The 86th Academy Awards held in 2014 presented a lineup of Short Film nominees that were a testament to the power of concise storytelling and creative ingenuity. From poignant documentaries to whimsical animated tales and gripping live-action dramas, the 2014 Oscars Short Film category celebrated the best and brightest of emerging filmmakers.
Each film represented a unique perspective on the world and demonstrated an incredible level of creativity, technical mastery, and storytelling ability. In this article, we will take a closer look at the Best Short Film nominees of the 86th Academy Awards and explore what made each of them stand out in their respective categories.
This crop of films demonstrates the incredible potential of the short film genre to entertain, educate, and inspire audiences around the world. Get ready to be captivated by the magic of cinema and the incredible talents of these emerging filmmakers.
Animated Short Films
Mr Hublot is a heartwarming and visually stunning animated short film that was directed by Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares. The film was released in 2013 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The movie is set in a steampunk-inspired world where the main character, Mr Hublot, struggles with his obsessive-compulsive disorder.
The film follows Mr Hublot, a mechanical man who lives alone in a small apartment in a bustling city. He is a creature of habit, and his life is governed by routine. However, everything changes when he adopts a robotic dog, who quickly becomes his loyal companion. As Mr Hublot tries to adapt to his new life with his dog, he must confront his fears and anxieties to ensure his dog’s safety.
The animation style in Mr Hublot is a unique blend of 3D animation and stop-motion animation. The film’s visuals are incredibly detailed, and the steampunk-inspired world is brought to life with intricate details and textures. The animation style perfectly complements the storytelling, as it allows for a seamless integration of Mr Hublot’s mechanical world and his internal struggles.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Mr Hublot takes his dog for a walk in the city. The bustling city is full of mechanical creatures, and the attention to detail in each character’s design is impressive. The scene is beautifully choreographed, and the animation captures the chaos and energy of the city perfectly.
Overall, Mr Hublot is a charming and heartwarming film that will appeal to both adults and children. The film’s themes of acceptance and overcoming fears are universal, and the animation style is sure to captivate audiences. I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates great storytelling and beautiful animation.
Feral is a 2013 animated short film directed by Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The film tells the story of a young boy who has been raised by wolves and struggles to adapt to human society after being rescued by a hunter.
The film’s animation style is striking and unique, utilizing hand-drawn illustrations that are both simple and detailed. The use of color is minimal, with muted tones that reflect the natural environment of the film. The animation style is essential to the storytelling, as it enhances the film’s themes of nature and humanity.
The main character of the film is the young boy, who is portrayed as wild and feral, yet vulnerable and innocent. The hunter who rescues him is initially portrayed as cold and indifferent, but as the story progresses, he becomes more sympathetic and understanding toward the boy’s struggle to adapt to human society.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when the boy attempts to mimic human behavior, such as wearing clothes and eating with utensils. The animation effectively captures the boy’s awkward and uncomfortable attempts to assimilate, highlighting his struggle to reconcile his wild instincts with human customs.
Overall, Feral is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film that explores themes of nature, identity, and belonging. While it may not be suitable for young children due to some intense scenes, it is a must-watch for fans of animation and those interested in thought-provoking storytelling.
Get a Horse!
Get a Horse! is a delightful animated short film that takes you on a whimsical journey back in time to the early days of Mickey Mouse. Directed by Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim, the film was released in 2013 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
The film begins with a classic black and white Mickey Mouse cartoon, complete with scratchy film and jazzy music. However, things quickly take a turn when the mischievous Peg-Leg Pete kidnaps Minnie and takes her aboard his steamboat. Mickey comes to the rescue, but in the chaos that ensues, the characters break free from the confines of the screen and find themselves in the real world.
The animation style of Get a Horse! is a masterful blend of old and new, seamlessly integrating traditional hand-drawn animation with modern computer-generated imagery. The result is a stunning visual experience that pays homage to the early days of animation while also pushing the boundaries of what is possible in the medium.
One of the standout moments in the film is when Mickey and Pete engage in a wild, slapstick-filled chase through the countryside. The action spills out of the screen and into the theater, with the characters jumping in and out of the frame and interacting with the audience. It’s a truly immersive experience that showcases the power of animation to transport viewers to another world.
Overall, Get a Horse! is a charming and inventive film that will delight audiences of all ages. Its clever blend of old and new animation styles, along with its playful and imaginative storytelling, make it a true gem of the genre. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves animation, classic cartoons, or just a good old-fashioned adventure.
Possessions is a visually stunning and captivating short film directed by Shuhei Morita. Nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2014, this movie tells the story of a traveler who seeks shelter in a deserted shrine during a thunderstorm. Once inside, he finds himself face to face with a series of possessed objects that come to life and confront him.
The main character in Possessions is a weary traveler who seeks shelter from the storm. As he explores the shrine, he discovers various objects that have become possessed by spirits. These objects include an old umbrella, a broken lantern, and a tattered coat. Each object represents a different aspect of Japanese culture and folklore, and the traveler must navigate their challenges in order to find a way out of the shrine.
The animation style of Possessions is one of its most striking features. The film uses a combination of hand-drawn and digital animation, which creates a unique and captivating visual experience. The animation style is particularly effective in bringing the possessed objects to life, as they transform from inanimate objects into menacing creatures. The use of color is also notable, as the film employs a muted color palette that evokes a sense of mystery and unease.
One of the most memorable scenes in Possessions is when the traveler encounters the possessed umbrella. As he tries to escape, the umbrella transforms into a giant monster with multiple arms, each holding a different object. This scene is a great example of how the animation style contributes to the storytelling, as the fluid movements of the monster and the objects it wields create a sense of chaos and danger.
Overall, Possessions is a captivating and visually stunning film that is sure to appeal to fans of animation and Japanese folklore. The film’s use of hand-drawn and digital animation creates a unique and captivating visual experience, and the story is engaging and suspenseful. While the film may not be suitable for young children due to its dark themes and imagery, it is a must-see for fans of animation and Japanese culture.
Room on the Broom
Room on the Broom is a charming and delightful animated short film that was directed by Max Lang and Jan Lachauer. Based on the book of the same name by Julia Donaldson, the film tells the story of a kind-hearted witch who invites various animals to join her on her broomstick. As they journey through the skies, they encounter a fierce dragon who threatens to eat the witch and her friends. Together, they must use their wits and bravery to outsmart the dragon and save the day.
The animation style of Room on the Broom is absolutely stunning. The visuals are bright, colorful, and full of life, with each character having their own unique design and personality. The animation is smooth and fluid, making the flight scenes feel like a truly magical experience. The attention to detail is impressive, from the intricate patterns on the witch’s clothing to the dragon’s scales and fiery breath.
One of the standout moments in the film is when the witch’s broomstick breaks in half, causing the group to plummet toward the ground. The animation in this scene is thrilling and heart-pumping, with the characters frantically trying to save themselves from certain doom. Another memorable scene is when the animals work together to create a scary monster that scares off the dragon, showcasing the power of teamwork and friendship.
The animation style of Room on the Broom greatly contributes to the storytelling, as it brings the characters and their world to life in a magical and enchanting way. The visuals help to capture the whimsical nature of the story and make it a joy to watch.
Overall, Room on the Broom is a delightful animated short film that is perfect for both children and adults. It’s a heartwarming tale of friendship, bravery, and the power of teamwork. If you’re looking for a fun and magical adventure, then Room on the Broom is definitely worth checking out.
Live Action Short Films
Helium is a poignant and heartwarming film directed by Anders Walter and Kim Magnusson. The film tells the story of a terminally ill boy named Alfred who spends his days in the hospital. Alfred’s only solace is the kindhearted janitor named Enzo who tells him tales of a magical land called Helium.
The film’s style and cinematography beautifully contribute to the storytelling. The filmmakers use a dreamlike visual style that transports the audience into Alfred’s imaginary world of Helium. The use of soft colors and slow-motion shots creates a sense of wonder and magic that perfectly captures the essence of the story.
One of the standout moments in the film is when Enzo takes Alfred on a tour of Helium. The scene is visually stunning, with vibrant colors and breathtaking landscapes. The way the filmmakers seamlessly blend Enzo’s storytelling with the imagery of Helium is a testament to their skill as filmmakers.
Overall, Helium is a touching and emotional film that will leave viewers with a sense of hope and wonder. The film is an excellent example of how the power of storytelling can bring comfort and joy to those in need. I highly recommend Helium to anyone who enjoys heartwarming stories and beautiful cinematography.
This film is perfect for audiences of all ages, but especially for those who enjoy films about the power of imagination and storytelling. Helium is a film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, and it’s definitely worth a watch.
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me)
Aquel No Era Yo (That Wasn’t Me) is a heart-wrenching film that tells the story of child soldiers in war-torn Africa. Directed by Esteban Crespo, the film follows the journey of a Spanish aid worker, Paula, and a child soldier, Kaney, who she rescues from the clutches of a group of rebels.
The film’s style and cinematography are masterful in conveying the harsh realities of war. The visual storytelling is raw and intimate, bringing the viewer into the midst of the conflict. The use of handheld cameras and close-up shots creates a sense of urgency and immediacy, making it impossible to look away from the screen.
One of the most striking scenes in the film is when Kaney tells Paula his story. The camera stays focused on Kaney’s face as he speaks, and the viewer can see the pain and trauma etched on his features. It is a powerful moment that highlights the devastating impact of war on innocent children.
The film’s main characters, Paula and Kaney, are compelling and sympathetic. Paula is a strong and determined aid worker who is passionate about helping those affected by war. Kaney is a child soldier who has been forced to commit unspeakable acts, and yet he remains vulnerable and innocent.
Overall, Aquel No Era Yo is a powerful and thought-provoking film that sheds light on an important issue. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating a visceral and emotional experience for the viewer. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in social justice, human rights, and the impact of war on children.
Avant Que De Tout Perde (Just Before Losing Everything)
Avant Que De Tout Perde (Just Before Losing Everything) is a French film that was directed by Xavier Legrand and Alexandre Gavras. The film was released in 2013 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live-Action Short Film. The film’s subject matter is the life of a woman named Miriam, who is preparing to leave her abusive husband and start a new life with her children.
The film’s style is raw and intense, with an emphasis on close-ups and handheld camera work. The cinematography is gritty and realistic, with a muted color palette that reflects the bleakness of Miriam’s situation. The filmmakers use sound design to great effect, creating a sense of tension and urgency that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats.
The main character, Miriam, is played by Léa Drucker, who gives a powerful and nuanced performance. Drucker conveys the fear and desperation of a woman who is trying to protect her children from an abusive husband, while also trying to maintain a sense of normalcy in her daily life.
One of the most striking scenes in the film is when Miriam takes her children to the supermarket to buy groceries, all the while trying to keep up the appearance of a happy family. The tension is palpable as Miriam navigates the store, trying to avoid her husband, who has shown up unexpectedly. The scene is a masterclass in suspenseful filmmaking, as the audience is left wondering if Miriam will be able to get out of the store without being caught.
Overall, Avant Que De Tout Perde is a powerful and affecting film that shines a light on the issue of domestic violence. The filmmakers use a minimalist approach to storytelling, focusing on the small details of Miriam’s life and letting the audience fill in the gaps. The film is a must-see for anyone interested in social issues and is recommended for mature audiences due to its subject matter.
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?)
Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? (Do I Have to Take Care of Everything?) is a 2013 Finnish film directed by Selma Vilhunen and Kirsikka Saari. The film tells the story of a family’s chaotic morning as they prepare to attend a wedding. The mother, Sini, is trying to get everyone ready and out the door, but everything seems to go wrong.
The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating a sense of chaos and urgency. The camera follows the family as they rush around the house, trying to get ready. The use of close-ups and handheld camera work gives the viewer a sense of being in the middle of the chaos.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Sini realizes that they are late for the wedding and starts to panic. She runs around the house, trying to get everyone ready, while her husband, Jokke, tries to calm her down. The scene is chaotic and humorous, and it perfectly captures the stress of getting ready for a big event.
Another standout moment in the film is when the family arrives at the wedding and realizes that they are wearing the wrong clothes. Sini and Jokke try to make the best of the situation, but they are clearly embarrassed. The scene is both funny and relatable, as everyone has experienced a wardrobe malfunction at some point in their lives.
Overall, Pitääkö Mun Kaikki Hoitaa? is a charming and funny film that will appeal to anyone who has ever had a hectic morning. The film’s humor and relatable characters make it a must-see for anyone looking for a lighthearted cinematic experience. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys slice-of-life stories and films about family dynamics.
The Voorman Problem
The Voorman Problem is a 2013 film directed by Mark Gill and Baldwin Li that centers around the fictional character, Dr. Williams, who is a psychiatrist assigned to evaluate an inmate named Voorman. The film explores the boundaries between sanity and insanity, truth and deception, and reality and fantasy.
The main character, Voorman, is portrayed by the talented Tom Hollander, who delivers a captivating performance that keeps the audience on the edge of their seats. Throughout the film, Voorman convinces Dr. Williams that he has god-like powers and can create and destroy anything with a snap of his fingers. As Dr. Williams delves deeper into Voorman’s psyche, he begins to question his own sanity.
The film’s style and cinematography are integral to its storytelling. The filmmakers use a combination of live-action and animation to create a surreal and dream-like atmosphere. The use of animation helps to bring Voorman’s fantasies to life, while the live-action scenes provide a sense of reality. The film’s color palette is muted, which adds to the film’s somber and serious tone.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Voorman creates a fly out of thin air and then proceeds to crush it. The scene is both disturbing and thought-provoking, leaving the audience to question the nature of reality and the power of the human mind.
Overall, The Voorman Problem is a well-crafted film that will leave the audience questioning the line between sanity and insanity. The film is recommended for those who enjoy thought-provoking films that explore the complexities of the human mind.
Documentary Short Films
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life
The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life is a powerful and emotional documentary that tells the story of Alice Herz-Sommer, the world’s oldest pianist and Holocaust survivor. Directed by Malcolm Clarke and Nicholas Reed, the film explores Herz-Sommer’s extraordinary life and her unwavering love for music.
The film’s subject, Alice Herz-Sommer, is a remarkable woman who lived to be 110 years old. Born in Prague in 1903, she was an accomplished pianist and music teacher who survived the horrors of the Holocaust by playing music in the Theresienstadt concentration camp. Despite the unspeakable atrocities she witnessed, Herz-Sommer remained optimistic and hopeful throughout her life, finding solace in music and inspiring countless others with her resilience and strength.
The film’s visual style is simple but effective, using archival footage and interviews with Herz-Sommer and those who knew her to tell her story. The cinematography is understated, allowing Herz-Sommer’s words and music to take center stage. The filmmakers also use animation to illustrate key moments in Herz-Sommer’s life, adding a touch of whimsy to the film’s overall tone.
One of the most powerful moments in the film comes when Herz-Sommer talks about the importance of forgiveness. Despite the unimaginable horrors she experienced during the Holocaust, she chooses to forgive her captors and live a life of love and compassion. Another poignant moment is when Herz-Sommer plays the piano and sings, her joy and passion for music evident in every note.
Overall, The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life is a must-see documentary that will leave you feeling inspired and moved. It is a testament to the power of music and the human spirit, and a tribute to a remarkable woman who lived her life with grace and dignity. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves music, history, and stories of hope and resilience.
CaveDigger is a 2013 documentary directed by Jeffrey Karoff that tells the story of Ra Paulette, an artist who has spent the last 25 years carving out intricate and beautiful caves in the sandstone cliffs of New Mexico.
The film focuses on the passion and dedication of Ra, who has made a name for himself in the art world by creating unique and stunning underground spaces that blend art and nature. Through interviews with Ra and the people who have worked with him, we learn about the challenges and rewards of his work and the impact it has had on his life and the lives of those around him.
The film’s visual style is striking and beautiful, with sweeping shots of the New Mexico landscape and close-ups of Ra’s intricate cave designs. The cinematography is particularly impressive, capturing the colors and textures of the sandstone and the unique light that filters into the caves.
One of the standout moments of the film is when Ra takes us on a tour of one of his most elaborate and beautiful caves. As he walks through the space, he describes the inspiration behind each design element and the emotional impact it has on him. It’s a powerful reminder of the beauty and power of art, and the way it can connect us to nature and the world around us.
Overall, CaveDigger is a fascinating and inspiring film that will appeal to anyone who appreciates art, nature, or the power of passion and dedication. It’s a testament to the human spirit and the way that art can transform our lives and the world around us. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a moving and thought-provoking documentary that will stay with them long after the credits roll.
Facing Fear, directed by Jason Cohen, is a compelling documentary that explores the power of forgiveness and redemption. The film follows the story of Matthew Boger, a gay teenager who was brutally beaten and left for dead by a group of neo-Nazis in 1980s Los Angeles. Decades later, Boger unexpectedly crosses paths with one of his attackers, Tim Zaal, who has since renounced his hateful beliefs and become a gay rights activist. The two men embark on a journey of reconciliation and forgiveness, facing their past traumas and finding common ground in their shared humanity.
The film’s visual style is understated but effective, with a focus on intimate interviews and archival footage that give the viewer a sense of the historical context of the story. The use of animation and reenactments also adds depth and emotional resonance to the narrative, particularly in scenes that depict the violent attack on Boger. Overall, the film’s style and cinematography serve to enhance the emotional impact of the story, drawing the viewer in and creating a sense of empathy and connection with the characters.
One of the most powerful moments in the film comes when Boger and Zaal visit the site where the attack took place. As they stand together, reflecting on the past and their journey toward forgiveness, it becomes clear that the film is about much more than just two individuals. It’s about the transformative power of compassion and understanding, and the potential for healing even in the face of unimaginable trauma.
I highly recommend Facing Fear to anyone interested in exploring themes of forgiveness, redemption, and human connection. While the film’s subject matter may be difficult for some viewers, its message of hope and healing is ultimately uplifting and inspiring. This film would particularly resonate with audiences who are interested in issues of social justice and human rights. Facing Fear is a powerful reminder that even in the darkest of times, there is always the possibility for light and hope.
Karama Has No Walls
Karama Has No Walls is a 2013 documentary directed by Sara Ishaq that tells the story of the 2011 Yemeni revolution through the eyes of the people who participated in it. The film takes its title from the Arabic word “karama,” which means “dignity,” and shows how the people of Yemen came together to demand their basic human rights.
The film focuses on the events that took place on March 18, 2011, in the city of Sana’a, where peaceful protesters were brutally attacked by government forces. The film features interviews with the survivors of the attack, as well as footage captured by citizen journalists who were on the ground at the time.
One of the strengths of Karama Has No Walls is its visual style. The film uses a mix of footage shot by citizen journalists and professionally shot interviews to create a sense of immediacy and urgency. The cinematography is often shaky and raw, which helps to convey the chaos and confusion of the events that took place.
There are several scenes and moments in the film that stand out. One of the most powerful is the footage of the attack itself, which is both shocking and heartbreaking. The film also features interviews with the families of those who were killed in the attack, which are incredibly moving and poignant.
Overall, Karama Has No Walls is a powerful and important documentary that sheds light on an often-overlooked event in world history. The film is recommended for anyone interested in politics, human rights, or social justice. However, due to the graphic nature of some of the footage, it may not be suitable for all audiences.
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall
Prison Terminal: The Last Days of Private Jack Hall is a 2013 documentary directed by Edgar Barens that takes an intimate look at the final days of a terminally ill prisoner in the Iowa State Penitentiary. The film explores the end-of-life care provided to Jack Hall, a World War II veteran who spent his final days in a hospice unit staffed by fellow inmates.
The documentary provides a powerful insight into the lives of prisoners and the challenges they face in their final days. Through interviews with the hospice volunteers and staff, as well as with Jack Hall himself, the film explores the complex emotions that arise in a prison environment, where the line between compassion and violence can be blurred.
The cinematography of Prison Terminal is simple and understated, allowing the emotional weight of the subject matter to speak for itself. The film’s stark, muted visuals reflect the bleak reality of life in prison, while its intimate close-ups of the prisoners and staff members reveal the humanity that exists within this harsh environment.
One of the most poignant scenes in the film is when Jack Hall receives a visit from his daughter, who he has not seen in over 20 years. The emotional reunion is both heart-warming and heart-breaking, as Jack struggles to come to terms with his impending death and the regrets he has about his past.
Overall, Prison Terminal is a moving and thought-provoking documentary that sheds light on a little-discussed aspect of the prison system. While the subject matter may not be for everyone, those interested in exploring the complexities of the prison environment and the end-of-life care provided to prisoners will find this film to be a powerful and insightful viewing experience.
2014 Oscar Short Film Winners
Live Action – Helium
Animated – Mr Hublot
Documentary – The Lady in Number 6: Music Saved My Life