Eight short films vie for documentary Oscar

Thu Oct 9, 2008 1:21am EDT
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By Gregg Kilday

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - The assassination of Martin Luther King, Cesar Chavez's grape boycott, gay men in China and historian David McCullough are among the subjects of the films vying for Oscar nominations for best documentary short subject.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Wednesday released a shortlist of eight titles, culled from 31 submissions. Three to five of them will be named when nominees in all the categories are announced January 22.

The films making the cut are:

- "The Conscience of Nhem En," directed by Steven Okazaki, a study of Cambodia 30 years after the reign of the Khmer Rouge. Okazaki won in the category for 1990's "Days of Waiting."

- "David McCullough: Painting With Words," by Mark Herzog, an HBO documentary offering a portrait of the historian who wrote "John Adams," the basis for HBO's Emmy-winning miniseries.

- "Downstream," by Leslie Iwerks, a nominee for 2006's "Recycled Life," that looks at Canada's oil sands industry and its effects on aboriginal natives.

- "The Final Inch," Irene Taylor Brodsky's account of efforts to eradicate polio.

- "Smile Pinki," Megan Mylan's portrait of a young girl in India who is treated for a cleft lip.   Continued...