Thursday, February 12, 2009

Oscar Death Race pt. 1 (shorts!)

It's that time of year again. Harvey Weinstein is clawing at things. Kate Winslet's left eyebrow is twitching in anticipation. Meryl Streep barely gives a shit anymore. It's Oscar Time! In less than 250 hours we will be witness to Hugh Jackman (still wtf) prancing around the stage and maybe/maybe not attempting a comedic monologue but surely embarrassing himself and his unnominated country in some way. And we here at YMD will be your guides to each and every category, telling you what should win, what will win, and what sucks ass. Look no further, it's:

I'm sure the other YMD folk, especially one Matty McD, who made this graphic and is prolly more obsessed with the Oscars than I am, will have their say in following posts, but seeing as I've actually seen the (non-documentary) shorts, I'll handle this one. That's right, for the first time in my life, I've actually seen the nominated shorts, thanks to the fine folks at IFC theatre (where they have apparently shattered the single screen weekend record!). It was a great experience, and it's nice to see that at least two Oscar categories consider domestic and foreign films on the same level. A few of the films were great, none of them were boring, and you'll be able to cop all of them at the iTunes store next Tuesday. Anyways, here we goes.

Best Live Action Short Film

- Auf der Strecke (On the Line) - dir. Reto Caffi
- Grisen (the Pig) - dir. Dorthe Warnø Høgh
- Manon sur le bitume (Manon on the Asphalt) - dir. Elizabeth Marre; Olivier Pont
- New Boy - dir. Steph Green
- Spielzeugland (Toyland) - dir. Jochen Alexander Freydank

Who Should Win?: I enjoyed all of these to different extents, but my favorites were the shamelessly tearjerking Manon sur le bitume, about a young woman dying after an accident and thinking about her friends' reactions to her death, and New Boy, about an African immigrant 4th grader on his first day of class. I think I'd take the latter, a smart and moving little film which doles out harsh reality and hope in equal measure.

Who Will Win?: Listen, Toyland is about the Holocaust. And while the Holocaust movie might not always win in reality, it's a pretty decent bet in a category with as little hype as this one. For what it's worth, it's actually pretty good and at least interestingly plotted, though the premise (a German mother tells her child that the Jews are being taken away to "Toyland") is at times as silly as it sounds. The Pig might have a shot here, as the Academy enjoys quirky old people from time to time, but I'd sleep better with money on Toyland.

Best Animated Short Film

- Maison en petits cubes, La - dir. Kunio Katô
- Oktapodi - dir. Emud Mokhberi; Thierry Marchand
- Presto - dir. Doug Sweetland
- This Way Up -dir. Alan Smith; Adam Foulkes
- Ubornaya istoriya - lyubovnaya istoriya (Lavatory, Lovestory) - dir. Konstantin Bronzit

Who Should Win?: I absolutely loved This Way Up, a dark British short about two funeral home workers trying to move a casket across some less than ideal terrain. It's morbid, it's hilarious, and it is strong with the HooDoo.

Who Will Win?: Presto is a Pixar joint, and everybody loves Pixar. Also, it looks great and is really funny. But keep in mind this award isn't voted for by the whole Academy, but rather by a committee who has to have seen all of the films, and I wouldn't be surprised to see one of the whimsically hand drawn entries, specifically Maison en petits cubes, La, about a man swimming through his sunken house (and about the compartmentalization of memory) to get the win. So I'm picking the French film just ahead of the Pixar.

That's part one of several. Wot do yall think? Holler holler holler.

1 comment:

Certified Matt said...

I would like to see a short movie about the creation of the Oscar Death Race graphic.