This is the sixth year that I’ve made the live-action and animated short film nominees part of my Oscar blitz. Each year, one group of films has been distinctly better than the other and this year that group was the live-action shorts. Unlike last year, when they all involved death, this year the theme seemed to be connections, usually between strangers.
La Maratonista and I definitely had a favorite—La Lampe au Beurre de Yak (Butter Lamp)—but we could see any of them winning. The drama of The Phone Call is an obvious choice, but I can see the understated Parvaneh also taking home a statue. Boogaloo and Graham is adorable, but the script was not as polished as I would have liked. Aya, much like a Saturday Night Live sketch, goes a bit too long for its own good.
As for the animated films, I think Feast will probably take it, but you never know. A Single Life was a brilliant idea with great animation, but it is very short and the morbid (though funny) end probably won’t encourage votes. The Dam Keeper was very dark, both literally and figuratively. It was an odd story that didn’t really make much sense, but was also sort of sweet so I could see it garnering votes. The Bigger Picture was rather morbid, but I thought the animation was very creative. Me and My Moulton didn’t seem to be saying much of anything, but it had a number of funny moments.
As usual, to fill out the animated shorts program, there were additional films, but none of these really stood out to me. I would definitely recommend the live-action program over the animated selections. Check Landmark Theatres to see if they are playing near you.