Death of a Shadow

Henry Short Film

Short films are an easily misunderstood art form. At the Oscars, celebrity introductions of the short film nominees and winners often justify the importance of the category by citing shorts as a platform for future feature-filmmaking. But the elements that make up a great short are hardly the same as those that make for a great feature. Here at FSR, we’ve made something of a habit of looking at short films on their own merits, as works of cinema with their own unique possibilities. The short film category at the Oscars is typically a rushed-through affair so that the broadcast can proceed to more ratings-friendly moments. But the Academy Award-nominated short films make for some of the strongest categories of the event: all the nominees are, most often, very good. Here’s my take on the Academy Award nominees for Best Live-Action Short Film.



Last week the Academy announced its shortlist for Best Live Action Short, a typically eclectic and international bunch. However, forgive me if I approach this category with a bit more cynicism than Best Animated short, the shortlist for which I broke down last month. The Live Action Short nominees are often pretty easily broken up into types, almost as if the Academy has had strange genre requirements these last few years. They go for stories about cute children in the United Kingdom or Australia or Ireland, often about religion and always with an adorable accent. They also like kids in third world countries, though they prefer them a bit sadder. The list is rounded out by talky New York stories, especially in black and white, and there’s an almost annual spot for a Northern European comedy. For the last 4-5 years or so, this has been almost a rule. However, 2012 looks to be a little different, at least initially. There are two oddities right off the bat: there are eleven films instead of the usual ten, yet none of them qualified via the Student Academy Awards. Last year’s Tuba Atlantic, by far the best of the bunch, was a student nominee, as was 2010 winner God of Love. The new group still contains quite a bit of the major “types” of nominees, but that doesn’t necessarily mean they aren’t excellent films. Fortunately, most of them have trailers to discover beyond a simple synopsis.

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published: 01.29.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015
published: 01.28.2015

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