Oscar Shorts

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I just came back from getting a chance to see the Oscar nominated shorts in Live Action and Animated categories and I had a really good time with them.  I spent 3 and a half ours in my local Cinemark watching them, but I did not regret it.

 

The nominated films were… in animation…

Animated Short:

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

and in Live-Action…

Best Live Action Short Film:

“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton
“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

Let’s talk about them.

First, in animation, there were some really well done shorts that I really enjoyed.

“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, Kobe Bryant

This one was beautiful.  I loved the animated style of the basketball action and the poem, written by Kobe Bryant, was inspirational.  I am not even someone who liked Kobe Bryant (even a little bit), but I came to respect the effort he gave.  Grade :Solid A
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire, Gabriel Grapperon

This one was weird.  There are a bunch of frogs arriving at a house with a big backyard pool, where, as the short continues, becomes clear that something bad has happened here.  The ending of the short showed how dark this was.  I dug it.  Grade: B+
“Negative Space,” Max Porter, Ru Kuwahata

This one had some touching aspects to it as an adult son reflected back upon his relationship with his father and how he could only ever really connect with him when they were packing a bag for a trip.  A touching moment at the end that brought the whole short together.  Grade:  B
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh, Jan Lachauer

This was really good, but it has the advantage of adapting a work of Roald Dahl, who I really enjoy.  This was easily the longest of the shorts and tells a different story of Snow White, Red Riding Hood and the Wolf.  This one becomes pretty dark as well.  Great stuff here.  Grade: A

“Lou,” Dave Mullins, Dana Murray

Image result for lou pixarThis is the Pixar short that was at the beginning of Cars 3 and was easily the peak of that movie going experience.  This is so clever and entertaining, dealing with a bully on the playground and a creature from the Lost and Found.  The design of Lou the character is brilliant and the story is sweet and real.  Grade: A+

Among the animation, I believe that Pixar will win again.  I really did love the Roald Dahl short, but I do not expect it to win.  The only one that has a chance to defeat Pixar would Be Kobe Bryant’s love letter to the game of basketball.  I still say your winner is Lou.

 

LIVE-ACTION. 

The five films in live-action shorts were heavily based on true events.  I really enjoyed three of the these and the other two were fine, but not as engaging for me.

“Watu Wote/All of Us,” Katja Benrath, Tobias Rosen

This was my least favorite of the five live-action nominees.  It told the story of a 2015 bus attack in Kenya by a militant group.  The Muslims and Christians on the bus were able to overcome the situation through the power of their faith.  It would not surprise me if this one wins, but I found it to be the least engaging of the bunch.  Grade:  B-
“The Eleven O’Clock,” Derin Seale, Josh Lawson

This one was funny, but desperately predictable.  A psychiatrist arrives at his office to find a temp receptionist who did not know the procedures.  Then, his 11 o’clock shows up and he believes that he is actually the psychiatrist and not the patient.  Hilarity ensues.  It was well written and funny,but I knew what was going to happen almost immediately.  Grade B+
“My Nephew Emmett,” Kevin Wilson, Jr.

This was a powerful short dealing with a murder of a young black man in Mississippi in 1955.  The film is shown through the eyes of his uncle and it continues to show the brutality and the downright cruelty imposed upon the African-American population even a hundred years after slavery ended.  Very powerful and heartbreaking. Grade: A-
“The Silent Child,” Chris Overton, Rachel Shenton

A young British girl who is deaf struggles to learn until a wonderful aid comes to her rescue.  Unfortunately, the young girl’s mother does not want to accept the ideas or techniques of the aid.  Good performances here but I did not like the ending of this one.  Grade: B

Image result for dekalb Elementary short“DeKalb Elementary,” Reed Van Dyk

This was my personal favorite of the five and it was the first one they showed.  Based on a real 9-1-1 call, DaKalb Elementary tells the story of a gunman who comes into a school with the intentions of killing only to start questioning himself.  The man meets a lady in the office who treats him with compassion and humanity.  This film was really tense and I kept waiting for it to so sideways.  I was filled with anxiety throughout it.  Perhaps the current world of school shooting played on those fears, but this created emotions within me.   Grade: A+

 

Though I will be rooting for DeKalb Elementary, I think either Watu Woke or My Nephew Emmett will take the prize Sunday night.  I would guess that Silent Child has an outside chance while The Eleven O’clock is not winning, though it is a fun short.

 

This is the first year that I have seen all of the shorts and that is cool.  Oscars are Sunday night on ABC.

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