Oscars 2014: Best Live-Action Short Shortlist

I say every year, this one is the biggest crap shoot of them all.

Most of the categories I can reasonably talk my way through. This one — no idea. I can probably, maybe, get you down to a 50/50 choice, but some years, you have no idea how it’s going to turn out. It’s really hard to figure sometimes.

The last two years, I got it right, fortunately. But the two years before that — no dice. So, we’ll likely stumble our way through another year of this category, and hope everything turns out okay.

Here is your shortlist for Best Live-Action Short:

  • Aya
  • Baghdad Messi
  • Boogaloo and Graham
  • Butter Lamp (La Lampe Au Beurre De Yak)
  • Carry On
  • My Father’s Truck
  • Parvaneh
  • The Phone Call
  • SLR
  • Summer Vacation

– – – – –

Aya

Two strangers unexpectedly meet at an airport. He mistakenly confuses her to be his assigned driver. She, enchanted by the random encounter, does not hurry to prove him wrong.

Here is a trailer for it:

Baghdad Messi

Iraq, 2009. Little Hamoudi (10) is totally obsessed with football. Just as the rest of the world, he and his friends are eagerly looking forward to the Champions League finale FC Barcelona-Manchester United. The long awaited clash between Messi and Ronaldo. But then Hamoudi’s television breaks down…

Here’s a trailer:

Boogaloo and Graham

In 1970’s Belfast two young boys discover the facts of life aided by the help of their pet chickens.

No trailer or anything from this yet.

Butter Lamp

A young itinerant photographer and his assistant suggest to Tibetan nomads to photograph them in front of various background.

Trailer:

Carry On

During the brutal withdrawal of Japanese forces at the end of WWII, a Chinese father does whatever he can to save his family.

Trailer:

My Father’s Truck

My Father’s Truck is a part coming-of-age part road film about 10-year-old Mai Vy as she skips school one day to help her father with his passenger truck for hire.

Trailer:

Parvaneh

Parvaneh is a young Afghan immigrant who recently arrived at a transit centre for asylum seekers in the Swiss Alps. The only things she has got to know yet are the rural area surrounding the centre and the centre itself.

Trailer:

The Phone Call

Heather is a shy lady who works in a helpline call centre. When she receives a phone call from a mystery man, she has no idea that the encounter will change her life forever.

Here’s a link to where you can watch the entire film:

http://www.indiewire.com/article/watch-short-film-the-phone-call-with-sally-hawkins-and-jim-broadbent-will-absolutely-wreck-you-in-a-good-way-20141020

SLR

A man obsessed with voyeur pornography makes a shocking discovery, forcing him onto the trail of an anonymous photographer known by his online username ANORAK.

Here’s the entire film to watch:

Summer Vacation

Sea, sun, island, a family on vacation. And all Yuval wants is to get the heck out of there.

Here’s the entire film to watch:

– – – – – – – – – –

So that’s all ten of them.

Basing this purely on my experience and opinions:

The Phone Call is on, and might even win.

Aya is probably on.

Boogaloo and Graham is right up their alley. Irish short featuring kids is always a fast track to a nomination.

Didn’t get Summer Vacation at all, and don’t think that will really make much headway. Possibly nominated, since you can never rule out anything, but I wouldn’t go for it.

SLR is all right, but I don’t know if they’d nominate it. I’ll leave that as a maybe.

Parvaneh seems like a swing film. Might, might not. We’ll see.

My Father’s Truck might be a trap. It might be one I’d say yes to that won’t end up on.

Butter Lamp — that one’s interesting. That one could sneak on and no one could see it coming. It seems to not have any kind of plot whatsoever, though. I don’t know if that helps it in this category. It’s harder because I can’t see it. I see a 30 second clip where a dude takes a photo of people and nothing else. Though, doing some further research, I see what the trick is behind this film, and I think it’s a sneaky potential nominee.

Carry On — I don’t know. Seems a bit intense. I feel like there were similar nominees on previous shortlists that didn’t get on. Of course, that doesn’t mean a damn thing, and will likely be the reason I get it wrong, come nominations day, but right now, I’m leaning toward no. I feel like they want either star power, affecting emotional movies, or cute escapist shorts. This feels like neither, so I’m not inclined to say it’ll get on.

And Baghdad Messi feels like something I wouldn’t think would be on that would probably get on. Didn’t they nominate that other Middle East soccer short a few years ago? This is the kind of stuff I have to go on. Especially without being able to see half of them. I bet if I watched all ten I could tell you which will be on and which won’t. Right now, going on three, I can only tell you one for sure.

I’d say, if I had to rank the likelihoods of nominations, here’s how I’d do it:

1. The Phone Call

2. Boogaloo and Graham

3. Aya

4. Baghdad Messi

5. Butter Lamp

6. Parvaneh

7. My Father’s Truck

8. SLR

9. Carry On

10. Summer Vacation

– – – – –

I say your top six are probably the most likely nominees. But it’s Live-Action Short, so I have no clue how it’ll turn out. This is a category where I’ll benefit from having as much time as possible to see as many of the films as possible.

Especially since, it’s not like anyone else knows anything about this category. We’re all just grasping at straws.

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