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Oscar-Nominated Short Films: A Collection of Overlooked Gems

By Sam Clifton; For the Clock
On February 18, 2018

When watching the Oscars, much of the attention is placed on the big categories like “Best Picture” or “Best Actor.” But, when one takes a moment to look at the stories presented in the other categories, they find that the world has a lot to offer, even if it doesn’t end up as a full-length picture.

One such opportunity is currently available at The Flying Monkey, with their screenings of the Oscar-nominated Short Films, in both the animated and live-action categories. Both categories have five films each, and they present stories old and new at the peak of their respective crafts.

In the animated category, there is “Dear Basketball,” a love letter to the sport written and narrated by Kobe Bryant. Following this is “Negative Space,” a French stop-motion piece about the narrator’s skill at packing. Next is “Lou,” a Pixar film about a being that inhabits items in a lost and found bin. Afterwards is “Revolting Rhymes,” a BBC piece that brings to life a Roald Dahl story that reimagines classic fairy tales. And, lastly, is “Garden Party,” a story about frogs hanging around a suspicious mansion.

In the live-action category, there is “Dekalb Elementary,” a piece about school shootings. This is followed by “The Silent Child,” which is about a young deaf girl and her sign language teacher. After that is “My Nephew Emmett,” a story about a real-life murder in southern America. Next is “The Eleven O’Clock,” an Australian piece which asks who is the psychiatrist and who is the patient. Finally, is “Watu Wote,” a piece about Muslim-Christian tensions in Kenya.

Having viewed them all, my best predictions for the winners are “Lou” for Best Animated Short Film and “Dekalb Elementary” for Best Live-Action Short Film. “Lou” best speaks to audiences of all ages through its ability to capture childlike wonder through non-human characters, something Pixar has mastered over its existence. While all of the live-action films have important messages, I believe that “Dekalb Elementary” will resonate the most with the Academy, considering the predominantly American membership and frequent school shooting incidents in the United States. All of these films present top-notch artistic merit and deserve to be recognized, which is why I would highly recommend seeing these works. The Flying Monkey screens these pieces at 6:30 pm on the February 20 and 21.

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