If trying to predict the winners of the short film categories at the Oscars is tough, trying to accurately predict the five shorts that get nominated in each of those categories can be downright excruciating. Well Derbyites, we’re here to help! Now that we’ve seen which films made the Oscar shortlist for those categories and you can make your predictions about them in our predictions center, we want to give you the details about the 10 finalists for Best Live Action Short Film. You can use these cheat sheet summaries to help you pinpoint which shorts will have the edge to get nominated at the 2020 Oscars.
“Brotherhood” – Mohamed is deeply shaken and suspicious when his estranged eldest son Malek returns home from Syria to rural Tunisia with a mysterious young wife in tow. The emotional complexities of a family reunion and past wounds lead to tragic consequences.
“The Christmas Gift” – A little boy writes a letter to Santa Claus for Christmas and it results in his father’s evening becoming a thriller that he was not expecting it to.
“Little Hands” – When a factory manager announces that their workplace is about to be shuttered, one of the more radical workers decides to kidnap the manager’s two-year-old son in order to use him as leverage to keep the factory open.
“Miller & Son” – Ryan is a transwoman who presents as male during the day while working her family’s auto shop and presents her true self at night but an unexpected event threatens to derail the cut-off segments of her life.
“Nefta Football Club” – While other children are playing soccer, brothers Abdallah and Mohammed come across a donkey with headphones on and bags that are full of white powder on its back and the two bring the bags back to their village.
“The Neighbors’ Window” – A middle-aged woman with young children gets a wrench thrown into her life when two free-spirited young adults move across the street from her.
“Refugee” – A doctor in Syria tries to disappear from her home country along with her young daughter.
“Saria” – Two orphaned sisters, Saria and Ximena, fight back against daily instances of physical mistreatment at the orphanage that is supposed to be protecting them and eventually concoct an escape plan for all the orphans to get to freedom in America.
“A Sister” – When a woman alone in a car finds herself in danger, she must make the most important phone call of her life.
“Sometimes, I Think About Dying” – Fran is constantly thinking about dying, but this becomes complicated when she makes a guy in her office laugh who soon wants to spend more time with her. If dating him means not thinking about death as much as she’s used to, she’s not sure she can do that.
While there’s no specific trend that will help predict all the nominees here, one thing to keep in mind is that the members of this branch of the academy love to nominate films that have children at the center of the story. This applies to several past winners including “Le Mozart des pickpockets” (2007), “Toyland” (2008), “Curfew” (2012), “Helium” (2013), “Sing” (2016), “The Silent Child” (2017) and “Skin” (2018).
Nominees that have fit in this mold in recent years include “Detainment” (2018), “Fauve” (2018), “Mother” (2018), “Shok” (2015), “Everything Will Be Okay” (2015), “Boogaloo and Graham” (2014), “Parvaneh” (2014), “Buzkashi Boys” (2012), “Asad” (2012), “Raju” (2011) and “Pentacost” (2011). Three of the finalists fit in with that aspect: “Little Hands,” “Nefta Football Club” and “Saria.”
Be sure to make your Oscar nominee predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before nominees are announced on January 13. And join in the fun debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.