Monday, February 20, 2023

Short Cuts 2023, Part 2: Oscar's Live Action Short Film Nominees

For the 18th year, ShortsTV presents this year's Academy Award nominated animated, live action and documentary short films where they should be seen, at a theater near you (watch the trailer here). In the second of three parts, Movie Dearest takes a look at this year's five nominees for Best Live Action Short Film.

If there's a unifying theme between this year's live action nominees it is perseverance, from surviving serious family issues to just making it home in one piece.

And the nominees are...

An Irish Goodbye, Tom Berkeley & Ross White (Ireland/UK, 23 min.), trailer.

Two brothers (Seamus O'Hara and James Martin) happen upon an unexpected way to work through their grief following the death of their mother. Certainly the most whimsical of the batch, even with its somewhat grim setting, its also the one to provide the most satisfying conclusion. Shout out to the scene-stealing Paddy Jenkins as an oversharing priest.

Oscar connection: This has been a good year for Ireland as far as the Oscars go... in addition to this short, The Banshees of Inisherin earned 9 nominations, including Best Picture, and The Quiet Girl is nominated for Best International Feature.

MD Rating: 8/10


Ivalu, Anders Walter & Rebecca Pruzan (Denmark, 16 min.), trailer.

A young girl (Mila Heilmann Kreutzmann) desperately searches for her missing older sister. Based on the award-winning graphic novel by Morten Dürr and Lars Horneman, the story is as bleak as its Greenlandic setting. It touches on the sexual abuse that causes the title character to flee, yet its short runtime hinders it from fully exploring such an intense subject.

Oscar connection: Walter previously won in this category for 2013's Helium.

MD Rating: 6/10


Le pupille (a.k.a. The Pupils), Alice Rohrwacher & Alfonso Cuarón (Italy, US, 37 min.), trailer.

A group of precocious boarding school girls are the recipients of an overly-generous Christmas gift... that is, if the nuns in charge will let them have it. Having premiered at Cannes and streaming on Disney+ (in only an English-dubbed version, mind you), this is certainly the most high profile nominee. It's not overly-original and a bit too precious, but still a fun yuletide romp.

Oscar connection: Cuarón has won four Oscars out of ten nominations for the films Y tu mamá también, Children of Men, Gravity and Roma.

MD Rating: 7/10


Night Ride (a.k.a. Nattrikken), Eirik Tveiten & Gaute Lid Larssen (Norway, 15 min.), trailer.

It's a cold winter night, and a woman (Sigrid Kandal Husjord) unwittingly commandeers a trolley car to get home. What starts out as an amusing escapade turns into a tense situation when a bully confronts a young transgender passenger. The light-hearted opening sequence and the ugly, overly-extended confrontation scene throws of the balance of the story, which fails to commit to its point of "outsiders sticking together".

Oscar connection: This is the second year in a row that a nominee in this category starred a little person actor, following last year's The Dress.

MD Rating: 6/10


The Red Suitcase, Cyrus Neshvad (Luxembourg, 18 min.), trailer.

A young Iranian girl (Nawelle Ewad), her suitcase filled with her dreams of being an artist, arrives in Luxembourg where she is to meet the older man she has been betrothed to against her wishes. An intriguing set up is hampered (again) by the short runtime as well as its execution, where it appears that these two characters are the only ones in the airport considering how easy it is for one to follow the other.

Oscar connection: Luxembourg previously had an Oscar winner with the animated short film Mr. Hublot (2013).

MD Rating: 6/10

Coming soon: Reviews of the Oscar nominees for Best Documentary Short Film.

Click here for part one, with reviews of the Animated Short Film nominees.

Reviews by Kirby Holt, Movie Dearest creator, editor and head writer.

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