This Year’s Oscar Nominated Shorts

Oscars backstage during the 89th Annual Academy Awards at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 26, 2017 in Hollywood, California.

Short films continue to occupy a very special place in my heart. While there are so many shorts in the year that don’t necessarily get the screen time they deserve, I always take the opportunity to write about the Oscar nominated shorts, which include a very interesting mix of great stories, all beautifully told. 

Une Sœur by filmmaker Delphine Girard brings to us an edge-of-your-seat engaging short, which is perfectly paced, emotionally affecting and brilliantly executed. Violence against women may get talked about a bit more these days, but we still can’t image the forms and oftentimes subtle (vs. overt) forms it takes. The film speaks to the reality that millions of women live with extremely effectively, yet leaving us jarred. 

Saria by Bryan Buckley explores the unimaginable hardships faced by young female orphans at the Virgen de La Asuncion Safe Home in Guatemala. The film follows two sisters, Saria and Jimena, as they fight against mounting daily physical abuse at the very institution designed to protect them. In the sisters’ desperation for survival, they devise a daring plan of escape for all the orphans to find freedom the US. The film is raw, affecting and speaks to the brutal nature of being a young person that is placed in a system of violence.

Brotherhood by Meryam Joobeur is a multi-award winning tender story of love within a family that uses the raw, sometimes treacherous landscape of rural Tunisia as its backdrop. Mohamed is trying to support his family, rearing cattle and trying to make ends meet. His son returns home from a long journey with a wife in tow. This change pushes the family to confront many of their own demons as tension between father and son mounts. Things have to come to a head when one day the two of them reach the point of as far as they can be pushed. 

Nefta Football Club by Yves Piat is also a multi-award winning short. It’s a charming tale of youth and adventure, again set in Tunisia. Two friends, Abdallah and Mohammed, come across a donkey with headphones and decide to bring it back to their village. This sets into motion a hilarious set of events that promise to bring out the deepest and most essential of our human traits.  

The Neighbors’ Window by Marshall Curry is a simple story that speaks to the human experience of how we think the grass is always greener on the other side. A couple is trying to juggle life and their relationship and their three young children, when a sexy couple moves in across the street from them. The sexy couple doesn’t hesitate to put on full display their love and social life. In the beginning, this all seems exciting and things that the couple wish they had, but we are soon to realize that we tend to take things for granted and not value things that we are lucky to have. It is a simple and thoughtful story, told unpretentiously. 

The nominated Live Action shorts, as well as nominated films for Animation and Documentary, are being screened at Cinéma du Parc. The Academy Awards are this Sunday, February 9th.