Oscar-nominated shorts for 2020

Hong Kong, Yemen, NYC

Feeling ThroughNormally, when I want to see the Oscar-nominated shorts, I go to the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, one of the Landmark Theatres. I generally view the Live-Action or Animated films. Unfortunately, that’s not an option; it just re-opened, but I’m not ready to go out. Nor is watching the documentaries at Proctors Theatre in Schenectady.

Luckily, they are online and I see at least some of them. This Rotten Tomatoes link from March 16 is a good starting place.

Unfortunately, I didn’t actually SEE any of the Animated Films.  Burrow, about a rabbit, is on Disney+; it doesn’t even have a trailer.  Genius Loci has a trailer on YouTube, which is lovely, but I can’t find how to access it fully.

If Anything Happens I Love You is on Netflix. “Grieving parents journey through an emotional void as they mourn the loss of a child in the aftermath of a tragic school shooting.”  Opera has bits on Instagram, but I don’t know how to access the whole thing. Vimeo has a teaser for  Yes-People.

Documentary (Short Subject)

I fared better in this category: 4 out of 5.  Colette (24:50) is on YouTube. A 90-year-old woman who was part of the French Resistance sees, for the first time, the Nazi camp where her brother died. It’s a touching character study of a woman who thought she was tougher than she was.

A Concerto Is a Conversation (13:24) is on the NYTimes.com site. “A virtuoso jazz pianist and film composer tracks his family’s lineage through his 91-year-old grandfather from Jim Crow Florida to the Walt Disney Concert Hall.” Warm conversation between the two men.

Do Not Split (35:38) is on Facebook. It “follows activists in Hong Kong as they endure violent stand-offs with police and grapple with the new restrictions imposed by mainland China.” Sometimes, it’s difficult to understand the particular strategies employed by the protestors at certain times.

Hunger Ward (45:00), from MTV,  is on something called PlutoTV. It’s about the bombing of Yemen, and the devastating effect it has on children. A six-year-old weighs 15 pounds. And it’s tough on their caretakers. Think of all of those news reports you’ve seen of exhausted and frustrated COVID nurses; that’ll give you a taste. Check out HungerWard.org to get involved.

The one I didn’t see was A Love Song for Latasha (19:00) on Netflix. “The killing of Latasha Harlins became a flashpoint for the 1992 LA uprising. This documentary evocatively explores the 15-year-old’s life and dreams.”

Short Film (Live Action)

The only one of these films I saw so far was Feeling Through on YouTube (18:25). A homeless teen meets a deaf-blind man at a bus stop. This is the film with which I was most familiar. “The film was inspired by a chance encounter with the first DeafBlind person director Doug Roland met late at night in New York City.” Marlee Matlin, an executive producer, and an Oscar-winning deaf actor promoted the film on The Daily Show with Trevor Noah.

The Letter Room (32:00) has a trailer on Vimeo. “When a kind-hearted prison officer (Oscar Isaac) is transferred to the letter room, he soon gets involved in an inmate’s personal affairs.” One CAN see the film for $6.99. Also with a trailer on Vimeo is The Present. It involves a Palestinian father and his young daughter at a border.

Two Distant Strangers has a trailer on YouTube, but I don’t know how to see the whole thing. “Cartoonist Carter James’ repeated attempts to get home to his dog are thwarted by a recurring deadly encounter that forces him to re-live the same awful day over and over again.”

Finally, White Eye likewise has a YouTube trailer, and I’d like to know how to see the film in its entirety. “A man finds his stolen bicycle and it now belongs to a stranger. In his attempts to retrieve the bicycle, he struggles to remain human.”