As the awards show season hits its peak this weekend, we look at on often overlooked, but by no means less impressive category, that of Oscar nominated shorts.
This year’s collection of short films – in the live action, animated, and documentary categories – range from a feral boy found in the woods to a 109 year old Holocaust survivor who spends her days playing the piano.
We’ve included the trailers for all the nominated shorts below, but you can catch theatrical showings of these films by finding a location near you.
Everything from a geek mainstay in Simon Pegg to a fresh take on the classic early Mickey Mouse black and white cartoons, there is something for everyone in the Animated Shorts category.
Room on the Broom
Directed by: Max Lang, Jan Lachauer
Written by: Julia Donaldson, Max Lang
A half hour animated film based on the wonderful children’s picture book written by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Axel Scheffler. Room On The Broom is a magical tale about friendship and family from Magic Light Pictures, the producers of the hugely successful The Gruffalo (also directed by Max Lang and nominated for an Oscar in 2011) and The Gruffalo’s Child. A story about a kind witch who invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat. The gang ultimately saves the witch from a fearsome dragon, and in gratitude she rewards them with a magnificent new broom which has room for everyone. Featuring the voices of Gillian Anderson (Witch), Rob Brydon (Cat), Martin Clunes (Dog), Sally Hawkins (Bird), Simon Pegg (Narrator), Timothy Spall (Dragon), David Walliams (Frog).
Directed by: Daniel Sousa
Written by: Daniel Sousa
A wild boy is found in the woods by a solitary hunter and brought back to civilization. Alienated by a strange new environment, the boy tries to adapt by using the same strategies that kept him safe in the forest.
Directed by: Laurent Witz, Alexandre Espigares
Written by: Laurent Witz
Mr. Hublot lives in a world where characters are made partially of mechanical parts, driving huge vehicles, rub shoulders with each other. A world where the giant scale of machines and the relentless use of salvaged materials reign supreme. A withdrawn, idiosyncratic character with OCD, Mr. Hublot is scared of change and the outside world. His solution: he doesn’t step foot outside his apartment! The arrival of the dog Robot Pet will turn his life upside down: he has to share his home with this very invasive companion…
Directed by: Shuhei Morita
POSSESSIONS was directed by Shuhei Morita and is part of the Short Peace Committee set of films mentored by legendary director, Katsuhiro Otomo. Set in the 18th Century, on a stormy night, deep in the mountains, a man has lost his way and comes across a small shrine. When he enters, the space suddenly turns into a room in a different world. One after another appear abandoned umbrellas, discarded kimonos, and such spectral things. The man painstakingly mends these paraphernalia, which harbor deep-seated bitterness, and brings them comfort. “How well you served people before you turned to rags. Your rest is earned.”
Get a Horse!
Directed by: Lauren MacMullan
Written by: Paul Briggs, Nancy Kruse, Lauren MacMullan, Raymond S. Persi
Walt Disney Animation Studios’ innovative new short “Get A Horse!” is a contemporary homage to the first animated shorts featuring Mickey Mouse, with all-new, black-and-white, hand-drawn animation that’s paired with full-color, 3D, CG filmmaking – in the same frame. Mickey (voice of Walt Disney), his favorite gal pal Minnie Mouse and their friends Horace Horsecollar and Clarabelle Cow delight in a musical haywagon ride – until Peg-Leg Pete shows up and tries to run them off the road. This groundbreaking short takes a sharp turn when Mickey finds himself separated from Minnie and must use every trick up his sleeve to find his way back to her. Directed by Lauren MacMullan and produced by Dorothy McKim, “Get A Horse!” is in theaters in front of “Frozen”.
Documentary Short Films
One man literally digs caves and two others find themselves friends after being on opposite sides of a hate crime. While they may not have much in common on the surface, the nominees in the Documentary Short Film category all come together to shine a light on various aspects of the human experience.
Directed by: Jeffrey Karoff
Ra Paulette digs cathedral-like, ‘eighth wonder of the world’ art caves into the sandstone cliffs of Northern New Mexico. Each creation takes him years to complete, and each is a masterwork. But patrons who have commissioned caves have cut off nearly all of his projects due to artistic differences. Fed up, Ra has chosen to forego commissions altogether and create a massive, 10-year project, his Magnum Opus.
The Lady in Number 6
Directed by: Malcolm Clarke
Written by: Malcolm Clarke, Carl Freed
The Lady In Number 6 is one of the most inspirational and uplifting stories of the year. 109 year old, Alice Herz Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor shares her story on how to achieve a long and happy life. She discusses the importance of music, laughter and how to have an optimistic outlook on life.
Karama Has No Walls
Directed by: Sara Ishaq
Karama Has No Walls is a documentary film set in Change Square, in Yemen’s capital city Sana’a, where members of a heavily armed population set aside their weapons, and peacefully assembled in early 2011 to demand the fall of Ali Abdullah Saleh’s 33 year autocratic rule.
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Directed by: Edgar Barens
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall, an HBO Documentary Film, is a moving cinema verité documentary that breaks through the walls of one of America’s oldest maximum security prisons to tell the story of the final months in the life of a terminally ill prisoner, Jack Hall and the hospice volunteers, they themselves prisoners, who care for him. HBO’s Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall draws from footage shot over a six‐month period behind the walls of the Iowa State Penitentiary and provides a fascinating and often poignant account of how the hospice experience can profoundly touch even the forsaken lives of the incarcerated.
Directed by: Jason Cohen
The worlds of a former neo-Nazi and the gay victim of his senseless hate crime attack collide by chance 25 years after the incident that dramatically shaped both of their lives. They proceed to embark on a journey of forgiveness that challenges both to grapple with their beliefs and fears, eventually leading to an improbable collaboration… and friendship.
Live Action Short Film
The task of telling a full length story in a short length film, is a daunting one. However, the filmmakers in this category dare to find enough time to fill their stories with as much depth, emotion, and at times, laughs, that are found in their 120 minute counterparts.
Directed by: Anders Walter
Written by: Christian Gamst Miller-Harris, Anders Walter
A young boy Alfred is dying, but through the stories about HELIUM – a magical fantasy world, told by the hospital’s eccentric janitor Enzo, Alfred regain the joy and happiness of his life, and finds a safe haven away from daily life.
Just Before Losing Everything
Directed by: Xavier Legrand
Written by: Xavier Legrand
While her children pretend to go to school, Miriam hurries to pick them up and take them to her work place. She explains to her boss that she has to leave the region in a rush.
That Wasn’t Me
Directed by: Esteban Crespo
Written by: Esteban Crespo
The short film AQUEL NO ERA YO, written and directed by Spanish director Esteban Crespo, tells the story of Paula and Kaney. Two characters, an African child and a Spanish woman, who could have nothing in common, but will get to join their lives forever through a life‐giving shot.
Do I Have To Take Care of Everything?
Directed by: Selma Vilhunen
Written by: Kirsikka Saari
Mother Sini wakes up in a panic: she has slept in and the family is late for a wedding. She wakes up her husband Jokke and daughters Ella, 6, and Kerttu, 4. They start to prepare themselves in a hurry. Mother is going crazy since nobody else seems to be able to do anything right. Who has messed father’s shirt, hid girls’ dresses and the wedding gift?
The Voorman Problem
Directed by: Mark Gill
Written by: David Mitchell (novel - number9dream), Baldwin Li, Mark Gill
Doctor Williams is called in to examine the enigmatic Mr Voorman, a prisoner with a peculiar affliction: he believes he is a god. The doctor must decide on the sanity of Mr Voorman: is he a faker or a lunatic? Diagnose him insane and they can ship him off to the asylum. But before making a decision, the doctor has several questions in relation to Voorman’s claim: why would a god choose to be straitjacketed in a prison, is there a way he can validate his boast and what has any of this got to do with Belgium?
Now that you’ve gotten a glimpse at them all, who is your favorite to take home an Oscar this weekend? Martin Freeman in “The Voorman Problem” perhaps? Or maybe you are rooting for Mr. Humbolt and his robot dog?
Let us know down in the comments below and tune in to ABC this Sunday, March 2 at 8 Eastern for the 86th Annual Academy Awards.