I was pleased as punch that I was able to see all of the Oscar-nominated shorts, both live-action and animated, at a local theater and so there was no need to haul my substantial ass downtown to see the same program with a rabble of overly loud hipsters. I urge all of you to do the same, if you can. I do miss the two or three years when the nominated shorts were available on iTunes, and I could watch them in the comfort of my own home… behind locked doors… with dangerous snacks… like a good Amuric’n.
NOTE: These terrific short films will be available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+, though not until the Oscar ceremony has packed up its tent and rolled away—for all the good THAT does in helping you win the office Oscars Contest.
I do not remember last year’s nominees… so they’re right?
The ten nominated shorts this year are all superior examples of the short film format. I have been known to bore the shit out of fellow cinéastes by 1) using douche-nozzle words like “cinéaste” and 2) going on and on about how the short film is tricky: the filmmaker needs just the right ratio of content to screen time. How much of each? I have sat through many short films in my life that were features crushed and condensed down to fifteen minutes. I have also witnessed short films that are merely a short joke; the film ends on a punchline but offers little else. How does a filmmaker find a happy medium? Well, it’s possible because all of this year’s shorts find their sweet spot; none of them seem stretched or folded to meet the “two reel” barrier.
I am not suggesting that these are not fit subjects for animated films. Memorable, for example, does a magnificent job of communicating what it’s like when a loved one starts to fade. The film is beautiful and sad, and the filmmakers embrace the way animation art can be used to enhance the film’s themes, images, and characterizations. I’m just wondering how “beautiful and sad” came to be a criterion for getting your cartoon nominated for an Oscar. Apparently, it’s not enough to tell a story or master animation anymore, one also needs to address BIG IMPORTANT THEMES.
CODICIL TO MY QUIBBLE: During the credit sequences of many of the shorts in both programs, Curator ShortsTV has included video footage of the filmmakers watching the live announcement of their nominations. It’s fun and delightful!
ANIMATED SHORT NOMINEES: Daughter, Hair Love, Kitbull, Memorable, and Sister
LIVE ACTION SHORT NOMINEES: Brotherhood, My Neighbor’s Window, NEFTA Football Club, Saria, and A Sister.