The Times Wins Its First Oscar


The Op-Doc “The Queen of Basketball” won the 2022 Academy Award in the Documentary Short Subject category. This is the first win for The Times and for Op-Docs, which launched in 2011. Op-Docs, which is part of The Times’s Opinion Video department, has previously been nominated for four other Academy Awards.

“The Queen of Basketball” tells the story of Lusia “Lucy” Harris Stewart, one of women’s basketball’s most accomplished players, who died in January 2022. She was a pioneer in the sport, scoring the first basket in women’s Olympic history and becoming the first and only woman officially drafted by the NBA And while she was one of the first two women inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, she has remained largely unknown, even among basketball enthusiasts.

The documentary, directed by Ben Proudfoot and executive produced by Shaquille O’Neal and Stephen Curry, is part of the Op-Docs series “Almost Famous,” a collection of short films featuring people who nearly made history — and were happy anyway. The Times’s Op-Docs team developed, commissioned and debuted the film. Lindsay Crouse, a co-executive producer for Op-Docs, conceived the series. Regina Sobel and Andrew Blackwell were the supervising editors and Yvonne Ashley Kouadjo was the associate producer. Christine Kecher, senior commissioning editor for Op-Docs, led the campaign. Adam Ellick, who leads Op-Docs and Opinion Video, was the film’s executive producer.

“What an incredible tribute to the tireless work of our Op-Docs and Opinion Video teams,” said Kathleen Kingsbury, Opinion editor. “This Oscar win recognizes The Times’s ambition and vision for what we are capable of across mediums. More than a decade of investment in video and relationship building in the field has led us to today, and I’m so proud to work with people who produced this innovative, visionary and high quality work.”

“Lucy Harris dominated her sport during an era when female athletes lacked notoriety, and a viable platform to succeed at the professional level,” Adam said. “That’s why this story showcasing one of greatest college athletes of all time remains so tragically unknown. Yet, Lucy helped pave the way for the stars of today’s WNBA Our Op-Doc team is so proud to have developed and commissioned this film with the incredibly talented filmmaker Ben Proudfoot. His work not only memorializes Lucy’s legacy, but it will also inspire future generations of female athletes.”

“The Queen of Basketball” premiered at the 2021 Tribeca Film Festival and won Best Documentary Short at the 2021 Palm Springs International ShortFest. It also won Best Documentary Short at the 2021 Critics Choice Documentary Awards. This is the third year in a row Op-Docs received an Oscar nomination: Proudfoot was nominated in 2021 for “A Concerto is a Conversation,” and Laura Nix’s “Walk Run Cha-Cha” was nominated in 2020.

Op-Docs is The Times’s Emmy-winning short documentary film series. Curated from works by both renowned and emerging filmmakers, the collection of more than 350 short films has sparked global conversations, influenced national policies and garnered an array of industry distinctions, including Emmy Awards, Peabody Awards and Oscar nominations. All Op-Docs can be seen at nytimes.com/OpDocs.

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