Eric Blume reporting for duty. We hadn't yet reviewed the short film Oscar nominees so I binged all 15 of this week. Many minds and bladders wander away from the Oscar telecast during these three categories. Even those of us who claim we’ve “seen everything” have rarely seen all of the entries in the three shorts fields. But pay attention because these winners can bring some of the best moments of the show: remember the 1991 show when producer Debra Chasnoff won for Documentary Short Subject for the General Electric expose Deadly Deception? She got to the podium and said “boycott GE!” with a cut to Barbra Streisand smiling and clapping with Kevin Costner right behind her decidedly smiling and not clapping. We Oscar lovers live for moments like this.
There’s a lot of quality among the three categories this year. Here’s a quick overview as well as thoughts on who might prevail and why on two of the categories.
Documentary Short Subject
Body Team 12 follows the only female Liberian Red Cross member of a team which comes to remove dead bodies during the Ebola outbreak. It’s the shortest of the five nominees at only 13 minutes, and therefore it doesn’t have a strong driving narrative, nor does it culminate in a larger meaning. It simply follows the team while they gear up and remove the bodies, interspersed with an interview from its main subject. It’s focused and lovely in its simplicity, but it suffers from its brevity.
Pro: Ebola. Con: Uncomplicated.
A Girl in the River: The Price of Forgiveness follows Saba, a Pakastani girl who is shot and left for dead by her father and uncle in an “honor killing” once she marries the young man she loves. It’d be hard for anyone with a feminist bone or beating heart in them to not get riled up by this story, and it’s told with restraint and intelligence.
Pro: Angry. Con: Angry.
Eight more shorts after the jump