The Oscars Short Films category has become an increasingly important part of the Academy Awards ceremony, shining a spotlight on the best and brightest emerging talent in the film industry.
As we approach the 94th edition of the Academy Awards, the short film category is once again generating buzz and excitement among moviegoers and industry insiders alike.
In this article, we will take a look at some of the standout short films that are in contention for the coveted Oscars trophy in 2022.
From innovative animation to thought-provoking documentaries, these films showcase the creativity and diversity of the short film genre and are sure to leave a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.
Animated Short Films
Robin Robin, directed by Dan Ojari and Mikey Please, is a heartwarming and visually stunning animated short film that tells the story of a young robin who was raised by mice. This 32-minute film was released in 2021 and has been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
The story follows the journey of Robin, a small and curious bird who doesn’t quite fit in with the mice who raised her. She struggles to fly and catch mice like her siblings, but she is determined to find her place in the world. When she discovers the truth about her identity, she sets out on a quest to find her true family and where she truly belongs.
The animation style of Robin Robin is unique and captivating, as it blends stop-motion and 2D animation. The characters are created using stop-motion animation, while the backgrounds and environments are drawn using 2D animation. This style gives the film a charming and nostalgic feel that perfectly complements the story.
The attention to detail in the animation is impressive, and every scene is beautifully crafted. The use of light and shadow creates a sense of depth and texture that makes the characters and environments feel real and tangible. The animation style also contributes to the storytelling by emphasizing the contrast between the natural world and the world of the mice.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Robin finally learns to fly. The animation captures the sheer joy and excitement of this moment, as Robin soars through the air with freedom and grace. Another standout moment is when Robin discovers the truth about her identity and realizes that she is not a mouse, but a bird. The emotional impact of this scene is heightened by the stunning visuals and the music.
Overall, Robin Robin is a delightful and heartwarming film that is sure to appeal to audiences of all ages. Its unique animation style, engaging characters, and touching story make it a must-see for anyone who loves animation. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a heartwarming and visually stunning cinematic experience.
Boxballet is a stunning animated short film directed by Anton Dyakov that tells the story of a lonely box who dreams of dancing ballet. The film is a visual masterpiece, with a unique and captivating animation style that perfectly complements the storytelling.
The main character, the box, is brought to life through the use of intricate and detailed animation. The box’s movements are graceful and fluid as if it were a real ballerina. The animation style is not only impressive but also crucial to the storytelling, as it allows the audience to connect with the box and feel its emotions.
Throughout the film, we follow the box’s journey as it tries to fulfill its dream of becoming a ballerina. Along the way, the box encounters various obstacles and challenges, but its determination and passion never waver. The film’s message of following your dreams and never giving up is both inspiring and heartwarming.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when the box first discovers its love for ballet. The animation in this scene is particularly beautiful, with the box’s movements perfectly synchronized with the music. Another memorable moment is when the box finally gets the chance to perform on stage, showcasing its incredible talent and proving that anything is possible if you believe in yourself.
Overall, Boxballet is a must-see for anyone who appreciates beautiful animation and touching storytelling. It’s a film that will leave you feeling inspired and uplifted. I highly recommend it to audiences of all ages, especially those who love ballet and the arts. Boxballet is a true gem of a film, and it’s no surprise that it was nominated for an Oscar.
Bestia is a heartwarming and visually stunning animated short film directed by Hugo Covarrubias and Tevo Díaz. The film tells the story of a young girl named Nena who lives in a small village in the mountains of Mexico. Nena loves animals, but her father is a hunter who views them as a source of food and income. One day, Nena discovers a wounded rabbit and decides to care for it. As she nurtures the rabbit back to health, she begins to see animals in a new light and learns to appreciate their beauty and worth beyond their utility to humans.
The animation style of Bestia is a standout feature of the film. The characters are rendered in a simple, almost minimalist style, with bold outlines and bright colors. The backgrounds are lush and detailed, creating a vivid and immersive world. The animation style perfectly captures the natural beauty of the mountains and the animals that inhabit them, emphasizing the film’s message about the importance of preserving and respecting the natural world.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Nena takes the rabbit on a walk through the forest. The camera follows the pair as they move through the trees, and the animation captures the dappled sunlight filtering through the leaves and the rustling of the underbrush. It’s a moment of pure joy and wonder, and it perfectly encapsulates the film’s themes of connection and appreciation for nature.
Overall, Bestia is a beautiful and moving film that will resonate with audiences of all ages. It’s a perfect choice for families looking for an inspiring and uplifting story, or for anyone who appreciates excellent animation and storytelling. I highly recommend this film and believe it would be a worthy winner of any accolades it receives.
Affairs of the Art
Affairs of the Art is a charming and humorous animated short film directed by Joanna Quinn and Les Mills. The film tells the story of a struggling artist named Annie who is trying to make a living by selling her artwork on the streets of London. Despite her talent, Annie’s paintings are not selling, and she becomes increasingly frustrated with her lack of success.
As Annie struggles to make ends meet, she meets a wealthy collector named Mr. C who takes an interest in her work. Mr. C offers to buy all of Annie’s paintings, but in exchange, he wants her to paint a portrait of him. Annie reluctantly agrees, and as she begins to paint Mr. C’s portrait, she discovers that he is not the kind and generous person he appears to be.
The animation style of Affairs of the Art is unique and adds to the storytelling in a significant way. The film is hand-drawn, and the characters are caricatures with exaggerated features. This style of animation highlights the humor in the film and adds to the overall whimsical and lighthearted tone.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when Annie is painting Mr. C’s portrait. As she paints, she notices that Mr. C is becoming more and more grotesque. His features become distorted, and his true nature is revealed. This scene is a perfect example of how the animation style adds to the storytelling. The exaggerated features of the characters allow for a more expressive and dynamic portrayal of their emotions.
Overall, Affairs of the Art is a delightful and entertaining film that is sure to leave a smile on the viewer’s face. The film is suitable for all ages, and anyone who appreciates art and humor will enjoy it. I highly recommend this film and believe it is a worthy nominee for Best Animated Short Film at the Oscars.
The Windshield Wiper
The Windshield Wiper is a stunning animated short film that was directed by Alberto Mielgo and Leo Sanchez. The film tells the story of a young girl who is on a road trip with her father when their car windshield wiper breaks down. As they wait for a mechanic to arrive, the girl discovers a world of creatures living inside the car and begins to interact with them.
The main character of the film is the young girl, who is curious and adventurous. She is the one who discovers the creatures living inside the car and takes the lead in exploring this new world. The creatures themselves are a fascinating group of characters, each with their own unique personality and quirks.
The animation style of The Windshield Wiper is truly breathtaking. The film is a beautiful blend of 2D and 3D animation, with a unique visual style that is both colorful and atmospheric. The animation style helps to convey the sense of wonder and excitement that the young girl feels as she discovers this hidden world.
One of the standout moments in the film is when the young girl first discovers the creatures living inside the car. The camera zooms in on her face as she looks in amazement at the tiny creatures scurrying about. Another memorable moment is when the girl and the creatures work together to fix the broken windshield wiper, showing the power of teamwork and collaboration.
Overall, The Windshield Wiper is a delightful and imaginative film that is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. The animation style is truly unique and adds a lot to the storytelling, while the characters are lovable and engaging. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a fun and visually stunning animated short.
This film would be particularly enjoyable for children and families, as well as anyone who appreciates beautiful animation and imaginative storytelling. It’s a must-see for fans of animated films and is definitely worthy of its nomination for Best Animated Short Film at the 2021 Oscars.
Documentary Short Films
When We Were Bullies
When We Were Bullies is a powerful documentary directed by Jay Rosenblatt that delves into the complex issue of childhood bullying. Through a series of interviews with adults who were once bullies, Rosenblatt explores the root causes of this behavior and the long-lasting impact it can have on both the bully and the victim.
The film features a diverse group of individuals, ranging from former high school jocks to former mean girls, who candidly share their experiences with bullying. While some express remorse for their actions, others struggle to come to terms with the harm they caused. Through their stories, Rosenblatt paints a vivid picture of the psychological and emotional toll of bullying, both on those who perpetrate it and those who are victimized by it.
The film’s style and cinematography are a testament to Rosenblatt’s skill as a filmmaker. The documentary is shot in a minimalistic style, with the camera often focused on the interviewees’ faces as they recount their stories. This allows the audience to fully immerse themselves in the emotional weight of the film, as the interviewees’ pain and regret are palpable.
One scene that particularly stood out to me was when a former bully tearfully recounts the moment he realized the impact of his actions. He describes how he saw a girl he had bullied years before, and how she was still visibly shaken by the experience. It’s a poignant moment that encapsulates the film’s message: that the consequences of bullying can last a lifetime.
Overall, When We Were Bullies is a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant documentary that tackles a difficult subject with sensitivity and nuance. While the film is undoubtedly difficult to watch at times, its message is an important one, and I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in exploring the complex issue of bullying. Its audience is anyone who is interested in the topic of bullying and its impact on both the bully and the victim.
Three Songs for Benazir
Three Songs for Benazir is a captivating and poignant documentary directed by Elizabeth Mirzaei and Gulistan Mirzaei. The film tells the story of a young Afghan girl named Benazir who dreams of becoming a singer, despite the obstacles she faces in a society that oppresses women and restricts their freedoms.
The film follows Benazir as she navigates her way through a music school in Kabul, where she is the only girl in a class full of boys. Despite the challenges she faces, Benazir perseveres and proves herself to be a talented singer, earning the admiration and respect of her teachers and classmates.
The filmmakers use a mix of interviews, footage of Benazir’s performances, and scenes from her daily life to tell her story. The result is a beautifully crafted film that captures the essence of Benazir’s spirit and determination.
The cinematography in Three Songs for Benazir is stunning, with the filmmakers using a mix of handheld and stationary shots to capture the beauty and complexity of Afghanistan. The film is shot in a way that makes the viewer feel like they are right there with Benazir, experiencing her triumphs and setbacks alongside her.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when Benazir performs in front of an audience for the first time. The filmmakers use close-up shots of her face and hands to capture the intensity of her emotions as she sings, and the joy and pride she feels when the crowd cheers for her.
Overall, Three Songs for Benazir is a must-see film that will leave viewers feeling inspired and moved. The film is a powerful reminder of the resilience and strength of the human spirit and a testament to the transformative power of art.
I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in the power of music, the struggles faced by women in male-dominated societies, or the beauty and complexity of Afghanistan. This film would be particularly relevant for educators, activists, and anyone who is interested in promoting gender equality and social justice.
Lead Me Home
Lead Me Home, directed by Pedro Kos and Jon Shenk, is a poignant and powerful documentary that takes viewers on a journey through the lives of several formerly incarcerated men and women as they navigate their newfound freedom and attempt to reintegrate into society. The film explores the challenges and obstacles faced by those who have been imprisoned, from the stigma and discrimination they encounter to the difficulty of finding employment and housing.
The film’s main subjects are a diverse group of individuals, each with their own unique story and struggles. From a young man who was sentenced to life in prison for a crime he didn’t commit to a woman who spent years behind bars for a drug offense, Lead Me Home offers a deeply personal look at the lives of these individuals and the impact that incarceration has had on them and their families.
The visual style of the film is both intimate and immersive, with stunning cinematography that captures the raw emotion and humanity of the subjects. The filmmakers use a combination of close-up shots and sweeping landscapes to create a sense of intimacy and connection with the characters, while also highlighting the beauty and complexity of the world around them.
One of the most striking scenes in the film is when the subjects visit a prison to speak to inmates who are still incarcerated. The contrast between their experiences is stark, and the emotions that arise from this encounter are both heartbreaking and inspiring. Another standout moment is when one of the subjects struggles to find housing due to his criminal record, highlighting the pervasive discrimination that ex-convicts face even after they have served their time.
Overall, Lead Me Home is a thought-provoking and deeply moving documentary that sheds light on an important issue and gives voice to those who are often marginalized and forgotten. While the film may be difficult to watch at times, it offers a powerful message of hope and resilience that is sure to resonate with audiences. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in social justice issues or looking to gain a better understanding of the impact of incarceration on individuals and communities.
Audible, directed by Matthew Ogens and Geoff McLean, is a powerful and emotional documentary that explores the lives of deaf high school students in Maryland. The film follows the story of Amaree McKenstry, a star football player who is also deaf, as he navigates his senior year and prepares to leave his close-knit community to attend college.
One of the most striking aspects of Audible is its visual style. The filmmakers use a mix of intimate interviews, stunning slow-motion shots of football games, and immersive sound design to create a truly absorbing experience. The cinematography is particularly impressive, with shots of the football field and the surrounding Maryland countryside that are both beautiful and haunting.
Throughout the film, we get to know Amaree and his friends, as well as their families and teachers. We see the challenges they face as deaf students in a hearing world, from struggling to communicate with their peers to dealing with the barriers that prevent them from fully participating in sports and other activities. But we also see the incredible strength and resilience of these young people, as they work to overcome these obstacles and achieve their goals.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film comes towards the end, as Amaree prepares to say goodbye to his family and community and move on to college. The scene is shot in slow-motion, with Amaree walking through his high school and hugging his friends and teachers, while a moving score plays in the background. It’s a beautiful and emotional moment that captures the bittersweet nature of growing up and moving on.
Overall, Audible is a stunning and thought-provoking documentary that sheds light on an often-overlooked community. It’s a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll, and it’s definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of powerful storytelling and beautiful cinematography. While the film is primarily focused on the experiences of deaf students, it has a universal message about the power of community, friendship, and perseverance that will resonate with audiences of all backgrounds.
The Queen of Basketball
The Queen of Basketball is a fascinating documentary that chronicles the life of Lusia Harris, an incredible athlete who broke barriers and shattered stereotypes in the world of women’s basketball. Directed by Ben Proudfoot, this film is a must-see for anyone interested in sports, history, or social justice.
The film follows Lusia Harris from her childhood in a small town in Louisiana to her college years at Delta State University, where she became the first woman to dunk in a college basketball game. The documentary also explores the challenges Harris faced as a black woman in the 1970s when women’s basketball was still largely ignored and undervalued.
One of the strengths of The Queen of Basketball is its focus on Harris as a person, not just as an athlete. The film features interviews with Harris herself, as well as with her family members, friends, and former teammates. These interviews provide insight into Harris’s personality, her motivations, and the impact she had on those around her.
The film’s visual style is also noteworthy. Proudfoot incorporates a mix of archival footage, reenactments, and contemporary interviews to tell Harris’s story. The cinematography is stunning, with sweeping shots of the Louisiana landscape and intimate close-ups of Harris and her loved ones.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Harris describes the feeling of dunking a basketball for the first time. Her excitement and joy are palpable, and it’s clear that this moment was a defining one in her life. Another standout moment is when Harris’s former coach at Delta State University reflects on the discrimination and racism Harris faced during her time at the school.
Overall, The Queen of Basketball is a powerful and inspiring documentary that sheds light on an important figure in sports history. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in women’s sports, civil rights, or the human spirit. This film would be particularly meaningful for young athletes, especially girls and young women, who can look to Harris as a role model and trailblazer.
Live Action Short Films
Please Hold, directed by K.D. Dávila and Levin Menekse, is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that takes a deep dive into the world of customer service. The film follows the lives of several call center employees who work tirelessly to solve customer problems, all while dealing with their own personal struggles.
The film’s style and cinematography are both incredibly effective in telling the stories of these individuals. The filmmakers use a mix of talking head interviews and observational footage to give viewers a glimpse into the day-to-day lives of call center workers. The camera work is intimate and personal, allowing viewers to feel as though they are right there with the subjects.
One particular scene that stood out to me was when we see a customer verbally abusing a call center worker, who remains calm and professional throughout the interaction. This scene really drives home the emotional toll that customer service work can take on individuals, and it’s clear that the filmmakers wanted to highlight this issue.
Overall, I was extremely impressed with Please Hold. The film sheds light on an often-overlooked profession and does so in a way that is both engaging and informative. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in exploring the human side of customer service work. It’s a must-see for anyone who has ever worked in the industry or interacted with a call center employee.
On My Mind
On My Mind is a 2021 documentary directed by Martin Strange-Hansen and Kim Magnusson that explores the world of competitive memory athletes. The film follows a group of individuals as they prepare for the World Memory Championships, where they will compete to see who can memorize the most information in the shortest amount of time.
The main subjects of the film are a diverse group of memory athletes from around the world, including a former world champion, a young prodigy, and a retiree who has taken up memory training as a hobby. Through interviews and footage of their training, we get an inside look at their unique approaches to memorization and the challenges they face in their pursuit of excellence.
The visual style of the film is sleek and modern, with a focus on clean lines and bold colors. The cinematography is particularly striking, with close-ups of the athletes’ faces and hands as they work through their memorization exercises. The use of slow-motion shots and stylized graphics helps to emphasize the intense focus and mental agility required for this type of competition.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when the athletes are given a deck of cards to memorize in five minutes. The camera follows each athlete as they flip through the cards, committing them to memory. The tension builds as the clock ticks down, and we see the athletes pushing themselves to their mental limits in a race against time.
Overall, On My Mind is a fascinating and engaging look at a world that most of us know very little about. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by highlighting the mental athleticism required for competitive memorization. I would highly recommend this film to anyone interested in the power of the human mind or the world of competitive sports. This film would appeal to a wide audience, including fans of documentaries, sports enthusiasts, and anyone interested in exploring the limits of human potential.
The Dress is a fascinating and emotional documentary directed by Tadeusz Łysiak and Maciej Ślesicki that explores the life of a beautiful wedding dress and the women who have worn it throughout the years. The film is a touching and poignant tribute to the power of love and the enduring nature of the human spirit.
At the heart of The Dress is the titular garment, a stunning and ornate wedding dress that has been passed down through generations of women in one Polish family. The film follows the dress as it is worn by various brides, each of whom brings their own unique story and perspective to the piece. From a young woman who wears the dress during a wartime wedding to a modern bride who chooses to honor her family’s traditions by donning the dress, each woman’s experience with the garment is deeply personal and moving.
The filmmakers use a variety of visual techniques to tell the story of The Dress, including archival footage, interviews with the women who have worn it, and stunning shots of the dress itself. The cinematography is particularly striking, with sweeping shots of the Polish countryside and intimate close-ups of the dress’s intricate details. These visual elements help to create a sense of affinity and connection between the viewer and the women who have worn the dress over the years.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film occurs when the dress is being prepared for its latest wearer. As the dress is carefully lifted out of its box and examined by the bride-to-be and her family, there is a palpable sense of history and tradition in the air. The scene is both beautiful and emotional, highlighting the weight of the dress’s legacy and the importance of family and tradition.
Overall, The Dress is a stunning and emotional documentary that will resonate with anyone who has ever experienced the power of love and family. The filmmakers have done an excellent job of capturing the essence of this remarkable garment and the women who have worn it, creating a film that is both visually stunning and deeply moving. I would highly recommend The Dress to anyone who is interested in exploring the power of tradition and the enduring nature of love.
Ala Kachuu – Take and Run
Ala Kachuu – Take and Run is a documentary that explores the ancient tradition of bride kidnapping in Kyrgyzstan. Directed by Maria Brendle and Nadine Lüchinger, the film delves into the cultural and societal factors that contribute to this practice, and the impact it has on the women who are abducted.
The film follows the story of Ayperi, a young woman who was kidnapped and forced into marriage by a man she barely knew. Through her experiences, we see the devastating effects of bride kidnapping, both on the individual and on the wider community. The filmmakers also interview experts and activists who are working to combat this practice, shedding light on the complex social and political issues that surround it.
The visual style of the film is understated and intimate, with a focus on close-ups of the characters’ faces and subtle details that convey their emotions. This approach allows the viewer to connect with the subjects on a deeper level, and to feel the weight of their experiences.
One scene that stands out is when Ayperi describes the moment she was kidnapped and the terror she felt as she was taken away from her family and friends. Another powerful moment is when we see a group of women protesting against bride kidnapping, holding signs that say “My Body is Not Your Tradition.”
The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating an atmosphere of intimacy and empathy. We feel as though we are right there with Ayperi and the other characters, experiencing their struggles and triumphs alongside them.
Overall, Ala Kachuu – Take and Run is a powerful and important documentary that sheds light on a little-known practice and its devastating effects. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in social justice, human rights, or gender issues. This film will particularly resonate with those who are interested in exploring the complexities of cultural traditions and their impact on individuals and communities.
The Long Goodbye
The Long Goodbye, directed by Aneil Karia and Riz Ahmed, is a powerful and emotionally charged documentary that tells the story of a British-Pakistani rapper, Zed (played by Ahmed), who is struggling to come to terms with the diagnosis of his father’s dementia. The film explores the themes of identity, family, and loss, as Zed grapples with the reality of losing his father and the impact it has on his own life.
The Long Goodbye is a visually stunning film that masterfully weaves together intimate family moments with Zed’s music performances. The film’s style and cinematography are crucial elements that contribute to the storytelling. The use of handheld cameras and close-up shots creates a sense of intimacy and immediacy, allowing the audience to feel as though they are a part of Zed’s journey. The use of music is also a powerful tool that helps to convey the emotional weight of the story.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when Zed performs a rap song that he wrote about his father’s illness. The raw emotion in his voice and the haunting melody of the music are incredibly moving, and it’s a moment that will stay with you long after the film is over. Another poignant scene is when Zed visits his father in the hospital and sings a traditional Pakistani song to him. The scene is shot in a single take, and the use of natural light creates a beautiful, almost dreamlike quality.
Overall, The Long Goodbye is an incredibly moving and thought-provoking film that will resonate with anyone who has experienced the pain of losing a loved one. The film’s themes of identity and family are universal, and the story is told with honesty and authenticity. I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates powerful storytelling and beautiful cinematography. This film is particularly relevant to those who have experienced the pain of losing a loved one to dementia or other illnesses. The Long Goodbye is a must-see film that will leave a lasting impact on its audience.
2022 Oscar Short Film Winners
Animated – “The Windshield Wiper”
Documentary – “The Queen of Basketball”
Live Action – “The Long Goodbye”