Oscar-Nominated Short Films | Film | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper

Oscar-Nominated Short Films

See all 10 of the live-action and animated short films nominated for a 2012 Academy Award

The Academy Awards are presented Sun., Feb. 26, and here's your chance to see the 10 short films nominated. The shorts screen in two programs — live action and animated.

"Pentecost," set in Ireland, is a thin riff on Catholic sanctimony and sports fandom. When an altar boy accidentally whacks a priest in the face with an incense burner, his father punishes him with no football. Then he gets a shot at redemption by his parish, where they train the boys for Mass like Knute Rockne coaching his own Irish.

In the social-issue drama "Raju," a German couple adopts a 4-year-old Calcutta orphan and soon faces a moral dilemma. The story begins well, then becomes familiar, but it's still affecting, and it stops just short of turning into melodrama.

Terry George (Hotel Rwanda) tells a tender story of regret and reconciliation in "The Shore," set in a Northern Ireland village, where a former resident (Ciarán Hinds) returns from America for a visit, his first in 25 years. Some gentle performances cut through a few equally gentle clichés.

"Time Freak," about a nerdy inventor trying (badly) to rewrite his recent past, is sweet and amusing, with a great punchline, although perhaps too redolent of Groundhog Day and David Ives (All in the Timing).

click to enlarge Tuba Atlantic
Tuba Atlantic

The very Scandinavian, slightly supernatural "Tuba Atlantic" occurs in the dead of winter, where a taciturn old Norwegian learns he has six days to live. So he spends them killing the squawking gulls that annoy him and fending off a pretty blonde "Death Angel," who wants to help him find the Lord and his long-estranged brother.

click to enlarge Dimanche/Sunday

Death is everywhere for the child in "Dimanche/Sunday," and the crows who caw as they wait to pick over the next road kill sound little different than the adults who chatter as they slaughter and devour their after-church Sunday supper.

click to enlarge The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore" is a heavy-handed piece about a bookish fellow swept up by a windstorm and thrust into a world where he becomes the willing factotum of a community of books who add color to the human inhabitants' grey lives.

click to enlarge A Morning Stroll
A Morning Stroll

"A Morning Stroll" uses three animation techniques to offer a dark whimsical look at what life is like for chickens and their human spectators in 1959, 2009 and a post-technology, post-apocalypse 2059. The more things change for Mankind, the more dangerous they become for Chicken.

In the contemplative "Wild Life," a privileged young Brit, circa 1909, moves to the Canadian frontier, where he turns his homestead into a bit of stuffy old England, despite letters home that make him sound like a pioneer.

Unavailable for screening, but included in the animated shorts, is Pixar's "La Luna," a 7-minute, dialogue-free tale from Italian director Enrico Casarosa, about a little boy who joins his father and grandfather on their fishing boat.

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