Ranked: 2014 Oscar Nominated Live Action Short Films

Feb 28, 2014
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The 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony will happen this Sunday, March 2nd. This week we've taken a look at this year's short film competitions. The Academy defines a short film as an original motion picture running 40 minutes or less, and excludes all advertisments, unaired or unsold television episodes, or credit sequences from feature-length films. Our critic, Shawn Hazelett, watched and ranked all of this year's Oscar-nominated shorts. In this final installment, he'll look at this year's live action category. 

1

Dir. Anders Walter

Helium

A tender, extremely hopeful story about a hospital janitor who comforts a dying boy by inventing a magical land called Helium, a place where “broken” boys like him get fixed. Incredibly powerful at just 23 minutes, thanks in no small part to Casper Crump as the compassionate janitor and Pelle Falk Krusbæk as the little boy.

2

Dir. Xavier Legrand

Just Before Losing Everything

Just Before Losing Everything follows a mother on the day she decides to escape from an abusive husband and is forced to hole up with her kids in a supermarket where she works. Terrifying and tense, Denis Ménochet (the French farmer from Inglorious Basterds) as the husband haunts every scene, his eerily quiet presence masking an unimaginable explosiveness.

3

Dir. Esteban Crespo

That Wasn't Me

A rare fictional account of child soldiers in Africa, That Wasn’t Me offers a harrowing glimpse into the perpetual civil wars that plague the continent, exploiting and all but dehumanizing its youth.

4

Dir. Selma Vilhunen

Do I Have To Take Care of Everything?

After sleeping in on a friend’s wedding day, a mother scrambles to get her entire family ready only to face a series of hilarious reversals and setbacks which she blames on her husband and children, unable to see that she more often foiled by her own haste.

5

Dir. Mark Gill

The Voorman Problem

A psychiatrist is called to a prison to examine an inmate named Voorman, who is convinced he is god. Good ideas, production value, and the always-welcome Martin Freeman as the psychiatrist can’t overcome a story that feels incomplete, rushed, and far too ambitious for 13 minutes.

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