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Which Oscar-Nominated Live Action Short Film of 2014 Will Win?

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Ranging from quirky comedies to uplifting tragedies and downright serious dramas, the Oscar-nominated live-action short films have something for everything. Well, maybe. None of the shorts really blew me away, but that’s nothing new.

Here are the five Oscar-nominated live-action short films in order of what I thought:

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5. Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?

This comedy, about a frantic mother pulled in a thousand directions by her husband and children, is under ten minutes long. It also made me laugh out loud at one part, which is rare. And yet, despite those two positives, this short did very little for me. It’s a gimmicky, one-joke story and I honestly don’t understand how it wound up on this list.

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4, Just Before Losing Everything

A woman attempts to flee from her abusive husband in the supermarket where she works in this drama that is more like a snapshot of her life than a fully fleshed-out story. While well acted and not terribly done, Just Before Losing Everything is exactly why I don’t like watching shorts: the film has no beginning and ending (especially no ending) and the directors don’t take a deep enough dive into the characters for us to care.

oscar-short-live-action-film-2014-helium

3. Helium

A hospital janitor fabricates a magical land (religions do the same: it’s called Heaven) for a dying boy that he has befriended in this harmless little drama that has its moments but ultimately isn’t all that memorable. Had the directors spent more time in the fantasy world, which is unique and clever in many ways, they might have had something; instead, it’s your typical stranger-befriends-a-dying-person story, which has been done before.

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2. The Voorman Problem

Martin Freeman and Tom Hollander star in this “star-studded” short that has a psychiatrist interviewing a seemingly insane man who thinks he is a god. The psychiatrist’s attempts to outwit his patient are repeatedly rebuffed by surprisingly sound logic in this mildly entertaining and thankfully short “comedy.” I use quotes, because the short isn’t really funny as it is lighthearted. Had this movie not starred people I recognized, I’m not convinced I would have cared. But as is, this is one I’d watch again.

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1. That Wasn’t Me

By default, the best live-action short film of 2014 is That Wasn’t Me, which is by far the most complete production of the bunch. Featuring strong performances and a disturbing story about child soldiers, That Wasn’t Me is sad yet engrossing. The story is by no means groundbreaking, but you care for the main character and, in an odd way, one of the child soldiers. The ending is a bit forced and eye-roll-inducing, but it’s still a quality short film.

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