by Marshall Flores
I will preface this post by saying that it’s always difficult for me to choose a winner from any of the Oscar-nominated shorts in a given year. Too often are the nominees in a shorts category better than their “big brothers” in the respective feature category – in fact, I prefer this year’s crop of animated shorts over any of the animated feature nominees. Year in and year out, each shorts lineup represents an incredible, diverse array of artistry and talent.
But in any case, here’s a look at the 5 shorts nominated this year in the live action category:
Asad (dir. Bryan Buckley and Mino Jarjoura) is one of two coming-of-age stories featured in this year’s lineup. Asad is a young Somali boy who idolizes the pirates of his coastal town. Of course, he eventually realizes that the pirate’s life isn’t as romantic as it seems, and begins to recognize the harsh, violent realities of life in the region. Comprised of increasingly bizarre events that are simultaneously nerve-racking and darkly humorous, “Asad” is propelled with terrific energy resulting from the charisma of its lead and the authenticity of its cast (all Somali refugees), culminating in a wacky curveball of an ending that I doubt anyone will see coming.