2023 Oscar-nominated shorts

An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake

On two days in mid-February, my wife and I saw some of the 2023 Oscar-nominated shorts at the Spectrum Theatre in Albany, NY.  I found some of the films online, which I have linked to.
Live action
Ivalu – DENMARK/16 MINS/2022

Director: Anders Walter, Pipaluk K. Jørgensen

“Ivalu is gone. Her little sister,” Pipaluk, “is desperate to find her. Her father does not care. The vast Greenlandic nature holds secrets. Where is Ivalu?”

While it was a touching bit when Pipaluk would retrace the locales they used to hang out, it was an unsatisfactory conclusion.

Night Ride (Nattrikken)  – NORWAY/15 MINS/2020

Director: Eirik Tveiten

“It is a cold night in December. As Ebba waits for the tram, an unexpected turn of events transforms the ride home into something she was not expecting.”

I liked this piece a lot, possibly my favorite in the category. It was pretty funny, held a degree of danger, and showed real humanity.

More Live Action
Le Pupille ITALY, USA/37 MINS/2022

Director: Alice Rohrwacher

“From… Academy Award® winning producer, Alfonso Cuarón is a tale of innocence, greed, and fantasy. [It] is about desires, pure and selfish, about freedom and devotion, and about the anarchy that is capable of flowering in the minds of girls within the confines of a strict religious boarding school at Christmas.”

As the longest of the pieces, the story is the most complex, taking place in World War II Italy.  It is or was on Disney+. I enjoyed it.

The Red Suitcase -LUXEMBOURG/18 MINS/2022

Director: Cyrus Neshvad

“A young Iranian woman at a Luxembourg airport is in a life-changing situation.”

While totally believable, it was most frustrating because we wanted to know what happened next.

An Irish Goodbye – IRELAND/23 MINS/2022

Director: Tom Berkeley, Ross White

“On a farm in rural Northern Ireland, estranged brothers Turlough and Lorcan are forced to reunite following the untimely death of their mother.”

My wife’s favorite, and for a good reason, even though we couldn’t suss out bits of the dialogue. The family tension rang true. It won the BAFTA in this category.


An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It -AUSTRALIA/11 MINS/2022

Director: Lachlan Pendragon

“When a young telemarketer is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich, he learns that the universe is stop-motion animation. He must put aside his dwindling toaster sales and focus on convincing his colleagues of his terrifying discovery.”

This had a Truman Show/end of a Lego Movie vibe. BTW, the ostrich may be correct. I liked it a lot.

The Flying Sailor – CANADA/7 MINS/2022

Director: Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby

“In 1917, two ships collided in the Halifax Harbour, causing the largest accidental explosion in history. Among the tragic stories of the disaster is the remarkable account of a sailor who, blown skyward from the docks, flew a distance of two kilometres before landing uphill, naked and unharmed. The Flying Sailor is a contemplation of his journey.”

I wish I had known the above before I watched it for the first time. NOW it makes more sense.

More animation

Director:  João Gonzalez

“Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff, to go to the village on the ground, far away where they sell the ice they produce daily.”

The comments helped me understand this better than I did on first watching.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse -UK/34 MINS/2022

Director: Peter Baynton, Charlie Mackesy

It “is a story of kindness, courage, and hope in traditional hand-drawn animation, following the unlikely friendship of the title characters as they journey in search of the boy’s home. Based on the book of the same name.”

I liked the traditional artwork. It’s strange, though; I can believe the talking animals, yet we both had trouble figuring out where the boy came from. How did he not freeze to death? I think this is streaming on Apple+.

Animation with a warning

My Year of Dicks -USA/25 MINS/2022

Director: Sara Gunnarsdóttir // Writer: Pamela Ribon

“An imaginative fifteen-year-old is stubbornly determined to lose her virginity despite the pathetic pickings in the outskirts of Houston in the early 90s. Created by Pamela Ribon from her critically-acclaimed memoir.”

Before it aired in the theater, there was a warning that the content may not be suitable for some. The last time I saw that message, it was some grossly bloody and inartful six minutes.

This was fun in five chapters, the first of which is here. My favorite part, though, was Chapter 5, when the protagonist asks her mom a personal question, and the mom makes the dad explain sex to the daughter. I found it extremely funny.


I didn’t see the docs in the theater, but I did view two on YouTube.

THE ELEPHANT WHISPERERS – Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga

HAULOUT– Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev
Ninety thousand walruses outside your door is a sure sign that the planet’s ecosystem is out of whack.
THE MARTHA MITCHELL EFFECT – Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison
STRANGER AT THE GATEJoshua Seftel and Conall Jones
I saw a brief piece about a “Veteran’s Return from the Brink of Terrorism” on CBS Sunday Morning. I found this to be a powerful telling of how hate can be turned around. A review of all of the short documentaries states this film “reads a little too optimistic for the current moment.” I have no idea what that means.
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