The Oscars are upon us—and the Oscar shorts are headed to town

La Luna”

For most Academy Awards viewers (the ceremony airs February 26 at 5:30 p.m. on ABC), the short-film categories are a chance to grab a snack or hit the bathroom. But thanks to Shorts International, the Oscar-nominated short films are more accessible than ever. The five nominated live-action and animated films will play in local theaters starting this Friday, with one day at the Orleans and a whole week at the Suncoast. (The Orleans will also show a marathon of the five films nominated for both Best Picture and Best Director—The Artist, The Descendants, Hugo, Midnight in Paris, The Tree of Life—February 25 at 12:15 p.m.)

The animated nominees are a little homogeneous, with four of the five featuring cutesy, dialogue-free tales of whimsy. The likely winner is Pixar’s charming if sappy “La Luna,” which boasts the company’s typical technical prowess and emotion-stirring storytelling. I preferred the beautifully rendered “Wild Life,” a mix of historical curiosity and bittersweet character study, about an ill-prepared Canadian pioneer.

The live-action films include just one of the Academy’s preferred dour, social-issue stories (the so-so “Raju”), along with a very funny take on time travel (“Time Freak”), a droll Norwegian look at a dying eccentric (“Tuba Atlantic”) and the likely winner, the warm Irish dramedy “The Shore,” featuring proven Hollywood talent both behind (Hotel Rwanda writer-director Terry George) and in front of (actors Ciarán Hinds and Kerry Condon) the camera. See them yourself, and you might end up with an edge in your Oscar pool.


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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Previous Discussion:

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