‘The Last Repair Shop’ earns L.A. Times Studios a spot on Oscars shortlist for the first time

A young woman holds a violin and bow and cocks her head to her left
“The Last Repair Shop” focuses on a quartet of master craftspeople who fix damaged musical instruments for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
(L.A. Times Studios)

The Los Angeles Times has been shortlisted for an Academy Award for the first time.

By landing on the short list Thursday — among this year’s crop of awards-eligible productions — The Times’ short documentary “The Last Repair Shop” will move into the next round of Oscars voting ahead of the final nominations being announced on Jan. 24. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced shortlists in 10 categories for the 96th Academy Awards, including documentary feature film, international feature, animated feature, animated short, makeup and hairstyling, song, score, live-action short film and sound and visual effects.

VIDEO | 39:58
The Last Repair Shop

In a warehouse in the heart of Los Angeles, a dwindling handful of devoted craftspeople maintain more than 80,000 student musical instruments, the largest remaining workshop in America of its kind. Meet four unforgettable characters whose broken-and-repaired lives have been dedicated to bringing so much more than music to the schoolchildren of this city.

Co-directed by composer Kris Bowers and 2022 Oscar winner Ben Proudfoot, the L.A. Times Studios and Searchlight Pictures co-production focuses on a quartet of master craftspeople who repair damaged musical instruments, bringing them back to life for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District.


“‘The Last Repair Shop’ is a love letter to our city,” Bowers has said. “It’s a testament to understanding how broken something is — and fixing it anyway. And it’s a tribute to those who toil away, largely without thanks, in service of helping the next generation grow in harmony.”

Proudfoot won an Oscar for “The Queen of Basketball,” a short doc that focused on Olympian Lusia “Lucy” Harris, the first woman to be drafted by the NBA. He was nominated alongside Bowers for their 2020 short doc, “A Concerto Is a Conversation.”

Their latest short documentary, which debuted in November, also earned Critics Choice Assn. nominations for short documentary and score, winning the former last month.

“The Last Repair Shop” was among the 114 films that qualified in the category. The 14 other shortlisted films are “The ABCs of Book Banning,” “The Barber of Little Rock,” “Bear,” “Between Earth & Sky,” “Black Girls Play: The Story of Hand Games,” “Camp Courage,” “Deciding Vote,” “How We Get Free,” “If Dreams Were Lightning: Rural Healthcare Crisis,” “Island in Between,” “Last Song From Kabul,” “Nǎi Nai & Wài Pó,” “Oasis” and “Wings of Dust.”

The 96th Academy Awards ceremony is set to take place March 10 and will be hosted again by late-night star Jimmy Kimmel.