Unfortunately, I’m not going to a party this year where there’s an Oscar pool, so it doesn’t behoove me financially this time around, but seeing them is quite the reward in itself. But really, the irony is not lost on me that the one time I won’t win money is the one year I get to see ALL the shorts. Damn you, fate!
Sometimes I forget what we do a lot of here is short film. We sell them, watch them, even make them on occasion. So it is only fitting that we talk about them, too. This year’s nominees for Best Live Action Short film are pretty amazing. It’s also another category that I rarely see all of the entries, so it’s yet another treat for me. Unfortunately, I’m not going to a party this year where there’s an Oscar pool, so it doesn’t behoove me financially this time around, but seeing them is quite the reward in itself. But really, the irony is not lost on me that the one time I could win some money is the one year I get to see ALL the shorts. Damn you, fate!
First off is The Confession. Two young boys in Catholic school have rather differing opinions of their commitment there. When one boy feels he needs a sufficient enough act which will make his first confession worthy, his friend suggests a seemingly harmless prank. When it goes terribly wrong, guilt and fear make matters worse.
This is a beautiful, well-acted film. It has wonderful atmosphere and an emotional impact you won’t soon forget. Really makes the most of this category. This might be my favorite.
Next is The Crush. A young boy has a crush on his teacher and gives her a ring. When he later sees she has a fiancee’, he doesn’t like him at all. The boy asks the man to a pistol duel, with rather surprising results.
Mostly surprising because, despite that I thought this was well made, I felt that at one point it sort went off the rails. the guy playing the fiancee’ suddenly seems to react a little unnaturally. I don’t know, I suppose when confronted with his situation me might crack like egg under pressure, but somehow it didn’t sit right with me. I don’t see this winning an Oscar.
Then we have Wish 143. A teenage boy has cancer and the prognosis is not good. When asked by the Wish Foundation guy what he wishes for, the boy simply says “sex”, seeing as he’s never had it. After an obvious ‘no’, the boy continues his determined mission with humorous, and ultimately, poignant results.
This is a very emotional and humorous film. With an excellent cast, particularly the lead, we see a young man facing things no one should have to at his age, while dealing with something everyone does. THIS might be my favorite.
Next is God of Love. Ray, a dart champion and hopeless romantic, is in love with the girl drummer of his lounge band. But she loves the guitar player. One day, a box arrives for Ray full of darts with instructions that make someone fall in love with you for six hours. But his use of them doesn’t go as planned. Or does it?
This is a funny, sweet film. It seems like a smaller budget indie, which may keep it from winning, but doesn’t take away from its’ charm.
Last is Na WeWe. Taking place during the civil war in Burundi, Africa around 1994, a minibus full of passengers are stopped by men with guns. They are told to get off the bus. the armed men tell the passengers to split up – the Hutus and the Tutsis. But discovering which are Hutu and which are Tutsi is more difficult than they thought.
This is an interesting film about bloodline, nationality and ancestry. This has the most overall social and historical message of the shorts and has all the elements that I think the Academy likes. I can see this or Wish 143 winning. But you never can tell. The shorts are always a category that I usually just close my eyes and pick one to win the Oscar. Frankly, after actually seeing them all, I’m still not certain. I’m still hoping for The Confession or Wish 143.
~ Neil T. Weakley, your average movie-goer, really into the dramatic shorts this year. Go figure.