Oscar Shorts: Live Action


Sometimes, a short film can accomplish so much more than a full-length film. Given the truncated amount of time, it allows the filmmakers to expriment and explore what can be accomplished in such a short window. Have you ever watched a full-length film and felt that a good half-hour could have been cut? With short films, every single element is given importance, leaving no room for fluff, much like short stories.

Here’s our look at this year’s Osar nominations for Best Live Action Short Films.

Directors: Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane

Pentecost is about an altar boy chosen last-minute to help with a very important mass in his small 1977 Irish town. However, reluctance surrounds his performance as, just two weeks prior, he was “benched” for causing a priest to fall. An interesting duality is drawn between the young boy’s church duties and his interests in soccer, highlighted by a pre-game/mass lecture given by one of the priests. The short is shot with playful use of heavy shadows and chiaroscuro, giving the material an ironic, visual look. Pentecost proves that a lot can be accomplished in small doses. [65]Geoff Henao

Director: Max Zahle

Raju is about a german couple who travels to India in effort to adopt a young orphan named Raju. What starts off as a video pamphlet for adoption soon turns into a cautionary tale as Raju mysteriously disappears under the watch of his new father. While Calcutta serves as a wonderful backdrop to a film about culture shock and the notion of “providing a child from a third world country a better life”, it still doesn’t redeem heavy handed moments poor character decisions. Still, the kid is cute and it is a beautifully shot film. [55] — Andres Bolivar

The Shore
Director: Terry George and Oorlagh George

Returning to his native Ireland after 25 years, Joe reunites with all of the people from his past… except for his best friend, Paddy, and his former fiancee, Mary. Will a quarter-century of silence be enough to keep the three of them apart? The Shore is a highly-emotional film with dashes of humor used to lighten the otherwise heavy short film. The cinematography plays just an important role as the actors themselves, as the short is full of gorgeous wide-angle shots. While the tension between the three primary characters could have been higher, the acting is superb and fitting. I wouldn’t be surprised if The Shore ends up winning the Oscar. [70]Geoff Henao

Time Freak
Director: Andrew Bowler

Time Freak follows a neurotic genius who invents a time machine and becomes obsessed with constructing the perfect day, no matter the cost. Though riddled with cheesy after effects and over the top acting, it still manages to be a short but rapid narrative that is filled with charming and funny moments. Though I can’t whole heartedly classify this as a traditional short, it’s satisfying to see this “sketch of sorts” find some way to be nominated for an Oscar. [70] — Andres Bolivar

Tuba Atlantic
Director: Hallvar Witzo

Given six days to live, a 75 year-old Norwegian man, Oskar, simply wants to live the rest of his life at home killing a flock of seagulls that have tormented him. However, a young girl, calling herself the Angel of Death for the Jesus Club, insists on watching over him until he dies. The often whimsical short has funny scenes involving the extreme measures Oskar goes to in order to kill the seagulls surrounding his house. However, it’s anchored emotionally by his own mortality and a decades-long feud between him and his brother that relocated across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. Tuba Atlantic is a solid short film that shows a lighter side to death. [65]Geoff Henao