I Watch “Shorts!” Shorts

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For this year’s Oscars, I’m going to wow the pants off my film-snob friends with my knowledge in the too-often-ignored Shorts categories. How, pray tell, do I plan to pull this off? Easy-peasy! I’m going to attend “Shorts!”—a screening of all ten of the Oscar-nominated short films in the Animated and Live Action categories. Screenings are taking place in:

  • New York City— Saturday, February 17th at the Academy Theater at Lighthouse International (and also at the IFC Theater)
  • Los Angeles—Tuesday, February 20th at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater
  • Washington, DC—February 21–25th at the William G. McGowan Theater (where they’ll also screen all the nominees for Documentary Feature and Documentary Short)

Here’s a cheat sheet on the Shorts nominees. The five films nominated in the Animated Shorts category include:

  • Director Torill Kove’s The Danish Poet, a fourteen-minute entry from Norway and Canada, narrated by the great Liv Ullman
  • Gary Rydstrom’s Lifted, a five-minute American sci-fi entry with the tagline, “Failure is an option”
  • Roger Allers’ The Little Matchgirl, based on the Hans Christian Andersen tale of a poor girl who burns the matches she sells to stay warm, while she dreams of a better life
  • Geza M. Toth’s Maestro, a five-minute Hungarian short about a maestro preparing for his performance
  • Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmeier’s No Time for Nuts, a five-minute film featuring Scrat, the annoying, little rodent from Ice Age, a time machine, and his usual acorn-chasing shtick

The Live Action Short Film nominees include:

  • Director Javier Fesser’s Binta and the Great Idea, a thirty-minute entry from Spain that tells the story of Binta, a Senegalese girl, and her life in the village
  • Borja Cobeaga’s Eramos Pocos, a sixteen-minute Spanish comedy about a man who brings his mother-in-law home to take care of him and his son after his wife leaves them
  • Soren Pilmark’s Helmer & Son, a thirteen-minute drama from Denmark
  • Peter Templeman’s The Saviour, a seventeen-minute short from Australia about a church leader dealing with the breakup of his relationship with a married woman
  • Ari Sandel’s West Bank Story, an American musical comedy about young love among rival falafel stands on the West Bank

For bonus points, I may even take in the nominees for Best Documentary Feature that are currently, conveniently available on DVD. These include:

  • Davis Guggenheim’s An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore’s cautionary tale on global warming
  • Heidi Ewing’s Jesus Camp, which is about exactly what it sounds like
  • Laura Poitras’ My Country, My Country, which follows a Sunni doctor as he runs for political office during the 2005 Iraq elections

The two nominated documentary features that haven’t made it to DVD yet:

  • Amy Berg’s Deliver Us from Evil, that tells the story of a Northern Californian pedophile priest who was protected by the church for over thirty years
  • James Longley’s Iraq in Fragments, which depicts the lives of various Iraqi civilians

As you can see, I’ve got a lot of catching up to do before the 79th Academy Awards are telecast on February 25th. Maybe I’m just a cinephile wannabe—but I’m pretty darn proud of that!



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