Cinestudio Preview: The Oscar Nominated Shorts

Every year, the Academy Award Nominated Short Films are are selected from across the world for the honor of a mention at the Oscars, and in some cases, a win. But few people actually muster the interest to watch the nominated short films, seeing them as an insignificant piece of Oscar minutiae, or worse, a perfect moment to run to the bathroom.
But because short films are limited by time, and utterly hopeless in a commercial sense, they are often the sites of filmmaking wonders and untapped artistry that go overlooked and unseen by wide audiences.
“Ave Maria,” a fifteen-minute exploration of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict that takes place in the West-bank abbey follows of a group of nuns who must cope with the arrival of a Jewish family on the Sabbath. The film is a comedy that skirts the edges of real-world despair, and addresses it with calm cleverness.
“Day One” tells the story of an American woman freshly arrived on the front lines in Afghanistan. As chaos slowly mounts, the woman is forced to help deliver the baby of an enemy bomb-maker. The pregnancy is complicated, and the situation grows increasingly dire for everyone involved as the short narrative comes to a head.
The German short film “Alles Wird Gut” runs slightly longer than the other short film nominees at 30 minutes. A divorced german father (Simon Schwarz) picks up his daughter (Julia Pointner) for their regularly scheduled weekend together. The remainder of the film reveals that something is slightly off about the weekend, though, and the young daughter comes to realize that she has a long journey ahead. The father and daughter in this film have chemistry that is believable enough to convince viewers, and sets a strong groundwork for the film.
“Shok” is centered around two young boys against the bleak backdrop of the 1998 Kosovo War. Their relationship changes as their lives become threatened by danger, and they become swept up in the conflict. “Shok” is humorless, and intensely driven by the reality of war.
The winner of the Academy award for Best Short Film was “Stutterer,” a British film that uses a perfect tensioning of plot to present its main character, Greenwood (Matthew Needham) who garners a passionate love of words in his job as a typographer. The ironic catch is that he is afflicted by a terrible stammer that prevents him from speaking to just about anyone. As his innability to connect becomes a more pressing concern, Greenwood is forced to take one step further in his life, and tries to overcome his impediment.
These five short films each have a certain character to them that could not be contained by a feature length film. Their shortness helps emphasize the weight of their main conceits, and makes them feel more significant. The Academy Award nominees for Best Short Film will play at Cinestudio May 6 and 7.

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