Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Oscar Winner Predictions: Best Live Action Short

The nominees:
Feeling Through (B+)
A man struggling to figure out where he will sleep that night is compelled to help another man he sees on a street corner who is both deaf and blind, forging an unexpected relationship between the two of them. This short is endearing and enjoyable with two rich characters at its center. Watch it now on YouTube via Omeleto.

Two Distant Strangers (B+)
A Black man gets shot and killed over and over by a white police officer on his way home as he experiences a time loop. Similar in premise to the feature film “The Obituary of Tunde Johnson,” this short explores identity, connection, and conflict in a stark and unforgettable way. Content warning: this film does not censor its scenes, which is powerful but disturbing. Watch it on Netflix.

The Letter Room (B+)
Oscar Isaac stars as a prison guard put in charge of reading letters to inmates who takes a special interest in one correspondent. Its protagonist is lonely and isolated, and the connection he makes with someone through the words that she writes feels dynamic and energizing. Watch it on Topic.

The Present (B+)
A Palestinian man crosses into Israel with his young daughter to purchase a new refrigerator as a gift for his wife, a simple task that becomes a much more complicated and difficult ordeal. Its main characters are sympathetic, and though this story is strongly tied to its geopolitical setting, there is something universal and relatable to it. Watch it now on Netflix.

White Eye (B+)
An Israeli man finds his stolen bike outside of a restaurant and tries to get the police to intervene, which threatens the livelihood of the undocumented immigrant he believes has stolen it. This story is involving and complex, not set on portraying the situation as black-and-white but exploring it on a deeper level. Watch a trailer on YouTube.

Previous winners: The Neighbor’s Window, Skin, The Silent Child, Sing, Stutterer, The Phone Call, Helium

For your information: This is the first Oscar nomination for all filmmakers. “The Present” won the BAFTA for Best Short Film, though none of the other films here were in contention.

Who should win: Unlike last year’s list, I liked this one a lot. I’m not sure I have a clear preference and would probably be fine with any of them winning since they’re all impressive and worthwhile.
Who will win: I suspect that Two Distant Strangers in the frontrunner, but it could honestly be any of them.

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