2015 Oscar Nominated Live Action Short Films
Earlier today, I did a little self-experiment.
I tried to remember the five Live Action Short Films that were nominated at last year’s Academy Awards since I happened to view them all. While I have serious trouble remembering exactly what I had for lunch yesterday, I was able to correctly recall the basic plot of four out five short films I saw a year ago.
That’s not so indicative of a great memory, as reflective of the power of short films.
Because they must be less than 40 minutes in length in order to be eligible for an Oscar in this category, there’s no time to waste. Most short films run in the 15-25 minute range. Their impact is immediate.
Short films grab you. They make you think. They take you to interesting places. They introduce you to people you haven’t met before. And sometimes, long after leaving the theater, you will find yourself pondering what you saw and the deeper meaning of the film, which are sometimes remarkably complex and even wonderful.
I don’t expect many readers today will care much about this topic. So few of us are exposed to these movies. We hear this type of Academy Award described as a category “nobody cares about,” which is such gross disservice to the work and creativity that tends to be from up-and-coming filmmakers who don’t have $50 million studio budgets, big-name actors, or much of film crew.
Given these disadvantages, this is what makes some of these short films a stupendous achievement. Why more of the moviegoing public doesn’t make an effort to see them not only is tragic for those dedicated artists who write, produce, cast, film, edit, and then beg for distribution of their films — it’s moviegoers themselves who miss out these short movies who are the real losers. By the way, most larger cities have at least one theater which features these movies (five short films for the price of one, clocking in at about two hours). Las Vegas has multiple theaters showing the Oscar-nominated short films all this week. Quality stuff like this is out there — you just have to look for it. Note: The Las Vegas showing also include all the animated short films, which run anywhere from 2-18 minutes.*
Here’s a look at this year’s five nominees for Best Live Action Short Film: Oscar Nominated Short Films 2015: Live Action’ Review
My pick is the gut-wrenching 24-minute film from the U.K. called “The Phone Call.” It begins with a remarkably simple pretext, but ends with as much intensity as any film experience I’ve had all year. The story of a call that comes into a suicide prevention hot line, I found myself smiling at the same time as tears were swelling in my eyes as the credits were rolling. “The Phone Call” should win the Oscar, although “Parvaneh” — a Swiss-made film about the immigrant experience and what new arrivals must endure in their new homeland — would also be a satisfying choice.
If you’re still reading this, then I’ll conclude by suggesting you try and make an effort to see films like these, as well as documentaries and foreign films. While so much of what Hollywood puts out is rubbish, there are indeed films which lift up the human spirit and deserve to be seen. These five films deserve that at the very least, and so much more for their abbreviated constraints and the occasional magic they bestow upon us.
* For those thinking that animation is strictly for kids, think again. These movies are quite powerful and sometimes deal with adult subject matter.