2019 Oscar-nominated Live Action Short Films Review

For over a decade, ShortsTV has proudly brought the Oscar-nominated Short Films to audiences across the globe. This exclusive release features the year’s most spectacular short films and for a limited time is available to watch on the big screen. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation, or Documentary.

The films go into theaters around the world on February 8 and are not released anywhere else until a few days before the Oscars, when they are also made available February 19 via on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The release ensures the greatest number of viewers can see all the nominees before the ceremony, while providing short filmmakers with an unprecedented opportunity to commercialize their movies.

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The Live Action Short nominees are:

Detainment (director Vincent Lambe, Ireland, 30 min) – Based on the incident of Jon Venebles and Robert Thompson in 1993 who were found guilty of the murder of James Bulger when they were 10 years old. “Based on transcripts and records,” the two young boys are interrogated separately after leading a toddler, James, off from a mall. Robert is defiant; John repeatedly breaks down. The two boys give great performances, but I have no idea the purpose of telling the story.

Fauve (director Jeremy Comte, Canada, 17 min) – In French, two young boys are playing out in the wild, wandering around. They come across a quarry they think is abandoned. They run off to hide in what appears to be a bog of cement, which leads to dire consequences. The story slowly demonstrates how simply and quickly lives can be altered.

Marguerite (director Marianne Farley, Canada, 19 min) – Also in French, viewers spend a few days with the elderly Marguerite and her caregiver Rachel, who checks in on her. After Marguerite learns that Rachel has a girlfriend, she reflects on her unrequited love for a woman named Cecile. This is a tender story about a woman looking back at what could have been.

Mother (Madre) (director Rodrigo Sorogoyen, Spain, 19 min) – A six-year-old boy calls his mother who is alone on a beach, unsure of where he’s at. He went on vacation in France with his father, who has left him to allegedly go back to a back and pick up some dolls the boy left at a caravan. The heightened emotions are understandable but then things get overly melodramatic and hard to accept.

Skin (director Guy Nattiv, USA, 20 min) – This is an ugly story about racism and revenge that isn’t very clever or original. A group of neo-Nazis viciously attack an African American man. One member is kidnapped and held for 10 days as his tattoos are covered up. Once the outcome of the revenge is revealed, the ending is obvious.

Not sure how two of these shorts even made the final cut considering how negative and unnecessary they are. Of the remaining three, Fauve was the one that would get my vote because it had the best story and execution.

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Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site.

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