Does Oscar caliber cast give ‘The Phone Call’ edge to win Best Live Action Short?

All five of this year’s nominees for Best Live Action Short were helmed by filmmakers who are contending at the Oscars for the first time. One of the shorts, “The Phone Call,” could have the edge as it showcases both an Oscar winner and a recent nominee. It currently leads our odds.

Below, we take a closer look at it and the competition. 

The Phone Call
Oscar nominee Sally Hawkins (2013 Supporting Actress, “Blue Jasmine”) is a volunteer at a crisis phone center who receives a call from a despondent old man, played by Oscar champ Jim Broadbent (2001 Supporting Actor, “Iris”). The conversation between the two becomes a profound moment for both of them.

This film by Mat Kirkby and James Lucas is the clear frontrunner with 1/4 odds of prevailing.

Pros: This short certainly tugs at the heartstrings and Hawkins and Broadbent give the film a huge emotional punch.

Cons: There’s a chance that the film could seem a bit soppy, as was a similar film in this category two years ago, “Henry.”

UPDATED: Experts’ Oscars predictions in 24 categories

Boogaloo and Graham
This short, set in Northern Ireland in the late 1970s, follows two boys who receive two young chicks as a gift from their father. As they raise the birds, caring for them gets to be quite a hassle for the parents.

Michael Lennox and Ronan Blaney are in second with 8/1 odds. 

Pros: This film is absolutely adorable and should touch the hearts of many voters. Films with children at the center of the action do well in this category as evidenced by back-to-back wins for “Helium” (2013) and “Curfew” (2012).  and the winner of the previous year, “Curfew.”

Cons: It can be quite tough to understand sometimes due to the Irish accents. 

Parvaneh
Parvaneh, a teenage Afghan refugee living in Switzerland, travels to Zurich to wire money to her father back home. She befriends a young punkish girl who agrees to help her and in the process, Parvaneh is exposed to an experience she won’t soon forget.

Talkhon Hamzavi and Stefan Eichenberger have 16/1 odds of winning.

Pros: With all the negative stories coming out of Europe about the rocky relationship between Muslim immigrants and the native population, this film offers an optimistic look at what is possible during these trying times.

Cons: The film can leave the viewer wanting a bit more of a resolution. 

See Oscar rankings when Experts’ predictions are combined

Aya
Two strangers unexpectedly meet at an airport. He mistakenly assumes her to be his assigned driver. She, enchanted by the random encounter, does not hurry to prove him wrong.

This film from Oded Binnun and Mihal Brezis has 33/1 odds.

Pros: It’s a very well-made character study that does a good job of drawing the viewer into what might be going on with the film’s subjects.

Cons: The story could be seen by some as lacking any purpose or catharsis.

Butter Lamp
A young itinerant photographer and his assistant offer to photograph some Tibetan nomads in front of various backgrounds.

Hu Wei and Julien Féret have odds of 50/1 to win. 

Pros: It’s definitely interesting to see all these different people solely from the viewpoint of the photographer’s camera. This could be something that the more artsy voters embrace.

Cons: There really isn’t any story or conflict. If voters don’t know about the Chinese treatment of the Tibetans, the point could be lost on them.

Make your Oscars picks now — click here — or scroll down to predict the Best Live Action Short winner using our easy drag-and-drop menu. Best predictions will win $1,000 prize. And the 24 Users with the best scores advance to a team to compete against our Experts and Editors next year. See who’s in our current Top 24 and their early Oscar predictions. Meet the guy who won our contest to predict Oscar nominations this year — and learn how he did it and how you can be our next Gold Derby superstar. Register/log in to your account so you can also compete to predict the Indie Spirts, Razzies, “Survivor,” “The Amazing Race” and more.

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