Entries in short films (131)
Eric here with a look at this year’s nominees for the Live Action Short category.
Considering the fantastic year we’ve had for cinema, it’s a bit disappointing that the nominees aren’t the equal of their longform cousins, or even as strong as last year’s nominees. But there’s some nice work.
Here's an overview of the pros and cons for each of the nominees...
If you've had a chance to catch the touring films in the Oscar nominated shorts program in select movie theaters now, we're willing to be that one of your favorites was the Hungarian short Sing written and directed by Kristóf Deák. This sweet well acted story is about a new girl in a children's choir whose teacher makes her feel less than welcome.
Sing, not to be confused with the current blockbuster cartoon about pop star wannabe talking animals, could well be a threat to win its category though competition is ever tough and unpredictable in the shorts categories. Kristóf has seen and enjoyed the "strong batch" competition, saying "I won't shed any tears if we don't take the statue home"
I had the opportunity to talk to the young director, currently in Los Angeles for the final push before Oscar, and though he doesn't know what's in store for his career, he's taiken the smart stance of "be ready with projects and pitches" should key opportunities arise. The London based Hungarian director got his first post film school movie gig in the large editing department of Steven Spielberg's Munich (2005) and now he's an Oscar nominee for his fourth short which has been picking up several prizes at festivals.
Our chat follows..
The annual joke is that the Best Documentary Short category is routinely the most depressing, miserable, down-right soul-crushing category of any given list of Oscar nominees. Often it is for very good reason: last year’s subjects included the Ebola plague, capital punishment, honor killings and the Holocaust. This years’ nominees are perhaps a little bit lighter if just for the slim offerings of a happy ending offered up by a few. Nevertheless, we’re going to rank them from least to most depressing because I just watched the movie about end-of-life termination and I need some levity.
With four of the nominees widely available online as well as through the Oscar Nominated Shorts packages currently in limited release and on iTunes, there’s no reason to not have seen them before Oscar night!
Confession: Despite The Film Experience's devout love of awards season, your host does not actually watch the BAFTAs. I gave up years ago when it was clear that they were never going to change their announce-the- winners and then tape-delay-broadcast-highlights-of-show. It's just not pure enough for my spiritual devotion to the holy act of passing out trophies. I can't stomach it.
The winners with commentary (and videos once they're available) follow...
The Annie Awards have been happening for 44 years but after some bumpy years in which their loyalties to specific studios were questions, they seemed to have worked things out and their profile is higher each year. Yesterday's even at the UCLA's Royce Hall was a big night for Disney which took 10 prizes. Zootopia continued its dominance by taking the top prize.
Though we should quickly note that Kubo and the Two Strings is still a possible spoiler at the Oscars and took home a few Annies itself. As Kris Tapley recently noted, there is momentum for finally honoring Laika who have never missed a nomination in the Animated Feature category but have yet to win it. While I am in the minority that thinks Kubo is the company's weakest film to date (it's gorgeous, don't misunderstand -- I just think both the episodic plot and the voice work is weaker than in their other films) they're also rapidly outdoing Pixar who have fallen into repetition and sequelizing.
The winners with commentary are after the jump...
...the running time of Wallace & Gromit's Oscar winning shorts A Close Shave (1995) and The Wrong Trousers (1993)
...the number of features directed by Steven Spielberg from Sugarland Express (1974) to The BFG (2016)
...the age of Bette Davis and Hilary Swank when they won their second Best Actress Oscars for Jezebel (1938) and Million Dollar Baby (2004) respectively
...the year of Best Picture winner All Quiet on the Western Front
... and the age at which you get all dressed up to be "terminated" in Logan's Run (1976). For the good of society!