The Night Shift Belongs to the Stars

Oscars

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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