The Best Documentary Short category isn’t exactly the most eagerly anticipated section of the Academy Awards traditionally. But as Louis C.K. pointed out before presenting the award at Sunday’s Oscars, the relatively obscure category has the potential to be life-changing in a way other categories are not. “This is easily my favorite subject,” he said. “These people, this is documentary short film. … You cannot make a dime on this … So this Oscar means something, because all they do is tell stories that are important.”
That last part proved true again when Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, whose A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness follows the survivor of a honor killing in Pakistan, was announced as the Oscar winner. “This week the Pakistani prime minister has said that he will change the law on honor killing after this watching this film,” said Obaid-Chinoy. “That is the power of film.”
C.K.’s presentation was simultaneously earnest and tongue in cheek. “These people, all they got is this Oscar is going home in a Honda Civic,” he joked of the category’s nominees. “This Oscar is going to be the nicest thing they ever own in their life. It’s going to give them anxiety to keep it in their crappy apartment.”
Well, it’ll actually be the second nicest thing Obaid-Chinoy owns: She already won a statue in 2012 for another documentary short, Saving Face.