The same goes for animated or documentary short films, but live-action shorts are usually where a lot of famous filmmakers get their start. Ranging from low-budget student flicks to expensive 15-minute space operas, short films can vary in length, budget and effects. While the largest audiences flock out to see the big blockbuster films that exceed two hours and then end up complaining about the run time, some don't realize that there are shorter alternatives, even if they are harder to track down. Checking out all of the award-nominated short films every year has become a hobby of mine and here are my individual reviews for each of the five live-action short films nominated at this years #Oscars (in no particular order).
#Sing follows a choir as they become friends with one another. They are eventually divided when their instructor chooses the weakest singers to mime instead of actually sing so they will appear to be the best choir in the world. This does not go well for her and the singers begin to devise a plan for the upcoming competition.
Sing is all about equality and coming together to overcome the greater odds. In just 25 minutes, you are sucked into their world and are able to feel for each of the main characters. I do wish this film had been about 10 minutes longer in order to give a bit more depth in certain areas, but even for a short film, when it comes to pure feel-good pictures, this is just about as good as it gets.
4. 'Silent Nights'
Silent Nights is a Danish film that showcases a woman working at a homeless shelter who falls in love with a refugee who stays there every night, slowly discovering things about his past as the film goes on. There are some very deep messages sprinkled throughout. At a mere 30 minutes, this is a film that should have been feature length. I loved the interaction between these two characters, but the discovery of his past and how much time that passes in between certain events happens far too quickly in my opinion, making everything seem extremely rushed.
I actually hope this story is re-told one day as a full-length film, because there are some pretty emotional elements that are quickly brushed over. In the end, for what this film does show, it's very, very well-made. I have to give credit where credit is due, and this subject matter alone may give this film the edge to win this year.
When it comes to simple storytelling, a film like Timecode would not have worked at any other length. Having said that, there is very little substance to take in here, which begs the question: Why it was able to receive a nomination for best live-action short film?
This film follows two security guards on opposite shifts who leave hidden videos for each other during their shifts of themselves dancing. Realizing they both share a love for dance, they connect through their shared passion. That is basically the premise and nothing more. #Timecode had me smiling throughout its 15 minute duration, but it won't be one that I remember the most out of these nominees.
2. 'Ennemis Intérieurs'
Taking place almost entirely in one room, an Algerian man tries to become a legal citizen of France after decades living there without applying. A feud begins as to whether or not he had been involved in terrorism and an impressive battle of dialogue occurs. This probably deserves to win this award, due to the fact that the story and execution are all top-notch. I found myself incredibly engaged throughout this 28-minute short film, and I truly found nothing to complain about, as every moment is present for a reason and every line of dialogue is worthy. Ennemis intérieurs is a fantastic little film.
1. 'La Femme Et La TGV'
La Femme et la TGV is one of the sweetest short films I have watched in years. This is easily my favorite out of these five shorts. Following an older woman living on her own, this is a very simple tale of how a train passes by every single day and she wishes to get to know the driver. She mails him letters and they then become pen-pals of sorts. If this film doesn't put a smile on your face, I don't know what will.
In just 30 minutes, this film is able to give you deep insight into this core character and you really feel the impact by the end of it. I loved every second of La Femme et la TGV, and unlike the other nominees, it is currently available on its own online. I highly recommend checking it out.
Who Will Win?
There seems to be a pretty definitive answer among the predictions in this category, being La Femme et la TGV, but I wouldn't put is past Ennemis intérieurs taking home the gold either. I believe it's a very tight race between those two great films, but I would love to see La Femme et la TGV take home the award. Being such short films, most of them are able to cram in a lot of substance, which means any of them could really be chosen, but I truthfully believe it will be between those two as they seem to have the most production value and strongest storylines in my opinion.
Check out every film nominated at this year's 2017 Oscars in the super short video below:
Have you seen these short films? Which one was your favorite?