Oscar week is officially in full force, with historic nominations, a unique set of nominees, and a new set of stories to tell. It is definitely a Hollywood event worth celebrating. Honoring this year’s Oscar Short Film nominees, The Academy highlighted the work of multiple directors up for the award.
Wednesday night in Beverly Hills, at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, was an evening dedicated to showcase the Short Film nominees and the stories behind them. The Short Films are separated into two different categories; Animation and Live Action Both had remarkable impact. Those present at the event were able to watch all 10 nominated shorts and hear from the directors themselves. Amongst the shorts were various filmmakers from all over the world, contributing even more to this year’s diverse nominees. Hosting the prestigious event were Academy members, Jon Bloom and Tom Sito, who introduced each film and moderated a Q & A with the creative minds behind the shorts.
Included in this year’s pool of nominated shorts were; Animated short films, Animal Behavior directed by Alison Snowden, BAO directed by Domee Shi, Late Afternoon directed by Louise Bagnall, One Small Step directed by Andrew Chesworth, and Weekends directed by Trevor Jimenez, and for Live Action short films, Detainment directed by Vincent Lambe, Fauve directed by Jeremy Comte, Marguerite directed by Marianne Farley, Mother directed by Rodrigo Sorogoyen, and Skin directed by Guy Nattiv.
After watching the Animated short film portion of the event, Tom Sito invited the directors and producers of each film to the stage for a Q & A panel to get more insight on each. When asked what the inspiration was for each of the films each panelist had their own story tied with their creation.
The inspiration behind Animal Behavior was a paralleled thought of whether or not people (in this case animals) should change their natural state of who they are in order to fit in better. For BAO, Domee shared that her mother was very much like the character we see on screen and that at times her mother wished she could just have her in her belly again to know exactly where she was at any given time. Late Afternoon was inspired by Louise’s grandmother and wanted to show their lives and happy memories before a sickness. The director for One Small Step, Andrew, told the story about how his own grandfather knew he would be a Disney Animator at a young age, but passed when he was only 10 years old and never got to see him accomplish being a Disney Animator at 27 years old. Trevor’s inspiration for Weekends was wanting to create a short from a drawing he made years before that told the story of divorced parents through a child’s perspective.
Jon Bloom also led a Q & A panel with the nominees of the Live Action shorts. As the audience sat and listened it was clear that each of the panelists faced tight shooting schedules ranging from only 3 to 5 days. When the matter of financing the films was mentioned, some films such as Fauve were financed by the Quebec government and others like Skin were financed by the director/producer couple’s retirement fund. Each and every short was a reflection of hard work and a deep personal message. A theme that resonated with all the films was that the world is a dark place and all of the short nominees for Live Action presented that in their films. Detainment is based on a true story, but questions whether or not there is still humanity in the midst of atrocity as shared by Vincent. Jeremy, the director of Fauve, touched upon the subject of toxic masculinity and how that can lead to dangerous situations even with best friends. Skin, as the director and producer shared, is a current narrative of the United States and how it is a dark place in the world right now. Guy and Jaime both strived to display that in their short as well. One of the short films Marguerite was lighter tone in comparison to the other shorts, but as Marianne shared, the world is in fact a dark place and that motivated them to share a story filled love and compassion, and show that love is ageless.
This event was definitely a glimpse of the powerful messages the films for this year’s Oscar Awards ceremony has to share. To watch the short film nominees check out https://www.oscars.org/events/oscar-week-shorts-2 . The 91st Academy Awards are this Sunday February 24th.
Photo credit: Aaron Poole / ©A.M.P.A.S.