOR: Skye Fitzgerald
    SYNOPSIS: Filmed from inside two of the most active therapeutic feeding centers in Yemen, HUNGER WARD documents two female health care workers fighting to thwart the spread of starvation against the backdrop of a forgotten war. The film provides an unflinching portrait of Dr. Aida Alsadeeq and Nurse Mekkia Mahdi as they try to save the lives of hunger-stricken children within a population on the brink of famine.

  5. "Do Not Split" (Field of Vision)

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    PRODUCERS: Charlotte Cook, Anders Hammer
    DIRECTOR: Anders Hammer
    SYNOPSIS: In 2019 Hong Kong was rocked by the largest protests since Britain handed back the area to China in 1997. This is the story of the protests, told through a series of demonstrations by local protesters that escalate into conflict when highly armed police appear on the scene.


The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. The most awarded films in Oscar history are “Ben-Hur,” “Titanic” and “The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King” at 11 statuettes. The most nominated films in Academy history are “All About Eve,” “Titanic” and “La La Land” at 14. “La La Land” is the only film of the three to have lost best picture. The biggest Oscar “losers,” meaning most nominated and walk away with zero awards, are 1977’s “The Turning Point” and 1985’s “The Color Purple” at 11 each.

Academy Awards Predictions (All Categories)

2021 Golden Globes Predictions (Film)

2021 SAG Awards Predictions (Film)

About the Academy Awards (Oscars)

The Academy Awards, better known as the Oscars, is Hollywood’s most prestigious artistic award in the film industry. Since 1927, nominees and winners are selected by members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). 17 branches are represented within the near 10,000 person membership. The branches are actors, associates, casting directors, cinematographers, costume designers, directors, documentary, executives, film editors, makeup and hairstylists, marketing and public relations, members-at-large, members-at-large (artists’ representatives), music, producers, production design, short films and feature animation, sound, visual effects and writers.

  • The Oscars are scheduled for Sunday, April 25, 2021.

About the Golden Globes

The Golden Globes Awards, hosted by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, is held annually with 93 members since 1944. The group recognizes excellence in film and television across drama and comedy or musical categories. Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land” holds the record for the most awards won by a single film with seven. Milos Forman’s “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” and Alan Parker’s “Midnight Express” are next in line with six each. Robert Altman’s “Nashville” has the record for most nominations received by a film with 11 while Colin Higgins’ “Foul Play,” Francis Ford Coppola’s “The Godfather Part III” and Mike Nichols’ “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” share the record for receiving the most nominations and not winning a single award at seven.

  • The Golden Globes are scheduled for Feb. 28, 2021.

About the SAG Awards

The Screen Actors Guild Awards, hosted by SAG-AFTRA, is an annual award show that has become one of the most important and key indicators for the Oscars. Four films have won the most SAG awards with three: 1999’s “American Beauty,” 2002’s “Chicago,” 2011’s “The Help” and 2017’s “Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri.” Three movies have been nominated for the most SAG awards with five: 1998’s “Shakespeare in Love,” “Chicago” and 2008’s “Doubt.”

  • The SAG Awards are scheduled to take place on Sunday, April 4, 2021

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