Oscars 2017: Best Live-Action Short Shortlist

Our next category (and final shortlist I haven’t dealt with for far too long) is the category I hate the most — Best Live-Action Short. The one category you are almost guaranteed to get wrong and you’re always very pleasantly surprised when you get it right. We’ve got ten shortlisted films here, and we have to figure out which five will be nominated. These are typically almost impossible to find beforehand, so we’re just gonna see what we can do.

Here’s the shortlist, before we get into what’s what:

DeKalb Elementary

The Eleven O’Clock

Facing Mecca


Lost Face

My Nephew Emmett

Rise of a Star

The Silent Child

Watu Wote: All of Us


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DeKalb Elementary — Inspired by an actual 911 call placed during a school shooting incident in Atlanta, Georgia.

The Eleven O’Clock — The delusional patient of a psychiatrist believes he is actually the psychiatrist. As they each attempt to treat each other the session gets out of control.

Facing Mecca — Pensioner Roli comes to Fareed’s assistance when the Syrian refugee is faced with the burial of his Muslim wife. Together they stumble into a bewildering forest of Swiss bureaucracy to which Roli finds beautifully simple answer.

Icebox — Oscar, a young boy from Honduras, is caught crossing the US border and sent to a juvenile immigrant processing facility. The film captures the experience of life inside the ‘Icebox’ and a young boy’s journey through the US immigration system.

Lost Face — Subienkow is in mortal danger. The fort he and his fellow fur thieves have erected in the snow is in flames – attacked by the very tribe they enslaved to build it – now only he and Big Ivan remain. As Ivan is tortured before him Subienkow must think fast to escape the terrible, protracted death that awaits him. He calls over the chief, Makamuk, and begins to bargain…

My Nephew Emmett — At 2:30AM on August 28, 1955 in the most racially divided state in the country, 64 year-old Mose Wright tries to protect his 14 year-old nephew Emmett Till from two racist killers out for blood. Based on the true story of the 1955 murder of Emmett Louis Till.

Rise of a Star — Emma is about to be the new Ballerina. But something upsets her. A secret. A secret liable to undermine what she has spent a whole life on.

The Silent Child — The Silent Child centres around a profoundly deaf four year old girl named Libby who is born into a middle class family and lives in a world of silence until a caring social worker teaches her the gift of communication.

Watu Wote: All of Us — For a decade Kenya has been targeted by terrorist attacks of the Al-Shabaab. An atmosphere of anxiety and mistrust between Muslims and Christians is growing. Until in December 2015, Muslim bus passengers showed that solidarity can prevail.

Witnesses — Stéphane, a freelance war photographer, is covering the Syrian conflict. She follows the daily existence of a young couple: Farah, a schoolteacher, and Omar, a doctor. During fighting, Stéphane takes a photo of Omar. A photo that could make headlines in the western media. Omar, convinced that the publication of this photo will put his life at risk, asks Stéphane not to send it off. But given the urgency, Stéphane has already forwarded her photos to her press agency in France: it is too late, the photo is released, altering the lives of both Stéphane and Omar.

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This is the one category where we fly completely blind and have to guess what they’re gonna do. I mean, if I saw all ten, I’d have a better idea, but I’d still not be entirely sure that I’d get all five of them.

Having looked at trailers for these…

The Silent Child seems like something they’d go for. My Nephew Emmett sounds like they’d go for it. Rise of a Star also sounds like a nominee. Watu Wote — probably the one I’d leave off that gets nominated. Witnesses — ehh. Lost Face seems well made. Not sure if it gets on. 50/50. Icebox sounds like it fits their M.O. Facing Mecca also sounds like it can work for them. The Eleven O’Clock doesn’t seem like it’ll fit, but there’s always one every year that gets on that I’d never guess, so who the hell knows. DeKalb is based on a real event and sounds like they’d go there, but it might be so unrelentingly bleak and close to home that they might not.

I hate having to guess this category. I’m gonna save all my thinking for when I actually pick them. But here’s what you got. Five of these will be nominated on Tuesday.

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