The Oscar Nominated Shorts came online this morning. I say came online, I mean that some of them became available to watch On Demand through my digital tv provider. They were supposed to be added to iTunes today but I haven't spotted that happening yet. They've been showing for about the last week in around 200 cinemas in the USA (and 2 in the UK, in London and Bristol and that was only for limited screenings). And you'll see when I get to my post on the Animated Shorts, not all of them are available for the general public to watch.
I love the Shorts. They're fun to watch. Especially as usually I know nothing about them. And I like watching films that I nothing about beforehand.
Last year had some classics. Here's my post about the 2011 live action shorts. I found it pretty difficult to choose between God of Love and The Crush...and The Confession and Wish 143 were pretty good too.
This year, hmmm, I don't think overall they were quite as good. Don't get me wrong, there was great acting, great plots, well written dialogue, a few surprises, good filming.....but never all together at once in most of the films.
An Irish film. 11 mins long. About Damian, an altar boy and his passion in life - Liverpool FC.
I really liked this. It was charming. A clever story, quirky and funny. I love the football allusions. But it didn't sweep me off my feet like any of last year's contenders.
Made in and by Germany and India. 24 mins long. Slightly more polished than Pentecost, it stirred me with a feeling of foreboding but I felt the ending was slightly ruined by the start....I'm trying not to do spoilers, but you'll spot what happens in the first few seconds and it spoils the rest of the 23 and bit minutes without you having to think to hard about it.
There's good acting and I particularly liked the filming of real India (unlike the sanitised version we saw in Outsourced....a series I particularly hate)...and I like that the like challenges you and makes you think. Closer but still no cigar on a complete live action short of perfection.
I thought this might be the one. Made in Ireland and I'm sure the Irish Tourist Board are very thankful, some beautiful shots of the green and pleasant island. At 31 mins this is the longest of all the Live Action Shorts and though it has some very good bits to commend it, it still didn't seem the full package to me.
Helped by Ciarán Hinds (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, The Debt, The Road to Perdition, The Mayor of Casterbridge....oh you'll know him when you see him) and Conleth Hill (Game of Thrones - Lord Varys). Hindered by Kerry Condon's non-American accent, ok, that's probably just my issue, but I found it distracting. it felt to me a wooly around a small visual joke and nice backstory....but didn't feel strong enough as a whole. Bits were flimsy and holey. OK, I'm a rubbish critic, but I know what I like and each to their own.
This was probably the weakest of the bunch for me. It was a slick American short of 11 mins, but not half as slick or clever as God of Love was last year. In its favour is that it wasn't wooly around a small but clever idea. I think for me it was the standard of acting that let it down against some of the other shorts.
OK, I was hoping against hope as this one started that it would make up for the rest and it did. A 25 min short from Norway and it's definitely my favourite (by which you can guarantee it won't win). The actors in it are spot on, it's quirky, funny, slightly surreal and managed to surprise me. And I love Oskar and Inger. I'm definitely going to have to watch it again to learn how to swear in Norwegian!
Here's a clip:
You can learn before about the short films nominated in the 3 different categories (live action, animated and documentary) here on the Oscar Shorts website, plus see short clips from each. As I say they should be up for download on iTunes today, are available in the USA on VOD on digital tv and in certain art cinemas.
But my fingers will be crossed for Tuba Atlantic on Sunday night!