Can we already be at this point? It may be in one of the least-heralded categories, but the Oscar shortlisting process has officially begun: this morning, the Academy announced a shortlist of eight semi-finalists for the Best Documentary Short award, drawn from 31 eligible entries. That'll be it for this particular race, of course, until the five nominees are revealed with all the rest on January 10 -- while a feature doc shortlist will be announced later this month.. So, here's its brief moment with the spotlight to itself.

The shortlisted titles include: "Mondays at Racine," a look at a Long Island hair salon that caters to cancer patients; "The Education of Mohammad Hussein," about an American Muslim community's struggle with an anti-Islamic priest; "Inocente," a study of a teenaged artist who has been homeless for six years; "Kings Point," about a Florida retirement community; "Open Heart," about Rwandan children undergoing high-risk surgery in Sudan; "Paraiso," about immigrant Mexican window-washers in Chicago; and "The Perfect Fit," a silent portrait of five women colliding in a vintage clothing store. 

The nominees? Your guess is as good is mine, though it's worth noting that "Paraiso" won the Best Documentary Short award at the Tribeca Film Festival back in the spring, while "Mondays at Racine" and "The Perfect Fit" also have festival honors to their name. Beyond that, throw five darts.  

The full list:

"The Education of Mohammad Hussein," Loki Films

"Inocente," Shine Global, Inc.

"Kings Point," Kings Point Documentary, Inc.

"Mondays at Racine," Cynthia Wade Productions

"Open Heart," Urban Landscapes Inc.

"ParaÍso," The Strangebird Company

"The Perfect Fit," SDI Productions Ltd.

"Redemption," Downtown Docs