Short films are an instrumental, but underrated part of the Academy Awards. One of the best features about short films is that they convey their intention in a small amount of time. Some films add extensive fluff to get the film to feature length, but short films aren’t burdened by that struggle. All of the films nominated for this category can’t be longer than 40 minutes and each one this year ran for twenty or less. These were all great films and each one offered something unique to the world of cinema.
The nominees for Best Live Action Short Film are:
- DeKalb Elementary – This short follows a mentally unstable man who enters an elementary school armed with a rifle and takes the school hostage in an attempt to lure the police. The intensity of this film comes from the school’s receptionist who attempts to keep the assailant calm while trying to bring the standoff to a timely end. Well shot and supremely intense, this one might be a little too real.
- The Eleven O’Clock – The only comedy in this year’s nominees, this film follows a psychiatrist whose newest patient believes himself to be a psychiatrist. The humor of this short comes from the ambiguity of their interactions with the identity of the real psychiatrist not being revealed until the end. Hilarious and a necessary reprieve from the heavier shorts with which it is competing.
- My Nephew Emmett – Based on the true story of Emmett Till who was taken from the home of his uncle for whistling at a white woman in 1950s Mississippi. The film follows the struggle of his uncle who is torn on how to protect his nephew, while also considering the ramifications for the rest of his family. The film conveys the tragedy of the situation well and all of the actors give strong performances.
- The Silent Child – Deaf children are a reality throughout the world and this film addresses how they are often neglected and misunderstood. The short follows a young tutor who helps her charge learn sign language to better communicate with her family and to help her start school. It’s painful to see her attempts at communication ignored and how her dependent she is on her tutor.
- Watu Wote – The tension between the Christian and Muslim populations in Kenya is a very real concern and this film portrays this struggle on a bus ride across country. When armed hostiles take the bus riders hostage a strong intensity builds as the Muslim extremists desire to target their Christian “enemies”, despite attempts by the passengers to protect them. Conflicts like this are ongoing and devastating.
My Prediction to win is…