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2019 Oscars: Short Film Categories

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  • nevkm
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    I’ve just watched all the animated shorts and Animal Behaviour is by far my favorite. But Bao is probably winning this.

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    LaChienne
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    These are the hardest for me to predict, and though watching them all doesn’t necessarily help me predict them better (watching them last year made me confident Heaven is a Traffic Jam on the 405 was going to win, but had made me think that the classic Pixar Lou or the best-of-its-category Negative Space would win over the celebrity short) I think putting in an effort does help somewhat. I’m not keen on trucking out to Detroit in the current ice storm to view all of them so I’ve been trying to find all the free ones online.

    So far I’ve seen all of the animated shorts, a couple of the documentary but none of the live action:

    Bao — A touching, poignant, but cute piece with the Pixa brand all over it. I really enjoyed it and can see it winning. I know there was some noise about some people not “getting” it, either from cultural differences or misunderstanding the tone, but I considered it pretty easy to pick up and I can see voters understanding the sentiment.

    Late Afternoon — My favorite of the animated shorts so far. An interesting animation style with a resonating theme and a moving ending.

    One Small Step — Had to watch this via a YouTube reaction channel and tried to not let the obnoxious color the short. Unlike Late Afternoon, which had quiet sadness, OSS rubbed your face into its saddest moment and checked to make sure you were tearing up. It was charming, but it felt kind of basic and had the least impact on me out of the animated shorts.

    Weekends — Wow, parent-child shorts are all over this category. The animation style grew on me and the nightmare scnees were genuinely frightening and real. It felt simpler than some of the other shorts and didn’t overreach for anything ambitious, but nevertheless effective, and I liked it. There’s an obviously personal touch to it and I can see why it won a short film audience award last year.

    Animal Behavior — A welcome change of pace after all those feels from the other shorts. Some of the jokes were hit and miss, but it was still kind of funny. This is the only one I truly don’t see voters going for.

    As for the doc shorts:

    A Night at the Garden — You know why this short was made, and it knows that you know, and thinks that’s good enough. At seven minutes long, it’s the shortest of all the nominees, including even the bite-sized animated shorts, and is little more than a clip of archive footage (though what’s essentially a criticism of “fake news” is included so, again, you know why it was made) and I’m not sure it even belongs in the category, as there’s so little creator voice and commentary present in the short that it feels like a student project. It’s disappointing because there’s a wealth of material here to mine and explore (I’m guessing many aren’t even aware the rally happened, and I didn’t either) but it ends before it even has time to begin, and seems to rely the most on the viewer being shocked and aghast that the event took place. There’s an unnerving, eerie tension present throughout that makes it compelling enough to not dismiss entirely, but I think more could have been expected from this.

    Black Sheep — I was surprised to see this leading the odds in its category. While the story is sad, and it at least is assertive about its own thesis unlike ANATG, there’s an alienating quality to this that left me cold and I can see it making some voters uncomfortable with what was presented. There’s something about it that makes me think it doesn’t quite belong in the category and I didn’t personally like it, but I could see how it might intrigue others.

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    Filmatelist
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    Ranking the animated shorts, I think WEEKEND is by far the best, because of all the parent/child narratives, it’s not only the most creative in its animated renderings, but it’s also the least sentimental. There’s no judgment about good/bad/happy/sad, just capturing the sensations of an expansive pair of worlds and all the strange and scary associations they evoke.

    LATE AFTERNOON is next because the animation style is simpler, but the way it fluidly moves through the old lady’s memory does showcase how immersive and elusive memory itself can be.

    I still dislike the impulse for Pixar to anthropomorphize *everything* in its various shorts, but comparing the two Asian-based parent/child shorts, this one has far better characterizations and superior emotions. My one complaint is that keeping the bao a bao worked just fine as metaphor so spelling it out with the appearance of the real son is obvious, unnecessary, and a little cheap.

    I like the other Snowden/Fine shorts I’ve seen so while this has some funny jokes, it doesn’t have the insight of, say, Nick Park’s CREATURE COMFORTS, which does a better job of drawing connections between the Animal Behaviors and more universal ones.

    So ONE SMALL STEP is last. The emotions are obvious, the trajectory is familiar, and the character design falls into the classic moon-eyed princess template. I dig the empowerment message just fine, but there’s nothing special about this short (and certainly TWEET TWEET, which is part of the Oscar collection roadshow circulating in theaters, is far better than at least these bottom two, and maybe even the Pixar).

    Because the best film almost never wins in this category, but the cutest/sappiest often does, LATE or BAO are the best bets to win.

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    Jenna Cameras
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    Here’s a link for Fauve: 
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_wW_6Z0nb4

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    POR160893
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    I agree with your your critique on Pixar giving human attributes to everything. Good point!

    Fauve is a masterpiece of a live-action short!

    @Freeman Griffin I loved your analysis of the documentary shorts and I agree more or less with you

    However, I would have placed “A Night in the Garden” 1st and “End Game” 2nd just its cinematic singularity and social relevance.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Riley. Reason: Merged consecutive posts
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    Pablo J Garcia
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    So i have seen all the Animated and Live actions

    And my winner was MADRE …… OMG this movie was Superb and so intense …. i was on the edge of my seat throughout the film and i think it was just so unique and so amazing..

    I think it is the first time i agree to you 🙂

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    Filmatelist
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    I agree with your your critique on Pixar giving human attributes to everything. Good point!

    Among their shorts: Lamps, umbrellas, unicycles, volcanos, Lost & Found items, religious icons, dumplings, even the day/night. Some are better than others but between those and the TOY STORY and CARS franchises, it’s incessant and (to these eyes) kinda lazy going back to that well over and over.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    I am curious to know if the whole academy membership gets to vote in the short subjects categories or it voted on by committee? Seems to me one would have to see all the nominees to make a worthwhile vote.

    I am seeing the live action shorts tomorrow and I am so looking forward to them! (:

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    Filmatelist
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    It used to be a requirement that you attend specific screenings to be eligible to vote in the 3 short categories. Now, I believe all members have access to all the nominees online, but I’m not sure if there’s still a verification process to prove you’ve seen them that way before you can vote.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Riley. Reason: Removed redundant block quote
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    Keth
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    I am curious to know if the whole academy membership gets to vote in the short subjects categories or it voted on by committee? Seems to me one would have to see all the nominees to make a worthwhile vote.

    I think it should be a requirement for academy members to only vote in the categories where they have seen all nominees – all categories. I guess that would be hard to monitor.

    Here’s a link for Fauve: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_wW_6Z0nb4

    That was devastating – I still have chills from it.

    I saw them over the weekend. End Game made some woman so upset she left until it ended. I liked it but I don’t think it’ll win.

    I was watching “End Game” on Netflix this afternoon but stopped viewing. I’ll go back and finish – it just brought back memories when my Dad was dying. A tough watch.

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Riley. Reason: Merged consecutive posts
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    GusCruz
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    I am curious to know if the whole academy membership gets to vote in the short subjects categories or it voted on by committee? Seems to me one would have to see all the nominees to make a worthwhile vote.

    Most Academy members do not vote in all categories

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    Riley
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    I’m not sure if there’s still a verification process to prove you’ve seen them that way before you can vote.

    It is just an honour system.

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    FreemanGriffin
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    Just got home from seeing the Oscar nominees for Live Action and Animated Shorts.

    Live Action: the best in my opinion is Detainment. It is the best produced, directed, acted, photographed and edited of the five film. The boy who plays John was stunning. The audience I was with was on the edge of their seats. I was emotionally devastated by it. I read the controversy and all I will say about it is that these type of true stories always get such heat. The film is based on the actual transcripts and was stunning. (Ireland)

    I loved Marguerite, albeit it was very slight. Two beautiful performances by the two actresses. Quiet and serene, with a beautiful script. (Canada – in French)

    Madre (Mother) was a nail-biter but it had no ending and I always feel cheated – is the kid alright? The two actresses and the boy on the telephone all gave terrific performances. I noticed the copyright was 2016? (Spain)

    Fauve was interesting but I found the two boys to be brats and not very endearing. It was well made but it didn’t add up for me as emotionally satisfying. (Canada – in French)

    Skin – all I can say is I hated this one, everything about it and couldn’t wait for it to end. Just hated it. Blech!

    Animated: my favorite was definitely Late Afternoon. It moved me the most, had beautiful music, the best script. This was from Ireland and featured Fionuala Flanagan as Emily.

    Bao was really good, with terrific animation – one of the two best in terms of the animation. But the story was weak for me, and the charm wore thin quickly.

    One Small Step also had great animation. I’m not sure why I had resistance towards it? In some ways it was probably better written and had equal animation to Bao but Bao was more charming.

    Animal Behavior – despite some laughs I was put off by it’s humanizing the animals in the therapy group. The animation wasn’t all that great. It was good but not great.

    Weekends – somebody earlier said this was their favorite; it was my least favorite, I really disliked it. The animation was in my opinion awful and I didn’t like the story. Blech!

    I am rooting for Detainment, Late Afternoon and End Game to win the short subjects Oscars. I always find these categories impossible to predict! Years in which I have just gone with whatever is first in the odds on here they have been wrong wrong wrong! So this year I am just going with the ones that I honestly think ought to win.

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    Pollo crudo
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    So I’ve seen all docs. I don’t see any other winner than Period. End of Sentence, really.
    My fav was Lifeboat, but this is a recurring type of nominee which never wins, not even on the Doc Feature category.

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    Luc Rochette
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    I don’t understand why Fauve is an underdog on Gold Derby. For me it’s Fauve or Madre by far!

    • This reply was modified 2 months, 1 week ago by  Luc Rochette.
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