Saturday, February 8, 2020

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Live Action Short

The nominees:
Brotherhood (B-)
This twenty-five-minute downer, from director Meryam Joobeur, finds the son of a Tunisian family returning home with a new bride after heading over to Syria to fight. It’s an involving story with strong performances all around, but one that can’t escape its miserable nature.

Nefta Football Club (B)
This seventeen-minute French film, from director Yves Fiat, tells an entertaining story of two kids in Tunisia who find a donkey with bags of white powder strapped to its back and have competing ideas about what to do next. Watch it for yourself on Vimeo.

The Neighbor’s Window (B)
The only English-language film on this list comes from director Marshall Curry. This twenty-minute short is a sentimental look at a marriage and how it changes when two young people move in across the way where they can be seen through the window. Watch it for yourself on the film’s website.

Saria (B)
This twenty-three-minute Spanish-language short, from director Bryan Buckley, follows two Guatemalan sisters dreaming of better lives in America in the run-up to a devastating true-life fire in which 41 orphans perished in 2017. It’s more stirring as a call to investigation about this horrific occurrence than as a film in its own right.

A Sister (B)
This sixteen-minute French short, from director Delphine Girard, finds a 911 operator answering a call from a woman in a car who is pretending to talk to her sister. It doesn’t unfold like a thriller but instead stays firmly focused on the two women on either end of the line. It’s decent if not entirely innovative.

Previous winners: Skin, The Silent Child, Sing, Stutterer, The Phone Call, Helium, Curfew
For your information: Curry has three previous Oscar nominations, for feature documentaries “Street Fight” in 2005 and “If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front” in 2011,” and for documentary short “A Night at the Garden” in 2017. Buckley was nominated in this category in 2012 for “Asad.”

Who should win: I wasn’t blown away by any of these, which were mostly depressing as usual. I suppose “Nefta Football Club” or “The Neighbor’s Window” would be my choice if I had to pick.
Who will win: I think this goes to A Sister, though it could be any of them.

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