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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Oscar Nominated Shorts: In Theaters Now

ShortsHD working with Magnolia Pictures is releasing this year’s Oscar® Nominated Short Films to over 200 theaters across the United States and Canada beginning Friday, February 10th, 2012. Due to the popularity of last year’s theatrical release of the Academy Award nominated Documentary shorts audiences will now have the opportunity to see all three categories of short films before Oscar night on February 26th. These three separate theatrical programs (Documentary, Live Action and Animation) will screen across the country, accessing and entertaining an audience they might not otherwise reach.

I’m a huge fan of the short format, and strongly believe in its essential place among the film world. For years the Academy has played with the idea of eliminating the categories all together, succumbing to pressure from those that believe them to be antiquated modes of filmmaking left over from the days when movie houses actually showed shorts as part of their daily programs. However, due to a surge in public interest in recent times the Academy has rethought this suggestion and has retained the honorable format. After all, many a great future filmmaker has begun with the production of a short film, and those efforts should be duly awarded.

Having just finished watching all of this year’s fine nominees I can whole-heartedly recommend each and every one without reservation. The diversity of subjects and presentation will undoubtedly appeal to a wide scope, providing something for everyone. The animated shorts are touching and definitely family-friendly. I’m particularly found of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which is about a Buster Keaton like character who lives a life of quiet beauty among a playful group of books. And the live action films offer a nice variety of plots, ranging from heart-warming (Raju, my pick for Oscar) to out-right hilarious (Tuba Atlantic). The short documentaries are particularly moving with subjects that are issue oriented and of immediate interest. I dare anyone not to be uplifted and moved by these poignant expressions of feeling, especially The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom, my pick for the Oscar.

Although, I must say I wouldn’t be surprised if The Barber of Birmingham takes the prize come Oscar night. It is a particularly inspiring short documentary about an 85 year-old man who has lived and watched the social events that have changed this country’s view on the African American’s place in our society from the Civil Rights Movement right on up to the election of President Obama. It’s a magnificently compact film that elicits a feeling of pride and tugs at your heartstrings at the same time. I just think it may be too short to grab the statuette. It feels as if it should be longer than its 18 minutes. It seemed to end rather abruptly and left me wanting more, which I felt could have been accomplished.

In Los Angeles the Animation and Live Action shorts will be at The NuArt Theater in West LA and Regency Theatres’ South Coast Plaza in Santa Ana. The Documentary shorts will begin screening later this month on February 17 at Laemmle’s Music Hall 3. Also on the 17th you can catch the Documentaries at the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood. And still later, on the 24th, the Egyptian will be screening the Live-Action nominees, as well as the Animation nominees (check theaters for exact schedules and ticket pricing).

I urge you to take advantage of this opportunity and see these wonderfully entertaining films. Not only will you undoubtedly have a terrific theater going experience, but you’ll also have a leg up on your office Oscar pool. Think about it. Here’s three points no one ever gets (unless it’s with a wild guess) because most people never get the chance to see them, but you do. Just think how smart you’ll look. It’s a win-win situation!

Along with the theatrical run, the nominated short films will be released individually later this month on iTunes beginning February 21st. The release will also be available via cable’s Movies On Demand (MOD), distributed by In Demand and will be available via Comcast, Time Warner Cable, Brighthouse, Cablevision and Cox Communication.

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