Oscars 2020: Best Live Action Short Shortlist

Today we’re going over Live Action Shrot because, as much as I want to wait to see if I can find most of these, not only have I been unable thus far to do that, there’s also no chance I’d actually have done it by the time this article went up. So we’re just gonna go over it now, because the other categories actually do have stuff I’m watching. Plus, let’s not pretend like 98% of people give any fucks about this category (even though there’s usually some good stuff on it).

Here’s your Live Action Short shortlist:

Da Yie
Feeling Through
The Human Voice
The Kicksled Choir
The Letter Room
The Present
Two Distant Strangers
The Van
White Eye

BittuA close friendship between two girls is eclipsed by an accidental poisoning at school.

The entire short is (was, maybe by the time this goes up before I notice) on Vimeo.


Da Yie — Young Matilda and Prince are taken on a life-changing trip by a stranger. Kids, gangsters and Ghana’s vibrant coast as you’ve never seen them.

Feeling Through — A late-night encounter on a New York City street leads to a profound connection between a teen-in-need and a DeafBlind man.

This is/was on YouTube:

The Human Voice — A woman watches time passing next to the suitcases of her ex-lover (who is supposed to come pick them up, but never arrives) and a restless dog who doesn’t understand that his master has abandoned him. Two living beings facing abandonment. (This is directed by Pedro Almodovar, from a play by Jean Cocteau, and stars Tilda Swinton.)

The Kicksled Choir — Ten-year-old Gabriel loves to sing and has one desire: to sing in the local choir. The group rides kick-sled through the snowy landscape of Northern-Norway and is known for their kindness and charity towards the village refugees. But when Gabriel’s father gets into a fight with one of the local refugees, Gabriel’s quest to join The Kicksled Choir becomes challenging.

The Letter Room — When a corrections officer is transferred to the letter room, he soon finds himself enmeshed in a prisoner’s deeply private life. (This stars Oscar Isaac.)

The Present — On his wedding anniversary, Yusef and his young daughter set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift. Between soldiers, segregated roads and checkpoints, how easy would it be to go shopping?

Two Distant Strangers — Cartoonist Carter James’ repeated attempts to get home to his dog are thwarted by a recurring deadly encounter that forces him to re-live the same awful day over and over again. Starring Joey Bada$$, Andrew Howard and Zaria Simone.

The Van — The Van stops, the doors open, and Ben comes out alive. Another few fights and he will be able to leave Albania. He still hopes his father will leave with him.

(This short is available on Amazon.)

White Eye — A man finds his stolen bicycle, which now belongs to a stranger. While attempting to retrieve it, he struggles to remain human.

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So I made it a point to not even watch the trailers for these so as not to sway my thinking on them. Since I want to try to see as many as I can before nominations. And that almost never happens, but that’s the goal. So I’ll wait to expose myself to any of these in any meaningful way and just guess this one for now purely on what I know from the synopses and who made them/is in them.

Feeling Through

The Human Voice

The Kicksled Choir

The Letter Room

The Present

Alternate: White Eye

Dark Horse: Da Yie

Surprise: The Van, Bittu, Two Distant Strangers

There’s no such thing as a shock in this category, and even the surprise category is only there because I had to put the other contenders somewhere. Again, this is based solely on my gut. Almost all of these sound like they could get on, but until I see them/trailers, I really don’t know.

I’m going on — The Present sounds like the kind of short that, if done correctly, should get on. The Human Voice nobody is betting against, with Almodovar and Swinton. Oscar Isaac could be enough star power on The Letter Room and I’ll be on that for now. But it is his wife who made it, and maybe the shortlist is the respect they’re showing and it actually won’t get on. That might actually be where I go with this in the end, depending on what I can see/how I’m feeling at the time. But for now, we’ll toss it on to show it respect. Plus it sounds like it’s more comedic and they like those comedic ones here and there. Kicksled Choir just sounds exactly like what wins this and the title is unique enough that it should for sure get enough votes to get on. So I’m never betting against that one. And Feeling Through just sounds like their speed if it’s any good. So that’s why I went those five, and the other five just had to go below. I randomly picked where they went because, as I said… haven’t seen anything yet.

I’ll become versed in this by the time we get to nominations, but for now, you have two of them and trailers for the rest. We’re all in the same boat here. We don’t get any help with this. So it’s just guesswork based on what you see in the shorts (if you’re lucky enough to see them) and how they usually vote. So we have three weeks to figure it out.

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