STUTTERER || From my limited experience in the Oscar Challenge, I can tell you that more often than not, the Academy drifts towards the shorts that make them feel warm and cozy. They tend not to like being challenged by their shorts and for that, “Stutterer” is the sweet story of a young man that has a nasty stutter. But that doesn’t stop him from chatting with a lovely girl online or expressing his thoughts, no matter how slowly, to his father while playing chess. It’s when this online girl wants to meet that brings out the drama of the film. This isn’t at the top of many pundits lists, but I’m going with my gut.
SHOK || Two boys dealing with an oppressive military, “Shok” is equal parts a coming of age story about two young boys and a moving tale of remembering the past and dealing with regrets. There are some graphic moments in this short that make me feel like the Academy will stray away from picking this one, especially the closing scene, which is still burned into my mind. The acting, however, is top notch, especially from the children, which is often noticed by the Academy as well.
EVERYTHING WILL BE OKAY || My personal favorite, “Everything Will Be Okay” explores the mind of a father separated from his daughter. The day starts out normal as they go to spend their day together but things unravel in the most surprising ways, which I will save for you because experiencing them without knowing is half the fun of the short. It’s uncomfortable, it also has an amazing performance by a child, and it’s something that is rarely explored in cinema, which I appreciated.
DAY ONE || Speaking of not being able to get images out of my mind, “Day One” explores the first day of a translators tour with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan, dealing with explosions, lying to little girls to get information, and ultimately giving birth to a baby despite having absolutely zero medical training. The short explores the mentality of war, the laws of another culture, and how willing someone is to go the distance when called upon.
AVE MARIA || The short the pundits are gravitating towards is actually my least favorite. “Ave Maria” is a religious comedy about some Jewish travelers that get stuck at a silent nunnery during Shabbat. After beheading a statue of the virgin Mary, they all must make compromises to their religion in finding a way out of the situation that they are in, led by the youngest nun, who finds herself in the middle of it all. Although shot and acted well, the short as a whole simply did not compare to the others.