Oscars 2016: Best Live-Action Short Shortlist

One final shortlist to get out of the way while we’re here. They announced The Live-Action Short shortlist. This is, historically, the most difficult of the Oscar categories, because you have no idea which way they’re gonna go. Animated Short, generally you can pick to their tastes, and Documentary Short, they have a definite preference. This category — no clue what they like or what they’re gonna vote for. Just when you think you have an idea, they go different.

So let’s see what we have for ourselves this year, and see if we can guess which half of this list is going to be nominated.

Here are your ten shortlisted films for Best Live-Action Short:

Bon Voyage — During a holiday cruise a sailing yacht encounters a sinking refugee boat. – Inspired by the current events in the Mediterranean sea.

Ennemis Intérieurs — During the 90s, Algerian terrorism reaches France. Two men. Two identities. One battle.

Graffiti — An apocalyptic world. A devastated city. One last survivor. Edgar has learned to survive on his own avoiding contaminated areas by the “incident” which destroyed life as we knew it. But Edgar’s routine is suddenly disrupted by the discovery of a wall with graffitis by his bed. Just one word reveals the presence of another survivor: “Anna.”

La Femme et le TGV –Elise Lafontaine has a secret routine. Every morning and evening for many years, she has been waving at the express train that passes her house. One fateful day, she finds a letter from the train conductor in her garden and her lonely life is turned upside down. She engages in a promising correspondence through poetic and thoughtful letters where the two anonymous writers share their worlds with each other. But Elise’s fairytale is cut short when the train line permanently detours for a shorter route to Paris. Not willing to do without her daily delight, Elise prompts a daring escape from her comfort zone and sets out to find the train conductor.

Nocturne in Black — In a war-ravaged Middle Eastern neighborhood, a disheartened musician struggles to rebuild his piano after it is destroyed by terrorists.

The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy — Thinking they’re doing the right thing by taking matters into their own hands, two brothers cross the line when they take a household rifle without their father’s consent. Set in contemporary middle class rural Lebanon, a country with a porous border constantly threatened by hostile infiltration, this coming-of-age story examines fraternal trust and brings into focus the ethics of seemingly innocuous violence and its consequences.

Silent Nights  While volunteering at a shelter in Copenhagen, Inger falls in love with illegal immigrant Kwame. Inger and Kwame are happy for a while, until Kwame’s phone reveals a hidden secret about his life.

Sing — Zsofi has found it challenging to fit in at her new school, but her outlook begins to change when she is admitted to the school’s famous choir. That is, until she learns that the choir director may not be the inspirational teacher she is touted to be. It will take Zsofi and her new friend Liza to reveal the truth.

Timecode — Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day.

The Way of Tea — Follows the interaction between Alex, a young skinhead, and Malik, an Arabic store owner, as they struggle to find peace between each other on a cold night in northern France.  The two chat over Malik’s offering of what may be all that is needed to restore harmony: a cup of warm tea for another fellow civilian.

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Basing this on nothing — and I’m not going out of my way to look into these trailers, because I could only put in too much thought into this now when it doesn’t matter — I would say the most likely nominees are going to be…

Nocturne in Black




The Way of Tea

Bon Voyage just feels like it’s too on the nose to work. It might be very good, but without having seen it, I don’t know if it’s legitimately good or just something that seems like it’ll be nominated because of the subject matter. Wouldn’t be surprised if it got nominated, as it sounds like it would be on the list.

Ennemis Interieurs, I don’t know what to make of it. Could be, could not be. Don’t know. Gonna say no now, because I honestly couldn’t tell you.

Graffiti sounds like the one film I’d want to see that never gets nominated. I’m saying yes just because I’d hate to be wrong on that, and because what the hell do I know? My gut says it probably doesn’t get nominated because typically the most interesting sounding ones to me don’t get nominated. It looks visually interesting, which is why I think it stands a decent chance.

La Femme et le TGV sounds like it would actually be a feature. Seems too saccharine to nominate. Which, admittedly, is what they go for in this category. But last year there was that fluffy movie about two old people who’ve lived across the street from one another for forty years and only now are starting a relationship. This just doesn’t feel like it’ll be nominated. Way too on the nose. Too “Amelie,” I think.

Nocturne in Black is exactly what they go for, I think. War-torn country, someone looking for a piano…this has all the elements to be both a nominee and a winner. Not sure it wins, but this should definitely be nominated.

The Rifle, the Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy is something that could get nominated. Kids in dangerous situations. Not sure this gets on, but you never know. If it has an emotional kind of conclusion (like Shok last year), then maybe. But right now, I’m thinking no.

Silent Nights could easily make it on. But I’m thinking it’s more likely to not just because… I don’t know. It doesn’t feel like it carries any emotional weight. But I’m guessing, so I don’t know. I’m feeling no at the moment.

Sing sounds exactly like the kind of thing they like. Children, cutesy shit. On the surface it feels like a yes, but it could easily be a no depending on where it goes. If I had a full synopsis of all of these I could probably tell you a lot better what will or won’t be nominated. Going by what I know of this, I feel like it’s something they go for.

Timecode is exactly what they go for. This shit might win. No way I guess this category without putting this on m nominees list.

The Way of Tea… it feels like the kind of thing that fits what they would like. But I don’t know if the short is any good. If anything should get left off from what I guessed, this is the one.

– – – – – – – – – –

So those are my guesses, based on nothing. Here’s a ranking of how I’d look at their chances to be nominated based on this first, initial glance.

10. The Rifle, The Jackal, the Wolf and the Boy

9. La femme et le TGV

8. Silent Nights

7. Ennemis Interieurs

6. Bon Voyage

5. The Way of Tea

4. Graffiti

3. Sing

2. Timecode

1. Nocturne in Black

That’s what I got. And now we’re done with the shortlists. Back to our regularly scheduled end of the year stuff.

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