Best Live Action Short Film 2012 Oscar Predictions

I’ll say it upfront: don’t take my word for it. The live action short film category at the Academy Awards is extremely challenging to predict, because frankly I don’t have a beat on what kind of short film the Academy is going to pick in any given year. Also, my idea of a good short film isn’t always inline (read: rarely) with what Academy voters like.

Here are my rankings for the live action short film Oscar nominees (now playing in select theaters):

No. 5. Asad

A Somali boy who wants to be a pirate (not the cool, swashbuckling kind) goes fishing instead and catches something no one expected him to in this short that somehow manages to remain sweet while addressing serious issues. While fast-paced and entertaining, the short film’s biggest strength is its setting – not the story or presentation.

No. 4. Henry

An old man searches for his missing wife, though it’s pretty clear that something else is going on in his head in this sad and emotional tale. Henry’s situation is pretty obvious early on, which is a shame because an overt revelation of his condition midway through would have had more impact, but the film is still a very well done exploration of a fading mind.

No. 3. Death of a Shadow

By far the most ambitious of the entries in the live action short category, this film follows a man who acts as a servant of death and spends his “life” watching people die. He longs for the day he can leave his purgatory and save his one true love from death. Creative and with a strong ending, Death of a Shadow has a serious chance at Oscar gold.

No. 2. Buzkashi Boys

I almost gave this movie an upset win over Paperman. This unique and imaginative tale about a husband and wife who live in the same house but are literally separated by different gravitational fields (he lives on the floor, she walks around on the ceiling – or vice versa) is eye catching and grabby. Definitely worth watching.

No. 1. Curfew

A suicidal man is saved when his estranged sister asks him to take care of her daughter for an evening. The two form an unlikely friendship. Perhaps I’m biased because this is the only English language entry of the group, but Curfew had the most emotional power for me – and is in turn my pick for best live action short film.

My prediction: Damn. All five movies are strong contenders. Curfew stands out to me the most, but I see the Oscar going to Buzkashi Boys, if for no other reason than it is an Afghani film that has nothing to do with war.

See our predictions for the Oscar-nominated animated short films and also the full list of the 2012 Academy Award nominees.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Awards & Oscars, Drama Movies, Movie Reviews