The academy expanded the potential pool of voters for Best Live Action Short beyond those who attended one of the four official screenings in Los Angeles and the two in New York. For the first time, those who saw these five films as part of the Shorts International program that unspooled at 200 theaters nationwide were eligible to vote.
The lone American entry is "Time Freak" from director Andrew Bowler and producer Gigi Causey. This 10-minute comic caper is about a neurotic inventor who corrects his past mistakes by creating a time machine.
The shorter of the two Irish films is "Pentecost," a wry comedy-drama from Peter MacDonald that pits a lad's love of football against his obligations as an altar boy in a snappy 11 minutes.
Two-time Oscar nominated screenwriter Terry George ("In the Name of the Father," 1993 and "Hotel Rwanda," 2004) made "The Shore" with his daughter Oorlagh George. At 29 minutes, it is the longest of the nominees and tells the story of two friends reuniting 25 years after the strife in Northern Ireland drove them apart.
In just 24 minutes, Max Zahle unspools a taut tale of a German couple who adopt an orphan from the slums of Calcutta only to discover that all is not as it seems.
Norwegian Hallvar Witzo makes his debut with "Tuba Atlantic," which won the foreign language category at last year's Student Academy Awards. His serio-comic film, which clocks in at 25 minutes, is about a pensioner in his dying days forced to cope with a teenage troublemaker.
Click on the pundits below to see a breakdown of their rankings in this race.
Click on each of the categories below for the overview of that race.