Golden Rule: The Documentary Shorts

Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re diving into as many of the nominated films as possible to look at what their chances are for taking home the Oscar. Today we’re looking at all five films in the Best Documentary Short category; Edith + Eddie, Heroin(e), Knife Skills, Traffic Stop, and Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405.

Edith + Eddie is a short documentary about America’s oldest interracial newlyweds. Their life is threatened to be torn apart when one of Edith’s daughters attempts to take Edith out of their home in Virginia to live with her in Florida. It’s a heart-wrenching film that will tear you apart by the end.

Heroine(e), documents the opioid epidemic and its effects on the city of Huntington, West Virginia. The film focuses on the work being done by Fire Chief Jan Radar, Judge Patricia Keller, and Necia Freeman who is part of the Brown Bag Ministry. Freeman delivers food and hygiene products to women who have fallen into prostitution to support their addictions. The film also examines the use of naloxone, which is used to treat overdose victims.

Knife Skills, centers on the launch of the French restaurant EDWINS in Cleveland, OH. The restaurant, which is also home to a culinary school, employs formerly incarcerated people. The film documents the first class from the culinary school as they go through classes and open the restaurant.

Traffic Stop examines the traffic stop and arrest of Breaion King, a 26-year-old teacher. Video of the arrest went viral due to the arresting officer’s violent treatment of King.

Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405, is a portrait of artist Mindy Alper who is plagued by anxiety, depression, and other mental disorders. The film shows how Alper channels her issues into her work, creating beautiful pieces of art which have been featured in multiple Los Angeles galleries.

This is always a hard category as many Academy members will vote blindly and/or based on word of mouth. That being said, the three films getting the most traction are also the best. Edith + Eddie, Heroin(e), and Heaven have all gotten slight bumps in the race. As of now, Edith + Eddie may be the frontrunner as the film gained some extra boost from Cher coming on as an Executive Producer to help get the film a wider release. Cher also helped pay off some of Edith’s medical bills.

Each of these films are important and entertaining, and at their core, those are two of the most important elements here. The biggest point though may be which film sticks with the audience after the credits roll. Honestly, that may be Edith + Eddie. That film is ridiculously heartbreaking and there is no happy ending. Elements of the other films that will tug at your heartstrings, but each ends with a slight glimmer of hope. Edith + Eddie doesn’t. The only hope left when the film is over is for what we can do to change circumstances like the one presented in the film. That stays with you. And for that, Edith + Eddie deserves the Oscar.

Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of our Oscar coverage. The Oscars air on ABC on March 4th at 8pm ET.

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