The French drama “Ennemis Interieurs” is ahead to win the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film on Sunday according to our official racetrack odds. These are derived from the predictions of Expert film journalists along with the Gold Derby Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who got the top scores predicting last year’s Oscar nominations, the All-Star Top 24 who got the top scores when you combine the last two years’ nominations and the thousands of Users who make up the largest (and often savviest) bloc of predictors.
All of these groups agree save for the editors who favor the Spanish comedy “Timecode.” So who should you trust when it comes to predicting this race which can ultimately decide who wins your Oscar pool?
Below, let’s examine each one of this year’s nominated shorts to get a better understanding of the category.
“Ennemis Interieurs” (odds of winning: 5/6)
In the mid-1990s, a French-Algerian born man is seeking to become a full French citizen. During his questioning by authorities, he is asked about a possible past association he has had with possible Islamic radicals from the former French colony. The man requesting citizenship now finds himself in the position of dealing with presumptions based on his background and the dealing with the idea of sacrificing others to advance his own well-being.
This is the first Oscar nomination for filmmaker Selim Azzazi.
Pros: While the film takes place 20 years ago it still feels very timely. It’s also very intense and intimate, like a play and the two main performances are top notch. The movie has echoes of the “Q&A” episode of “Homeland,” which picked up an Emmy for writing.
Cons: The way the story is told feels like there’s more to tell and the way the film ends makes it seem like there’s another story that needs to be told but is never gotten around to.
Votes: 14 Experts, 6 Editors, 14 of the Top 24 Users and 68% of all Users.
“Timecode” (odds of winning: 3/1)
Luna and Diego are security guards for a parking garage. Diego works the night shift while Luna works during the day. Luna soon discovers through the security cameras that Diego has a very interesting way of passing the time during his shift. She then uses those cameras to communicate with him through similar means.
This is Juanjo Giménez Peña’s first Oscar nomination.
Pros: This film is sweet, charming and very funny. It also has a similar feel to past winners of this category including “The Shore” (2011), “Curfew” (2012) and “Stutterer” (2015). It also claimed the Short Film Palme d’Or at last year’s Cannes Film Festival.
Cons: While not necessarily a strike against it, it is the shortest film of the nominees. There’s also not a lot of actual character development and a lack of context to the conclusion of the film.
Votes: 7 Experts, 3 Editors, 3 of the Top 24 Users and 14% of all Users.
“Sing (Mindenki)” (odds of winning: 11/1)
Zsófi is nervous about starting her new elementary school but she quickly befriends Liza and decides to join her new friend in the award-winning school choir. Zsófi is unprepared for the humiliation that the choir teacher dispenses on her and Liza comes up with a plan to help get back at the mean teacher.
This marks the first nomination for both Kristóf Deák and Anna Udvardy.
Pros: The film is engaging and very sweet. It also contains a great message and is anchored by the great performances by the two children playing Zsófi and Liza which brings to mind the excellent child performer in the 2012 winner, “Curfew.”
Cons: At a certain point I found myself asking, “Why are all these kids willing to put up with such an awful teacher at such a young age?” The ending can also feel a little disappointing.
Votes: 2 Experts, 2 of the Top 24 and 9% of all Users.
“Silent Nights” (odds of winning: 12/1)
Inger, a volunteer at a housing shelter in Denmark, finds herself falling for Kwame, a refugee from Ghana. When a secret from Kwame’s homeland brings their relationship to a halt, Inger must decide how she will deal with her new situation in life.
While this is the first nomination for director Aske Bang, it is the sixth for producer Kim Magnusson. Magnusson has won twice, for “Election Night” in 1998 and “Helium” in 2013, and was nominated for “Ernst & Iyset” (1996), “Wolfgang” (1997) and “Helmer & Son” (2006).
Pros: The film feels very relevant and is very emotional.
Cons: The flow of the movie feels very strange as many scenes feel like they end too abruptly. It seems like a feature film would have been a more appropriate way to tell this story.
Votes: 2 Experts, 1 Editor, 2 of the Top 24 and 6% of all Users.
“La Femme et le TGV” (odds of winning: 18/1)
Elise (Jane Birkin) is an older woman who has been waving at the high-speed TGV train that passes by her house for decades and is intrigued when she starts receiving written correspondences from the train conductor that he throws out the window. She becomes more engrossed as the communication continues but finds herself not knowing what to do when the train schedule is altered.
Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff earn their first Oscar nominations with this effort.
Pros: The film is very sweet and very forward thinking with how it treats its female lead. Birken is a legendary actress/model/singer who has been in such classics as “Blow-Up” and “Death on the Nile” and has said this will be her last film.
Cons: Female centered shorts have not fared well in this category. The last time a short with a single female protagonist won this prize was in 2004 when Andrea Arnold won for her short film, “Wasp.” Also, the character of Elise can be off-putting at times.
Votes: 2 Experts, 1 Editor, 2 of the Top 24 and 3% of all Users.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.