FIn Theaters January 29th and On Demand February 23rd
After viewing all or most of the short films up for the Oscar this year it suddenly occurred to me that whatever branch decides them is really on the ball. They are far superior, I’d wager, to any other branch in the Academy. Their choices are far from lazy and their selections take the viewer all over the world to meet people and hear stories they’d never otherwise get to hear, especially if they relied on the other branches of the Academy to show them. Far from being “all white,” these stories feature subjects of all genders and ethnicities facing unimaginable challenges. Few nominees move me more emotionally than these shorts. It was hard work seeking them out. I contacted publicists, tracked down leads. I felt like Rachel McAdams’ Sacha in Spotlight. But now, you lucky people have a chance to see these gems on your own. Really, I can’t recommend them highly enough — all three categories — Live Action Short, Doc Short and Animated Short. The inventive filmmaking, the thoughtful storytelling, the high ambition, sometimes the low tech, the cinematography, the writing, the acting, the directing — this is how the Academy, along with its preservation work, soars in its most underrated way. That they have been nominating and awarding shorts since the 1930s and ’40s is to their credit.
List of films after the jump.