Today, I got to see the ten Oscar-nominated shorts, five live-action and five animated (no documentary shorts though). It is always a fun day at the movies with the shorts.
I am going to give my thoughts on each of the shorts, place them in my favorite order, and tell you which one I think actually WILL win.
LIVE ACTION SHORTS
5. Night Ride. Ebba (Sigrid Husjord) was waiting for a tram to take her home one cold winter night. However, the driver wanted a break and would not let her into the tram unless he was there. So Ebba decided to take matters into her own hands and ends up, unintentionally at first, stealing the tram. This had some funny moments and had some things to say about harassment. However, I found this to be fairly mild of a short.
4. Ivalu. A young girl named Ivalu runs away from her family and her sister Pipaluk tries to find her. Pipaluk follows a raven across some of the most scenic landscapes that you’ll ever see. This short turned very dark as the film went on, but that did not take away from the epic cinematography that was on display here. Some of the reveal felt a little forced, but it was a powerful end.
3. The Red Suitcase. An Iranian woman arrived on an airplane in Luxemburg with her soon-to-be husband waiting for her. Except, of course, she was being gifted to him as a wife and arranged for marriage. She wanted no part of this and she does what she can to avoid the man waiting for her. There were some great tense moments in this film and Nawelle Ewad gives an excellent performance as the 16-year old girl in search of freedom.
2. Le Pupille. From Disney, Le Pupille (or The Pupil, in English) is about a group of young girls in a Catholic boarding house, run by strict Nuns. The short was excellent and very creative, with the girls adding songs, narrative transition and a fun and creative story. It is funny and I really liked it. This was the fourth film I saw and, while I liked the other three, this was the first one that I thought was extraordinary.
And number one…
An Irish Goodbye.
Brothers Turlough and Lorcan return to their childhood farm in Ireland with their recently deceased and cremated mother. Lorcan had Down’s Syndrome and Turlough did not believe that he could handle living on the farm on his own. When Lorcan got his hands on their mother’s last bucket list, the brothers went about trying to fulfill their mother’s wishes after she had died. This was very funny, surprisingly touching and filled with feel good moments. The brothers had sensational chemistry between them and watching them work together to complete their mother’s list was very profound.
Should win: An Irish Goodbye
Will Win: Le Pupille
I think the Disney name will pull out the victory on this, but I will be cheering for An Irish Goodbye. There should not be any other possible winners as these two shorts far exceeded anything else that had been nominated this year.
5. Ice Merchants. This one was my least favorite of all the shorts I saw today, animated or live-action. It made little sense to me and I did not enjoy the story. It was lovely to look at though. The end was anticlimatic.
4. The Flying Sailor. A true story. When we first see that label, you dismiss it because it is so impossible, but finding out that it actually was true, that a sailor was stuck in an explosion that sent him flying in the air for 2 miles and that he lived to tell about it, made this all the more amazing.
3. An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It. This Australian stop-motion animated film was bizarre and kind of funny. The young telemarketer finds out a strange truth as he struggled to up his sales. A talking ostrich was not the oddest part of the story.
2. The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. Utterly beautifully rendered with awe-inspiring scenery. The tale of the four named characters and their attempt to find the way ‘home’ is emotionally powerful and provided a wonderful message. It did feel a little long (and I kept waiting for that fox to turn on them) but the short was astoundingly lovely. It harkened back to a kinder time in animation where the moral of the story was important.
And the number one animated short…
My Year of Dicks.
Any animated show that begins with a warning to the viewers that this is not a kid friendly film and maybe parents wanted to take them out of the theater, is okay by me. But there was more to this than sex and swear words. This was a deep look at a girl’s attempt to lose her virginity and the poor choices that she made along the way. Broken into five chapters, My Year of Dicks was provocative and unafraid to tackle plenty of topics related to sex and sexual exploration and it does it in a creative, often-times, hilarious and real way. After seeing the warning before the short, I had no idea what I was in for. What I got was a poignant story of a young girl’s quest to become a woman. The short had all kinds of animation styles involved and the coming-of-age tale was surprisingly sweet.
Should win: My Year of Dicks
Will win: My Year of Dicks
My Year of Dicks was the last short shown and, before I saw it, I was certain that The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse was going to be the winner. I could see that short take the Oscar still, but I truly think the most overall impressive animated short was My Year of Dicks.