Thursday, February 17, 2011

The Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts 2011

If The Thespian were a member of the Academy this is how I'd rank the five nominees.

5.  Na Wewe - Belgian - in French, subtitled.    A story set in during the Rwandan massacres.    A white man and his driver are picked up by a van.    Stopped at a checkpoint the Hutu soldiers demand that they separate into Hutus and Tutsis for possible execution.    The white man is ignored.   All of the others try to convince the leader that they are Hutu, of mixed race or foreign born.    A young schoolboy is singled out for interrogation.

There's always at least one with a social commentary theme.   This is it.   While a taut drama, The Thespian felt that it was just a bit too predictable for my tastes..

4.  The Confession - UK - Two boys face their first confession.   One of the boys can't figure out what he's done bad that he can confess.  His troublemaking friend suggests that they steal a scarecrow.  This theft leads to a deeper tragedy.   Ultimately will the boy truthfully confess his role in the ensuing tragic events?

Heavy Catholic symbolism (we get it a scarecrow resembles Christ on the Cross).   The tale was a bit heavy handed for The Thespian's personal taste.

3.  God of Love - USA - the only American entry this year and the only film in black and white.    A comedy involving a nightclub crooner and dart champion and his wish that his prayers would be answered and the drummer in his band would fall in love with him.  He receives a gift of love darts.   What will he learn about love?   

It's a student film from NYU.  The lead actor, writer and director are one and the same.   While The Thespian liked the film, felt it was a bit of a vanity project.

2.  The Crush - Ireland - An 8 year old boy has a crush on his schoolteacher and gives her a toy ring.   After deciding that he will marry her when he's old enough he is crushed to find out she just got engaged to a man that the boy doesn't think deserves her.   What does he do?  Challenges the fiancee to a duel.

This was a clever little film.  A bit of a black comedy, it does make you a bit uneasy during the duel.   But it has a very satisfactory conclusion.

1.  Wish 143 - UK - a terminally ill teenage boy is offered a Wish from the UK version of the Make A Wish Foundation.   However they can't grant him what he really wants - to lose his virginity.    Through a friendship with a sympathetic priest (Downton Abbey's Mr. Carson) - he gets the chance to fulfill his dream.

This could have been maudlin.  Instead its a delightful dramedy with a few unexpected twists to the tale.  It does not turn out the way that you expect.  If The Thespian were a voter this would get my vote.

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