Written by Livia Peterson

The 90th Academy Awards will broadcast live worldwide in two weeks and hence, the Oscar loving cinephiles prefer to be prepared prior to enjoying Hollywood’s most glamorous evening and celebrate the best in motion pictures. Every year, ShortsHD theatrically release the Oscar nominated short films – live action, animation, and documentary and depending on the population of your nearest city, the cinemas will play one to three categories. With that said, the live action and animation categories are currently showing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

While the animated films program feature delightful interludes in between the films, the live action films program is satisfying, but nothing to love.

It is always difficult to predict the short film categories even though you’ve seen the films. On the one hand, ‘Negative Space’ should win, but I predict ‘Lou’ will win the Academy Award. On the other hand, ‘The Silent Child’ should win, but my gut instinct is claiming ‘Dekalb Elementary’ will win the Oscar.

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Live Action

Dekalb Elementary: A school secretary administers a 911 call to resolve a shooting incident. Several shooting incidents occurred in the United States and despite the fact we haven’t completely eradicated the problem, this relevant film taps into the zeitgeist. But once again, required to be featured length to explore the characters affected by the shooting. 5/10

My Nephew Emmett: Mose Wright attempts to protect his nephew Emmett Till from racist killers. A compelling story that required to be a feature length film. 7/10

The Eleven O’Clock: An appointment between a misunderstanding patient and a psychiatrist. The patient believes he is the psychiatrist. As they attempt to cure each other, the session is completely wild. It is hysterical, even though the narrative is limited and the stereotypical characters are one dimensional. Just roll with the absurdity and it’s guaranteed you will enjoy. 8.5/10

The Silent Child: While none of the live action short film nominees delivered the emotional oomph we’ve come to expect, this film is the closest to producing heartbreak and sobs. A woman instructs a young, deaf girl sign language and the parents neglect to provide their daughter additional support (e.g. translation from English to sign language) in school. Despite the short run time, it is a powerful tale about how communication is essential to our daily lives, even to the deaf. 10/10

Watu Wote (All of Us): The Kenya and Somalia borders are considered dangerous due to terrorist attacks and yet, the Muslim passengers protect the Christian passengers during a bus ride and demonstrate solidarity is able to prevail. It’s heroism at the most basic level, but providing the passengers character development would allow compassion. Alas, feature length suits the fascinating narrative. 5/10

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Dear Basketball: An animated narration of Kobe Bryant’s poem ‘Dear Basketball’. Simple, but sends a powerful message about pursuing one’s dreans and never giving up. Persistence allows one to move up in their desired industry if setting goals and determined to give it your all. 9/10

Garden Party: A few amphibians explore the surroundings and follow their primal instincts in a desolate upscale home. Just a cute film with a nonexistent narrative, nothing more and nothing less. 4.5/10

Lou: A young boy must return the lost and found items. We’ve come to expect greatness from the legendary Pixar, but ‘Lou’ initiates no effort in trying to stand out, even with spectacular animation and an adequate message. 5.5/10

Negative Space: Sam’s father is rarely home due to business trips; however, the father instructs Sam how to pack luggage. Impeccably examines the long distance father and son dynamic with beautiful animation, this is my favorite out of the animated nominees. 10/10

Revolting Rhymes: Based on poems by Roald Dahl, a wolf narrates to a woman about how Red Riding Hood, Snow White, Cinderella, Jack, and the pigs intersect. While ‘Revolting Rhymes’ is divided into two parts, both thirty minutes each according to the Internet Movie Database, part one is nominated for the Academy Award and Jack’s story is told in the latter film. Since part one leaves you with a cliffhanger, of course – you’ll be speculating where you can watch part two, despite the fact it did not receive a nomination.

The fairy tales combined is a odd synthesis, as one will likely receive the most out of reading or watching the the folk tales separately, especially the children. This is just a rudimentary reiteration for the adults. Predictable and subpar animation and yet, unexpectedly witty and provides moral lessons. 7/10

(Shorts HD included three additional short films in the animated program.)

Lost Property Office: A gentleman protects the misplaced items in the city transit’s Lost Property Office. While he tinkers with the items, the toy robot gramophone keep him company. Full of whimsy and definitely wish this could’ve received a nomination. 9/10

Weeds: An adorable film about weeds maturing into flowers. Aww, aww, and aww. 4/10

Achoo!: A dragon who cannot breathe fire overcomes his weakness to enjoy the New Year’s celebration in ancient China. A simple but sweet coming of age tale. 5/10



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