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Feb 17 2015

Best Documentary Short: Sad,Sadder, Saddest...

Glennhere to discuss the Oscar-nominated documentary shorts.Much gets made year in year old about how the short categories are typically the hardest to predict.It's a sentiment that bodes true for many reasons,although with the recent boost in popularity of the theatrically-released Oscar-nominated shorts programs "nobody's seen them!"has gone out the window as an excuse.We used to have little to go on with these films and usually,by default,most people would predict the most serious sounding of the lot.A movie about WWII?Sure!A movie about political conflict?Why not!A movie about children with AIDS?Gosh,how can it lose?It's simplistic,but sometimes the best method.

It's rather impossible to do that this year since all five nominees deal with subject matter that is extremely Important with a capital I.I mean,the most upbeat of the lot is the one about suicide amongst war veterans for crying out loud!PTSD,dying mothers,incurably ill babies,the oil fields of America's Midwest and death in slaughterhouses – it is a miserable collection of nominees,which makes sussing out the winner a tricky prospect.

I find myself gravitating towards HBO'sCrisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1.For starters,it's the glossiest and most watchable of the lot.Secondly,and most importantly,because it's subject matter – suicide prevention hotline operators dealing with war veterans – ties in perfectly with that of Best Picture nomineeAmerican Sniper.If voters can't give that immensely popular film any big prizes,they may as well give this one the statue.I certainly see it as a more likely winner than either of the two Polish entries,one of which –Our Curse– may just go down as one of the saddest films ever made.Likewise,The Reaperfrom Mexico,which obnoxiously parades its grotesquery around in such a fashion that I can see many voters turning it off before the end credits.The final film,the second American entry calledWhite Earthis relatively low key compared to the rest and will likely find itself overshadowed.Maybe the fact that it's not entirely soul-crushing like the rest will give it a boost,but this year's prize feels like HBO's to lose.

APP亚博娱乐 :

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1,dir.Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry (40mins)
Joanna,dir.Aneta Kopacz (45mins)
Our Curse,dir.Tomasz Śliwiński and Maciej Ślesicki (28mins)
The Reaper (La Parka),dir.Gabriel Serra Arguello (29mins)
White Earth,dir.J.Christian Jensen (20mins)

Will Win:Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1
Could Win:Joanna
Should Win: To be honest,I'm not entirely sold on either,butWhite Earth(above) is my favorite

Apart from in select cinemas,Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1is available on HBOGO.

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Reader Comments (8)

since you and Joe have both been "maybe JOANNA"while predicting other things I'M going to predict Joanna ;)

February 17,2015 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Joanna was absolutely gorgeous and,despite the story it tells,rather funny.It'd definitely get my vote.Crisis is my second choice and my best guess for what actually will win since it's so concrete compared to Joanna's ethereal feel.

White Earth is also beautiful,but it didn't feel complete,as though it set up this world and then never went anywhere.

I wonder: did Our Curse rub anyone else the wrong way?With all the scenes of the parents sitting on their sofa discussing their child's future,it all felt very inauthentic to me.

February 17,2015 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

I honestly doubt Crisis Hotline will win.It's a far too conventional and uninspired choice (in fact,both the American shorts here are the worst).The safe bet is Joanna - it's long,emotional and artsy.I would,however,love to see The Reaper win.For me,it's by far the most deserving,in totally different league.The live-action and documentary short categories at the Oscars are usually about picking the best among the worst shorts made around the world (hyperbole,亚博主页of course,but the category is pointless since there is no criteria to pick the nominees);The Reaper is the one that feels like it could actually be one of the best documentary shorts made in 2014 (if only I had the chance to watch more of them...).

Evan,I agree with you on Our Curse.Ethically,I can't get behind it,though it moves me deeply.

February 17,2015 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo Cruz

It's a superficial consideration perhaps,but I don't see the Academy honoring two Polish films this year,andIdaseems like the kind of production that is made for the Foreign Language Film Award.

February 17,2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

Evan,I didn't especially like ANY of the nominees for the reasons you cite about WHITE EARTH.So many of them felt incomplete.Like they couldn't get funding for feature length films and so just cut their stories off after half an hour.I at least appreciated WHITE EARTH's visual beauty.OUR CURSE rubbed me all sorts of wrong ways and yet I find it hard to really discuss them.it's almost as if the film is exploitative.Like,do something else with your time.Hmmm.

Gustavo,did you see THE WOMAN IN NUMBER 6 last year?The most conventional of the lot,but about a subject they like and the most accessible for the bunch.

Paul,it's funny you should say that because in the live action short category (which I'll look at tomorrow),I'd feel weird predicting THE PHONE CALL,which is also about a suicide crisis hotline.It's be strange for both of them to win,and yet it'd be strange for them to lose since they're easily the most accessible of either category (whether they're the best - they're not - is an entirely different story).

February 18,2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

I actually liked The Reaper the best of the bunch,as it felt the most "filmic"if that makes any sense,though I will admit that I didn't care for any of them particularly much.That said,it's weird to predict two suicide hotline films to win,but I'm doing it with Crisis Hotline and The Phone Call as both make the most sense.

February 18,2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

Glenn,it was pretty obvious that the Holocaust doc short was going to win,especially considering the lady had died during Oscar voting,if I'm not mistaken!I just don't see Crisis Hotline winning.I think Joanna is a safer bet.If I knew the profile of the people voting (say they are actually invested in good cinema),I could very well put my money on The Reaper,which stands out.

I'm halfway through watching the live action shorts (seen Parvaneh,The Phone Call and Butter Lamp).I also don't think they are going to award The Phone Call and Crisis Hotline - if they are going to pick one,the likeliest choice the one with great acting from Sally Hawkins lol.I don't get how The Phone Call is more accessible than Parvaneh,which is actually quite uplifting.

February 18,2015 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo Cruz

Glenn,I agree that many of them felt incomplete.It's part of the reason that I think Joanna is the best-- it felt the fullest.

And I do agree that White Earth is beautiful.But otherwise for me,I was left wondering a lot about its characters-- like why is that kid not going to school?!

February 18,2015 | Unregistered CommenterEvan

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