Oscar-Nominated Short Films (2012) Reviews

Note from the Editor: The Nominations for the 84th Academy Awards® were announced on January 24th and the short films in contention have been screening in theaters since February 10. The films are expected to screen in additional markets, expanding to over 200 screens nationwide and in Canada before the 84th Academy Awards® ceremony on February 26th. For more information, visit www.shorts.tv/theoscarshorts .

Oscar Shorts: Documentary

The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom (40 min)

March 11, 2011 is immortalized for the good people and lasting souls of Eastern Japan. For anyone who felt their heartache and anyone who could only pray for the grace of the survivors and all of those who stood still, powerless to aid those who were in need. This is the testament of spirit and good will. These are the stories that will become the bright lights of the future. The recollections and humbled musings of Japans most rooted citizens are reflected against their most treasured cultural phenomenon. Here, Lucy Walker has crafted a story of balance, equilibrium and hope.

Incident in Baghdad (25 min)

In 2007, Specialist Ethan McCord saved two children from a ravaged vehicle in Baghdad. Three years later, while caring for his own children, that life-changing day returned to haunt his present and permanently affect the rest of his life. This is the real story of returning to the routine of American home life after negotiating the trappings of war. Audiences will marvel as the footage of the ‘hot zone’ is amateur and hideously engaging. There are graphic details and images of daily life on the frontline. James Spione directed for Moonlight Films what is a strong argument to rally the withdrawal of troops and the evidence to support those who herald the claim.

Barber of Birmingham (25 min)

James Armstrong survived every phase of the Civil Rights Movement and the election of the first Black president of The United States. His is the story of a spiritual fighter whose steadfast belief in peace and equality transcend the clutches of deceit and mistrust. Robin Fryday and Gail Doglin have placed the spotlight on the close ties maintained within the community and the activism that affected the world through the living legend of Armstrong. To witness the unwavering faith of such warm and historically powerful individuals as they relive the truest pursuit of the American Dream is nothing short of inspired.

Oscar Shorts: Action

Pentecost (11 min)

Peter MacDonald and Eimear O’Kane treat audiences to an extraordinary peak into the inner conflict of a small town and the limited availability of sacred assistance during Mass.

Raju (25 min)

Adoptive parents are tested beyond anything they could imagine. Max Zahle and Stefan Gieren have given audiences a scenario so extreme in its probability that the idea is unfathomable. Twenty-four hours after flying to India to adopt their son, a German couple find themselves reporting him missing following an afternoon at the market. Only God can judge a parent’s love.

The Shore (31 min)

Twenty-five years have passed since three friends made promises to each other on the shores of Ireland. After much ado, the favorite son, Ciaran Hinds, returns to Belfast to set right past wrongs. Negotiating friendship has never been so tangible and endearing as in this pairing of old mates, each carrying a separate burden of truth. Oscar Nominee Terry George directs a thoughtful and considerate moment in the life of good people faced with real choices.

Time Freak (11 min)

Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey take audiences on a carousel of neurosis in this quirky journey through the mind of an inventor. Stillman has something that he has been hiding from his roommate and best friend. As he begins to acknowledge the depth of his compulsion, he finds himself powerless to stop it. On the brink of insanity, it is necessary to try a little help from a friend.

Tuba Atlantic (25 min)

This comedy adds a twist of maniacal fun to a morbid cocktail of evolution. The Angel of Death has come to escort Oskar on his final voyage. Of course, the cantankerous types never go quietly into the night and Oskar proves no exception. He is a force of nature set to retire within his own design. Hallvar Witzo has given audiences an absolutely pleasant tale of humility and brotherly love.

Oscar Shorts: Animated

Flying Books (15 min)

Mystical and magical with light realism and a healthy dose of whimsy, the story by William Joyce asks ‘if life is happy does it need to make sense?’ A question that perfects the theme of this visually luscious escape into the imagination of a writer and lover of books. The story begins in Louisiana’s French Quarter and travels to a land of make-believe and possibility as it is unveiled just what steps must be completed to make a book fly.

La Luna (7 min)

A sweet and friendly family tale of three generations. Disney Pixar and Enrico Casarosa are the force behind a little boy’s discovery of the family business and his rightful place amid the working men of his clan. With wondrous hues and sparkling lights, this is a bedtime story for the most adorable dreamers.

Sunday (10 min)

On a day perfect for letting the imagination run free, a little boy must enjoy a structured day of worship and festivities with his parents. Patrick Doyon plays with the idea of routine for a little French town and the loud train that steams through its streets.

A Morning Stroll (7 min)

The same basic plot is played out on three separate occasions. Each outcome is different as the timing of each event is altered. The original idea behind this conceptual piece by Grant Orchard and Sue Goffe is a short story entitled The Chicken. The New Yorker who finds himself mystified by the chicken is on a journey through the ages and social gamut of civility. Thoughtful and impressive, audiences will find the graphic design both raw and classic homage to 90s urban style.

Wild Life (13 min)

A young and wily Brit sets his sights on the life of a true Westerner. He heads to Canada to learn the ways of a cowboy in the early 20th century and finds more than he anticipated. Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbes take the excitement of the unknown and cloak it in the tragic dirge of life on the frontier and the awe of the night sky.