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Awards Season 2021: Breaking Down the ‘Shorts’

As part of the Oscar voting week, I will be breaking down the potential nominees in numerous categories, and giving my official predictions as of right now of what will make it into the line-up. For this post, I will be breaking down the three ‘Shorts’ categories: Live-Action, Animation, and Documentary.

Live-Action Short

This is the hardest category for me to make a solid prediction on, based on the fact that I have only seen two of the shortlisted films as of right now. However, I can vouch that having seen Feeling Through and the handling of the subject matter of a blind-deaf person, this is the type of short that members love to put in their nominations.

The other short I have seen so far, and easily the frontrunner to win the category, is Pedro Almodóvar’s The Human Voice. From a director who had a Best International Feature nomination last year for Pain & Glory and starring Tilda Swinton, this is good enough to win on paper. It also helps that the short is incredibly strong.

Another strong bet to have on your ballot is a short titled The Letter Room, and this is purely because the lead actor in it is Oscar Isaac. Just like with The Human Voice, it majorly helps that there is a recognisable name attached to the film, and will be one of the first ones that Academy members will stick on.

Out of the rest of the contenders, I become unsure which ones to flesh out the rest of the list. However, judging by the subject matter and buzz seen from festival circuits, I would keep your eyes on Two Distant Strangers, Da Yie, and Bittu.

My Current Nominations:
Da Yie
Feeling Through
The Human Voice
The Letter Room
Two Distant Strangers

Animated Short

Netflix had two strong animated short films release this past year, and yet Canvas unfortunately missed out on the shortlist. However, the favourite for the entire category is Netflix’s If Anything Happens I Love You, a powerful yet much darker animated short that is hard not to be emotionally connected to. It is available to watch now and a fantastic piece of work.

Disney+ also has access to a few of the shorts that are shortlisted, however again there is one that you should pay attention to. Disney decided to tell a beautiful coming out story in Out, having a gay couple be the focal point of the story. Not only is this major for the company, but it will be rewarding to see the film nominated at the Academy Awards.

It is not just Disney and Netflix competing for the nominations however, as one other animated short that I saw blew me away. Kapaemahu not only has a beautiful art style, but an important story about Hawaiian culture and is a story that I feel will captivate Academy members. Keep your eye on it during the nominations.

Whilst I have not seen these animated short films, I still feel like possible contenders to keep your eyes on include Opera, Genius Loci, and To Gerard. These are once again films that are doing the festival circuits, available to watch easily in the US and have some great reviews and what looks like solid animation work.

My Current Nominations:
If Anything Happens I Love You
Kapaemahu
Opera
Out
To Gerard

Documentary Short

This is the category I have seen the most out of, and my favourite out of all of the documentaries so far has been one that has done the circuits. It showed at the Sundance Film Festival, and they have been pushing the marketing well. If you have missed A Concerto is a Conversation, you need to try and watch it and put it in your predictions.

Netflix loves to compete in any documentary award, and that includes the shorts. They have numerous shorts up for the nomination this year, but I particularly believe that both A Love Song for Latasha and The Speed Cubers have what it takes to make the list. Completely different styles of documentary shorts, but both compelling and easy to watch on the platform.

One of the most powerful documentaries in the shortlist this year is Abortion Helpline, This Is Lisa. Focusing on the subject matter of abortions and the current laws that are still in place preventing women from getting the help they need, this is a documentary that inspires conversation and change and in a year where we got a new president, I think a film like this can make a case to earn a potential win.

One of the few documentary shorts that I have not seen but have only heard great things about is Hunger Ward, and that is currently my final selection for the nominations. However, I would also keep my eyes on Do Not Split and What Would Sophia Loren Do? as potential spoilers.

My Current Predictions:
A Concerto is a Conversation
A Love Song for Latasha
Abortion Helpline, This is Lisa
Hunger Ward
The Speed Cubers

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