The Oscars are right around the corner, this Sunday night. If you’re like most of the movie-going public, you are probably ready to watch – for better or worse – what many consider the year’s biggest night for Movies. And while many sit patiently through the many technical awards that are given out during the show awaiting the “bigger” prizes, there are three categories that are usually cause to go to the bathroom, grab something out of the fridge, or just nod off entirely: The Short Film categories.
The main reason for this in the past is that the nominated Short Films (in Animated, Live Action and Documentary categories) are largely inaccessible to the majority of the movie-loving public. Things have changed though, in a big way over the years. Many films can be found online just by searching for them, and sites like Shorts.TV have really been integral in bringing these short films to the masses. In recent years, several theaters around the country have also hosted popular and successful screening nights, grouping the nominated Live Action and Animated Shorts together as one event, and keeping the nominated Documentary Shorts as a separate attraction (mostly this is due to length, as the Live Action and Animated Shorts typically end up being around 3 hours in length, while the same is true of just the Documentary Shorts alone).
The biggest secret each year about the Academy Awards is that these Short Films are actually quite amazing and whole-heartedly deserving of recognition and exposure. Most people might catch nominated Pixar Short Films, as short animated films have become standard in front of their feature-length efforts. But there are several others that rarely see the light of day, and the Short Film genre continues to get largely over-looked by the general public.
But guess what? There is good news! This year’s nominees can be found on VOD and now currently on iTunes. So you can see for yourself what all the hype is about and make sure you are fully prepared for your Oscar Pool picks.
Truth is, the Short Film genre is a serious vehicle towards success in Hollywood, and several budding filmmakers take the ride. Recent Best Picture nominee “Whiplash” was first a short film before being sold as a feature, and several “first-time directors” of feature-length movies often are given that chance based on Short Films they have created. Short films can be produced on smaller budgets generally and can focus on one idea or event, and this helps with their appeal. If you want a glimpse as to who the major players might one day be in Hollywood, look no further than those filmmakers currently making Short Films.
That brings us to this year’s list of nominees in the three Short Film Categories. Below are the nominees, my personal take on them, and then finally, who you can count on to win in each category. Like every other category, there are often huge upsets within the Short Film categories, but feel confident in what you are about to read:
- Bear Story
- Sanjay’s Super Team
- We Can’t Live without Cosmos
- World of Tomorrow
Best Bet to Win: Bear Story Who I Think Should Win: Bear Story. There is serious buzz around Pixar’s latest entry, Sanjay’s Super Team, but that’s mainly because it’s from Pixar. Once Academy voters get through all five entries, they may find that that entry may be towards the bottom of the list (all five entries were strong, just some clearly better than others). Bear Story is the one that is gaining more momentum heading into the show on Sunday…it is by far the most touching and emotional of the nominees, and is matched with arguably the most impressive animation style (although Prologue‘s hand-drawn frames may have something to say about that). World of Tomorrow definitely has a chance to upset, with its intellectual message matching its simplistic style. While We Can’t Live without the Cosmos is strong, but nowhere near the top of this category.
- Ave Maria
- Day One
- Everything Will Be Okay (Alles Wird Gut)
Best Bet to Win: Shok Who I Think Should Win: Day One. This will be a closely contested category with no real front-runner. Shok (Albanian word for “friend”) is an incredibly powerful story of two boys who learn a horrific lesson on the streets of Kosovo. Matching the impact of Shok though, is Day One, which tells the story of a female interpreter’s first day on the job inside Afghanistan. Everything Will Be Okay was a tragically powerful film itself, but probably not as tight of an overall production as the other two. And while Stutterer may surprise, the real upset threat here is Ave Maria…it was my least favorite of the bunch, but pretty much the only entry of all of this year’s short films (across all categories) that provided a bit of levity. For that reason, it may stand out from the crowd.
- Body Team 12
- Chau, beyond the Lines
- Claude Lanzmann: Spectres of the Shoah
- A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness
- Last Day of Freedom
Best Bet to Win: Body Team 12 Who I Think Should Win: A Girl in the River. The Ebola response team depicted in Body Team 12 may be the stand-out to win, but all of these nominees were devastating in different ways.
Remember to watch the Oscars this Sunday night, and now you should be well-equipped to win your Oscar Pool!