Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

25 February 2014

Oscar Nominees 2014: Part 12 of 14


Avant Que de Tout Perdre (Just before Losing Everything)
1 Nomination
  • Live-action Short Film
Director: Xavier Legrand
Cast: Léa Drucker, Anne Benoît, Miljan Chatelain, Mathilde Auneveux, Denis Ménochet, Claire Dumas, Stéphane Shoukroun

This is probably the longest of the short films in this group, and it is my favorite. Which is not to say that it is going to win because I rather imagine that it won't, but this is superb filmmaking. The (very handsome) Xavier Legrand is known primarily as an actor, but he has crafted an elegant little mystery that shifts very quickly from a confusing series of images to a taut and dangerous thriller. Excellent.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Live-action Short Film
My Rating: Not ranked

Helium
1 Nomination
  • Live-action Short Film
Director: Anders Walter
Cast: Casper Crump, Pelle Falk Krusbæk, Marijana Janković

This is the sure-fire winner of the Oscar as far as I can tell. It is a beautiful crowd-pleaser of a feature that has two things the Academy loves: storytelling and sick children. This story seemed a little worn out to my mind, but I don't think this will hamper its award chances. Helium boasts some gorgeously designed fantasy sequences and some rather beautiful acting from the young Pelle Falk Krusbæk. And, to top it all off, the film's final shot is a heartbreaking stroke of genius.
Will Win: Live-action Short Film
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

The Voorman Problem
1 Nomination
  • Live-action Short Film
Director: Mark Gill
Cast: Martin Freeman, Tom Hollander, Elisabeth Gray, Simon Griffiths

This is quirky and cute but not much more than that. I think it is supposed to be a thing where we question reality or something like that, but I just ended up thinking it was like a story two dudes come up with on a weekend. I don't mean to denigrate it; it's just that there really isn't much to this picture. It is about god, I suppose, or our arrogance about our place in the world. Or maybe it is about Belgium... not really my thing.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn't Me)
1 Nomination
  • Live-action Short Film
Director: Esteban Crespo
Cast: Alejandra Lorente, Juan Tojaka, Babou Cham, Gustavo Salmerón, Alita Rodgers Jr., Mariano Nguema

This film is about child soldiers somewhere in Africa, but the film doesn't really have much going for it. It is a kind of white-savior movie about Spanish people who kidnap child soldiers and take them to safety. But they get caught doing this and are (mostly) killed. War Witch treated this very interesting subject matter with much more nuance and style than this short film can, but more importantly than that, I am not sure what this film is trying to say at all. That forcing children to wield weapons and murder others is bad? I mean, yes, but who would disagree?
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa?
(Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
1 Nomination
  • Live-action Short Film
Director: Selma Vilhunen
Cast: Joanna Haartti, Santtu Karvonen, Ranja Omaheimo, Ella Toivoniem

This is delightfully funny and a refreshing change of pace from the mostly serious other nominees. Vilhunen's film is about a couple who is late for a wedding and has lost the gift and whose children have nothing to wear. It is a madcap bit of silliness and it is delightful, particularly when Joanna Haartti's heel turns and she drops their makeshift gift (which is a hideous plant) and falls to the ground. Fun stuff.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked