Short film Oscar nominees 2019

Which short films will shine at the Oscars this year? The Academy Award nominations are out and I bet most of you are thinking – I’ve never heard of these shorts!

Plenty of them are online and available to watch at the links below. I’ve checked them out, and got some advice that could be crucial for your office sweepstakes competition picks. It’s the three short film categories of Live Action, Documentary and Animated Shorts that can make or break your own Oscar glory after all.

The following short films are my guesses for who’ll be standing tall in the short film categories of this year’s Oscar race. So mark your ballots and get ready for the Academy Awards announced on Monday 25 February (NZ time). Good luck to all those nominated!

Animated short film: Bao

©2018 Disney•Pixar. All Rights Reserved.

Watch here.

The nominees are:

  • Animal Bahaviour
  • Bao
  • Late Afternoon
  • One Small Step
  • Weekends

It looks like an in-house battle for animated Oscar glory, with the top contenders being Pixar’s  Bao, and Weekends – a short made by a Pixar employee in his spare time over five years. My pick is Bao will take out the prize. This is the first of 35 Pixar short films to be directed by a female! The adorable short film by Domee Shi played before Incredibles 2 in cinemas during 2018. Writer director Shi first started sketches five years ago drawing on experiences as an only child.

In Bao we meet an aging Chinese-Canadian woman who is given a second chance at motherhood when a dumpling she is eating springs to life. With no dialogue everything is expressed through action. The montage of the wee Dumpling Boy growing up is stuffed [pun intended] with brilliant physical humour and sight gags. Filled with the usual Pixar heart, Shi infuses her creation with a welcome darker edge. Just don’t watch hungry!

Nominee One Small Step, about a Chinese-American girl who dreams of being an astronaut, is available to watch online too.

Documentary short film: Black Sheep

The nominees are:

  • A Night at the Garden
  • Black Sheep
  • End Game
  • Life Boat
  • Period. End of Sentence.

Produced by The Guardian, this award-winning short from director Ed Perkins (If I Die on Mars) is the front-runner in the documentary short category and it’s easy to see why.

The fatal stabbing of a Nigerian boy in London in 2000 is only the beginning of Black Sheep, an astonishing story about Cornelius Walker. Fearing for his safety his Nigerian family move to a white estate in Essex run by racists. You can’t tear your eyes away from Cornelius as he recounts harrowing events and what it took to survive.

Perkins nails this heady documentary mix of magnetic talent, striking re-enactments and a jaw-dropping stranger-than-fiction tale. The 27-minute duration flies by, thanks to great use of talent in all-too-real re-enactment scenes, using mainly non-actors. Timely and thought-provoking stuff.

I reckon Netflix’s doco on visionary medical practitioners Endgame and a look at menstruation hardships women face in India Period. End of Sentence. are outside chances. Fellow nominee Night at the Garden, about an American Nazi rally in 1939, and migrant boat doco Lifeboat are also available to watch online.

Live action short film: Fauve

The nominees are:

  • Detainment
  • Fauve
  • Marguerite
  • Mother
  • Skin

Canadian entry Marguerite is the favourite, to beat Israel’s Skin for the win in the Best Live Action Short Film category. But I’m going out on a limb and picking the wildcard, a second Canadian short film: Fauve.

Set in the wild industrial backwaters of Québec, two troublemaking boys explore an abandoned mine. The not-so-innocent power games take a dangerous turn as Mother Nature enters the fray. A warning, this Sundance Special Jury Prize winner is visceral, shocking and unrelenting. Writer, director and editor Jeremy Comte delivers a dark coming-of-age tale that will leave you shaken.

The score is stunning and the cinematography is compelling – unflinchingly shot by cinematographer Olivier Goss. Performances from child actors Felix Grenier and Alexandre Perreault are raw and totally believable. These two wildcats (a rough translation of Fauve) show a range that is beyond their years.

This powerful short may be an outside chance, but it’s a must-see and will stay with you for days to come.