Oscar Nominated Short Films (2013)

February 20, 2013

in Movies

The array of short subject films, in the categories of live action and animation, up for Academy Awards this year.

Live Action

'Asad'

“Asad”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Asad (South Africa/USA/ 18 mins)
Director: Bryan Buckley

This riveting and masterfully done film unbelievably delivers, in its 18 minutes, a comprehensive portrait of life in contemporary Somalia. It is a brilliant vignette about a young boy, involving pirates and armed insurgents, and fishing à la The Old Man And The Sea as a potent theme. Wonderful photography abounds. Terrifying and gripping, this is an exquisitely done moral tale, not to be missed.

 

'Buzkashi Boys'

“Buzkashi Boys”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Buzkashi Boys (Afghanistan/USA/ 28 mins)
Director: Sam French

Two boys in contemporary Kabul fantasize about becoming Buzkashi riders, sort of Afghani rodeo cowboys. One of them, the son of a blacksmith, faces a more ordinary career; the other, a child of the street, sets himself the more ambitious goal. How one boy’s vision eventually affects the other’s provides the psychological drama.

 

Fatima Ptacek in 'Curfew'

Fatima Ptacek
in “Curfew”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Curfew (USA/ 19 mins)
Director: Shawn Christensen

This is a dark and compact tale about a guy near the end of his rope who has an adventure with his delightfully challenging nine year old niece. The scope of the film is broad, more than its 19 minutes can handle, but the moments between uncle and niece are priceless, including a dance sequence in a bowling alley. Somehow it all works. Fatima Ptacek, who plays the niece, has unbelievable screen presence and might well become the twenty-first century’s answer to Shirley Temple.

 

'Death of a Shadow'

“Death of a Shadow”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Death of A Shadow (Dood Van Een Schaduw)
(Belgium/France/ 20 mins)
Director: Tom Van Avermaet

This macabre reflection on life and death seems like a hybrid between The Matrix and Hugo. A vision about life and death mixes with elaborate contraptions that look like they come from the nineteenth century – including a very large format camera – to provide this Faustian vision about art, love and redemption. Matthias Schoenaerts, who has a leading role opposite Marion Cotillard in the recent gritty romance, Rust and Bone, stars as the metaphysically challenged soul with a photographic mission.

 

'Henry'

“Henry”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Henry (Canada/ 21 mins)
Director: Yan England

An imaginatively constructed subjective account of memory loss and the trials of old age, this film puts the viewer in the driver’s seat, enabling one to see through the eyes of the protagonist as he recollects meeting his wife and raising their daughter. There are surprises of various sorts, and the film gives a poignant account of the elderly man’s altered perceptions.

 

Animation

'Head Over Heels'

“Head Over Heels”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Head Over Heels (UK/ 10 mins)
Director: Timothy Reckart

Using puppets in an invented anti-gravity landscape, this sadly realistic, then therapeutically romantic, film depicts an older couple walking literally in totally opposite directions until some yielding, and creative adaptation, makes for a turn.

 

'Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare'

“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare'”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (USA/ 5 mins)
Director: David Silverman

A very funny suspense about Maggie confronting an evil, juvenile butterfly stalker. Maggie, as one would hope, is feisty and heroic.

 

'Paperman'

“Paperman”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Paperman (USA/ 7 mins)
Director: John Kahrs

A sweet love story based on a serendipitous encounter and the chance placement of a lipstick buss on a business form, leads to a determined pursuit via numerous paper airplanes, reminiscent, in terms of errant reproduction, of the episode of Mickey Mouse and the runaway mops in The Sorcerer’s Apprentice section of Walt Disney’s Fantasia (1940).

 

'Fresh Guacamole'

“Fresh Guacamole”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Fresh Guacamole (USA/ 2 mins)
Director: Adam Pesapane (PES)

This short, but wonderfully imaginative, takeoff on a cooking video depicts dissected hand grenades, baseballs, golf balls and fishing lures offering abundant yields of dice and all sorts of other surprises.

 

'Adam and Dog'

“Adam and Dog”
Image: The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Adam And Dog (USA/ 16 mins)
Director: Minkyu Lee

A meditation of the first forbidden fruit, and the consequences of eating it, from the perspective of a dutiful pet.

 

– BADMan

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