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10 Award Winning Shorts From Oscar History

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10 Award Winning Shorts From Oscar History

21.02.2019

Article: Tuba Altuntaş
Translation: Yetkin Nural  

During the 90 year-long Oscar history, there have been hundreds of short film nominations and some of them took the win. As the technology and understanding change over the course of time, so did the Oscars’ short film categories. Here is a small selection of Oscar-winning “live-action” shorts from the days of one vs. two roll categories till today.

Quicker and a Wink (1941)

This short by Pete Smith, who also won an Oscar with his short titled Penny Wisdom in 1937, is introducing stroboscopic photography with one of its pioneers, Dr. Harold Eugene Edgerton. The short, which makes an interesting watch for today’s digital era with limitless possibilities, is showing events that normally occur too fast for the naked eye in slow motion, such as a football player hitting the ball, a humming bird hovering and a bullet going through a light bulb.

The Bespoke Overcoat (1956)

This short is about a textile factory worker named Fender and his dramatic story. Jack Clayton, who also won several Oscars with his full feature films later on, is sitting at the director’s seat. In the film, Fender gets obsessed about owning one of the coats he helps producing, and even in death he comes back for the coat as a ghost.

Heureux Anniversaire (1962)

Jean-Claude Carrière, the screenwriter of The Unbearable Lightness of Being as well as both of Spanish surrealist Luis Buñuel’s Oscar nominated films, wrote and directed this short about the story of a couple who are trying to celebrate their anniversary. This very short story touches upon marriage, relationships and unfortunate events, while we watch the woman preparing a romantic meal while waiting for her husband, who is trying to find an anniversary gift.

Le Poulet (1965) 

Writer, director, actor and producer Claude Berri, who you might remember from the 19th century France miners’ drama Germinal, made his debut as a director with this short. The film tells the story of a boy who wants to keep the cock his father bought for dinner as a pet and tries to convince his parents that the cock is actually a hen, so that they won’t kill it.

Ray's Male Heterosexual Dance Hall (1987)

Television and film director, writer and producer Byran Gordon is another name who takes the Oscar home with his debut short. The short comedy is about a man who finds a job at a dance hall where a bunch of men meets and throws a dance party. The protagonist is played by John Achorn, who you might remember from Beverly Hills Cop.

Visas and Virtue (1997)

The film, which was inspired by true events, takes place in 1940’s Europe, when Lithuania announced joining World War 2. In the film we watch Japanese ambassador and his wife trying to make hard decisions as they find themselves in an impossible situation with hundreds of Jews being killed right in front of the embassy doors. Chris Tashima, who we see in many films as an actor, is both the writer and the director of Visas and Virtues.

West Bank Story (2006)

West Bank Story, which tells the animosity and dispute between the staff of two fast-food restaurants located right at the Israel-Palestine border, “Humus Hut” and Kosher King”, is a striking example of a short musical with a lot of dark humor. The interesting short is an adaptation of the famous West Side Story, told from the perspective of Israel - Palestine opposition, with both entertaining and critical elements.

God of Love (2010)

Luke Matheny, the writer, director and leading actor of the short, plays the darts champion Raymond who is in love with the soloist of his music band. Raymond prays every day to sway the attention of the girl, who is actually in love with another boy from the same band. His wishes finally come true when he finds a box with magical darts. Yet his life suddenly becomes much more complicated.

Helium (2013)

Anders Walter’s third short Helium is about the emotional story between a terminally ill young kid and an eccentric hospital janitor. The film takes both the sick kid and the audience away from daily struggles and onto a happy adventure through the janitor’s fantastic stories from the made-up land of “Helium”.

The Silent Child (2017) 

Inspired by a real life story, this short is about a four-year-old girl, who was born deaf. Libby, is the young daughter of a middle-class family, and she is overcoming the obstacles of being hearing-impaired using the communication skills taught by the social worker. Winning an Oscar from the last Academy Awards, this short proves once again how the smallest awareness can do a lot for hearing impaired people to get involved in daily life.

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