Friday, February 28, 2014

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Live Action Short

The nominees:
Do I Have to Take Care of Everything? (B)
This six-minute short is inarguably the most light-hearted of the bunch, from Finland, follows a family frantically getting ready for a big event thanks to the efforts of the formidable mother. Its surprise ending is amusing, and this short proves relatively enjoyable if not all that memorable.
Helium (B+)
One of the requirements of this category seems to be to have a film about terminal illness, and that’s fulfilled by this charming Danish story of a boy in a hospital who learns about the Helium Express, which will take him to a wonderful alternative to heaven, from a kindhearted janitor.
Just Before Losing Everything (B+)
This half-hour French entry is an intense, fully gripping look at a woman and her children trying desperately to escape an abusive home, told in a straightforward but extremely compelling. It’s an unsettling and engaging drama that proves very effective.
That Wasn’t Me (C-)
Another requirement of this category is that there be a film about a third-world country and its horrific effects on its youth. That’s this miserable and pointless film from Spain, which finds social workers cornered by child soldiers in a disturbing and unnecessarily brutal effort.
The Voorman Problem (B)
This odd and entertaining short from England stars Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander as a psychiatrist and a prisoner who thinks he’s God. The premise is clever and there is an entertaining plot involving Belgium, but there could have been more to it.

Previous winners: Cufrew, The Shore, God of Love, The New Tenants, Toyland, The Mozart of Pickpockets, West Bank Story, Six Shooter
Who should win: As long as it’s not “That Wasn’t Me,” I’m happy. I think I’d be pleased with either “Just Before Losing Everything” or “Helium,” both of which managed to engaged me for the entire time that I was watching them. “The Voorman Problem” would be fine too.
Who will win: It’s a toss-up between the emotional Helium and “The Voorman Problem.” While the victory of “The New Tenants” a few years ago suggests the latter, I’ll opt for the former.

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