Watch 2020 Oscar Nominees
It’s Oscar season! All but five of the 2020 Oscar-nominated short films are available online. We’ve collected them here for your viewing pleasure.
The Academy Award nominated short films often get drowned among celebrity gossip (Brad and Jen who?). In my latest Screening Room post I’m highlighting these shorts and presenting my picks for the winners! The talented film-makers behind these short films are the future of modern film-making.
Best Live Action Short Film
The live action short category is filled with powerful films, including my favourite Nefta Football Club, from last year’s Show Me Shorts Film Festival. On the border of Algeria and Tunisia two brothers find a wayward headphone-wearing donkey. Equally squirmingly tense and crack-up funny, it’ll leave you guessing right till the brilliant finish.
The front-runner is Brotherhood, about a Tunisian father who’s suspicious when his son returns from the war in Syria with a mysterious wife. Winner of Vimeo’s Best Drama of the Year, this stunningly shot drama from filmmaker Meryam Joobeur is being developed into a feature.
You’ll be caught in the same voyeuristic grip of The Neighbour’s Window as married parents obsess over the hot young couple across their apartment block. This relatable modern age Rear Window comes from four-time Oscar-nominee Marshall Curry (A Night at the Garden).
A Sister is a claustrophobic thriller about a woman trapped in a car who makes a desperate emergency call. This French film plays out like Tom Hardy’s Locke, with hand-held close ups and gripping performances it’s an intense and timely watch.
The only Live Action Short not available is Saria, based on the true story of a tragic safe house fire in Guatemala which claimed 41 orphans.
Best Animated Short Film
Animated shorts are my favourite! This year has a brilliant mix of hand drawn, puppetry, clay-mation and stop-motion, all with an emotional wallop.
The Jordan Peele co-produced Hair Love is this pundit’s pick, and no wonder as this will give you all the feels as an African American father attempts to style his daughter’s hair.
I would equally love to see Siqi Song’s Sister get some love. This film played at last year’s Show Me Shorts Film Festival and still makes me think. This gorgeous hand-made stop-motion short from China – about a man recollecting his time as a boy and his annoying sister – is visually stunning and heartbreaking at the same time.
You can also catch the adorable Kitbull, from Pixar’s indie short film programme SparkShorts, plus trailers for the remaining nominees including the highly original puppetry short Dcera (Daughter) and the weird and wonderful claymation Memorable.
Best Documentary Short Film
Only two of the five nominees in this category are available to watch online (three if you have Netflix), so this is a trickier category for me to predict.
You’ll be swept off your feet by The New York Times-produced Walk, Run, Cha-Cha. The film documents a couple that reunited in California after the Vietnam War and are now rediscovering each other on the dance floor. It’s lovingly shot and just so goddamn beautiful it’ll melt your heart.
My pick is the harrowing and heart-breaking account of the South Korean ferry sinking that claimed over 300 lives – mostly school children – In The Absence. The access to footage, texts and radio communication is jaw dropping, as is the national authorities ineptitude in the face of disaster.
Netflix subscribers can see Life Overtakes Me, the moving account of how hundreds of refugee children in Sweden withdraw into comas. It’s a tough but rewarding 40-minute watch.
Check out the trailers for the remaining nomineess, including the powerful account of Bruce Franks Jr – a battle rapper and State representative – in St Louis Superman, and my personal frontrunner Learning to Skateboard in a Warzone (If You’re a Girl) – The Afghanistan set film from Carol Dysinger looks an inspiring watch and won a jury prize at the Tribeca Film Festival.