2010 Oscar Nominated Shorts
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As another Oscar Night approaches, movie lovers everywhere are taking part in (sometimes heated) discussions about their picks for Best Actor…or Best Director…or Best Picture. But when it comes time to fill out those Oscar ballots, most of us generally draw a blank when it comes to the short films. And while we may have strong opinions about who deserves to win many of the Oscars, most of us have never even heard of any of the year’s Oscar-nominated shorts.

Fortunately, though, in the weeks leading up to the Oscar ceremony, a number of theaters are showing all 10 Oscar-nominated shorts—both animated and live action—allowing curious movie lovers like me to make more informed selections on their annual Oscar ballot.

This year’s live action nominees include:

Kavi, director Gregg Helvey’s drama about a poor Indian boy who’s forced to work while other boys his age go to school and spend their time playing cricket. Told with a gentle touch, it’s a moving—and even inspiring—short film.

The Door, another drama, offers a glimpse into the lives of a family that loses more than just their home when catastrophe strikes their town. Though the circumstances are unclear in the beginning, as the film’s mysteries are slowly revealed, the story becomes all the more haunting.

Miracle Fish is a strange and disturbing film about a young boy who escapes bullies by hiding in the school nurse’s office, only to awake to find the school empty. But after joyfully taking advantage of the situation, he learns that he’s not really alone—and what seems to be a silly child’s adventure comes to a shocking end.

The darkly comedic short, The New Tenants, follows a bickering couple who move into a new apartment, only to find themselves caught up in the old tenant’s unfinished drama. Though the film starts out rather slowly, once the action begins to build, it becomes a bizarre yet strangely entertaining film.

And, finally, Instead of Abracadabra is a quirky Swedish comedy about a lovable loser who sets out to impress his beautiful new neighbor with his questionable skills as a magician. With its wicked sense of humor and a couple of fun surprises, it’s a wildly entertaining way to wrap up the collection.

This year’s animated shorts include:

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty is a beautifully animated tale of a well-meaning (but rather bitter) granny who loses track of the real story of Sleeping Beauty as she tells her terrified granddaughter a bedtime story. This wicked little fairy tale is one of the most entertaining of this year’s shorts. If fact, it made me laugh until tears ran down my face. But it’s probably best appreciated by women over 30.

Expertly animated but lacking in story, Logorama explores a world made of logos—where tough Michelin Man cops chase down a foul-mouthed Ronald McDonald. Despite the witty concept, though, the crude, obnoxious characters (like an equally foul-mouthed Big Boy) fail to garner laughs.

The Lady and the Reaper follows the battle between the Grim Reaper and a hotshot doctor as they fight for the life of a helpless old widow. The clever concept and fast-paced action are enhanced by the film’s colorful animation.

The latest Wallace and Gromit short, A Matter of Loaf and Death, finds sweet, unsuspecting baker Wallace in a potentially deadly relationship—and his resourceful pooch, Gromit, races to the rescue. Aardman Studios’ long-time animated favorites are up to their same old tricks again—and if you enjoy the punny comedy and lovably awkward characters, you’ll enjoy this latest one, too.

And, finally, French Roast is a French comedy about a café patron who discovers that he’s missing his wallet. As he bides his time, consuming more and more coffee while trying to solve his problem, he learns a thing or two about the people around him. Though it’s a rather simple way to the end the animated collection, it’s certainly worthy of its nomination.

This year’s Oscar-nominated short films offer something for everyone—laughs and drama, fairy tales and heartbreak—all in small, bite-sized pieces. If you have a chance to check out these Oscar hors d'oeuvres, they’re definitely worth seeing. After all, you’re guaranteed to see an Oscar winner—and it’ll give you an advantage as you’re filling out this year’s Oscar ballot.

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