The 79th Academy Awards held in 2007 brought forth a captivating lineup of Short Film nominees, showcasing the immense storytelling talent within the concise format. From mesmerizing animations to powerful documentaries and gripping live-action dramas, the 2007 Oscars Short Film category celebrated the best and brightest emerging voices in the film industry.
Each film offered a unique perspective, demonstrating creativity, technical expertise, and the ability to evoke profound emotions within a limited runtime. In this article, we will explore the Best Short Film nominees of the 79th Academy Awards, analyzing what made each film stand out in its respective category.
These exceptional works demonstrate the incredible potential of short films to captivate, inspire, and challenge audiences, while also providing a platform for aspiring filmmakers to showcase their talent on the grand stage. Join us on this journey as we celebrate the artistry and storytelling brilliance of the filmmakers who left an indelible mark in the world of cinema in 2007.
Animated Short Films
The Danish Poet
The Danish Poet (2006), directed by Torill Kove, is a charming and introspective animated short film that weaves together themes of love, destiny, and the creative process. This delightful Oscar-nominated film takes us on a whimsical journey as it explores the interconnectedness of lives and the power of storytelling.
The plot revolves around Kaspar Jørgensen, a successful and renowned Danish poet who finds himself suffering from writer’s block. In search of inspiration, he travels to Norway to meet the woman who inspired one of his earlier poems. Along the way, we learn about the life of Ingeborg, a young woman with a keen interest in plants and a desire to break free from the restrictions of her rural existence. The film skillfully intertwines the stories of these two characters, examining how chance encounters and the choices we make shape our lives.
The visual style of The Danish Poet is characterized by its hand-drawn animation, which exudes a sense of warmth and simplicity. The use of soft, pastel colors and gentle, fluid movements creates a tranquil and nostalgic atmosphere that complements the film’s contemplative tone. The animation style, with its delicate details and subtle expressions, adds depth and richness to the storytelling, enhancing the emotional impact of the characters’ journeys.
One of the standout scenes in the film occurs when Kaspar is lost in a snowstorm during his journey. The animation beautifully captures the harshness of the elements, with swirling snowflakes and gusts of wind that convey a sense of isolation and uncertainty. This visually stunning sequence serves as a metaphor for Kaspar’s internal struggles and the challenges he must overcome to find his creative voice.
Another memorable moment is when Ingeborg recounts the story of her grandmother’s love affair through a series of intricate paper cutouts. The animation seamlessly transitions between the paper cutouts and the characters, blurring the lines between reality and the world of storytelling. This creative and imaginative approach adds layers of depth to the narrative, emphasizing the power of storytelling as a means to connect and inspire.
The Danish Poet is a delightful and heartwarming film that leaves a lasting impression. It beautifully captures the beauty of life’s small moments and the interconnectedness of human experiences. The film’s introspective and gentle tone, combined with its poetic narrative and visually enchanting animation, makes it a gem worth discovering.
I wholeheartedly recommend The Danish Poet to anyone who appreciates artistic storytelling and seeks a contemplative and emotionally resonant cinematic experience. Its universal themes of love, fate, and the transformative power of creativity make it accessible to a wide range of audiences. Whether you are a fan of animation or simply someone who enjoys thought-provoking storytelling, this short film is sure to captivate and leave you with a renewed appreciation for the beauty of life’s intricate tapestry.
Lifted, directed by Gary Rydstrom, is a charming animated short film that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007. The film tells the story of an alien named Stu who is tasked with abducting a sleeping human and bringing him back to his spaceship for a test. However, Stu is a novice and struggles to complete the task, resulting in a hilarious and entertaining sequence of events.
The animation style in Lifted is impeccable, with the use of lighting and textures giving the film a realistic feel despite the fantastical subject matter. The attention to detail in the character design and the environments is also impressive, with every object and surface rendered with care and precision.
One of the standout moments in the film is when Stu attempts to operate the spaceship’s controls, resulting in a series of mishaps and a comical struggle for control. The way the animation and sound design work together in this scene is particularly effective, creating a sense of chaos and confusion that is both humorous and thrilling.
Overall, Lifted is a delightful and entertaining short film that is sure to appeal to audiences of all ages. Its clever storytelling, impressive animation, and charming characters make it a standout in the world of animated cinema. If you’re looking for a fun and lighthearted film to watch, Lifted is definitely worth checking out.
The Little Matchgirl
The Little Matchgirl (2006), directed by Roger Allers and Don Hahn, is a heartwrenching animated short film that captures the essence of Hans Christian Andersen’s poignant tale. This beautifully crafted adaptation follows the story of a young impoverished girl trying to sell matches on the cold and snowy streets of a bustling city.
The main character, the little matchgirl, is a fragile and innocent child with big dreams and a resilient spirit. Through her journey, we witness her struggles and longing for a better life, as she faces rejection and indifference from passersby. With each match she strikes, she envisions magical scenes and encounters that momentarily transport her away from her harsh reality.
The animation style employed in The Little Matchgirl serves as a powerful tool to enhance the storytelling. The film showcases a blend of traditional hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery, resulting in a visually stunning and emotionally evocative experience. The use of vibrant colors during the matchstick-lit sequences creates a sharp contrast against the predominantly gray and bleak backdrop, emphasizing the girl’s fleeting moments of joy and imagination.
Several scenes and moments in the film stand out, leaving a lasting impact on the viewer. One notable instance is when the little matchgirl envisions a warm and loving family gathering through the light of a single match. The animation beautifully captures the warmth and tenderness of the scene, juxtaposed with the coldness of the streets, making it a truly heartrending moment.
Another powerful scene occurs towards the end of the film when the little matchgirl gazes up at the starry sky. The animation perfectly captures her sense of wonder and the vastness of the universe, symbolizing hope and the possibility of a better life beyond her struggles. It is a poignant reminder of the beauty and magic that can be found even in the darkest of times.
The Little Matchgirl leaves a profound impression, not only through its visuals but also through its emotional depth and themes of hope, compassion, and the resilience of the human spirit. The film serves as a poignant reminder of the importance of empathy and the recognition of the struggles faced by the less fortunate in society.
Overall, I highly recommend The Little Matchgirl to both animation enthusiasts and those seeking a moving and thought-provoking cinematic experience. Its short runtime of just over six minutes manages to capture a wide range of emotions, leaving the viewer with a profound sense of empathy and reflection. Although it may be too emotionally intense for younger audiences, older children and adults will appreciate the film’s depth and artistry. Prepare yourself for a poignant and visually mesmerizing journey into the heart of a little girl’s dreams and aspirations, and be ready to have your heart touched and your spirit uplifted.
Maestro is a stunning animated short film directed by Géza M. Tóth that was nominated for an Academy Award in 2007. The film tells the story of a stubborn orchestra conductor who is struggling to get his musicians to play a particular piece of music the way he wants it. As the conductor becomes more and more frustrated, he starts to lose control of himself and his musicians, and chaos ensues.
The animation style of Maestro is absolutely breathtaking. The film is entirely hand-drawn, and the attention to detail is simply astounding. Every frame is filled with intricate patterns and textures, and the characters are beautifully rendered. The animation style is perfectly suited to the story, as it allows the filmmakers to convey the conductor’s emotional state in a very visceral way.
One of the standout scenes in Maestro is the moment when the conductor completely loses control of the orchestra. The music becomes chaotic and dissonant, and the characters start to morph and twist in grotesque ways. It’s a truly haunting sequence that perfectly captures the conductor’s descent into madness.
Overall, Maestro is a stunning piece of animation that is both visually impressive and emotionally resonant. It’s a film that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled, and it’s definitely worth seeking out. While the film may not be suitable for very young children, it will appeal to anyone who appreciates beautiful animation and complex storytelling. If you’re a fan of animated films, Maestro is not to be missed.
No Time for Nuts
No Time for Nuts is a charming and witty animated short film directed by Chris Renaud and Mike Thurmeier. The film was released in 2006 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film.
The plot revolves around Scrat, a lovable and determined saber-toothed squirrel who is on a quest to find an acorn. However, his journey takes a wild turn when he finds a time machine and accidentally travels through time. He encounters prehistoric creatures and futuristic technology, all in his pursuit of the elusive acorn.
The animation style of No Time for Nuts is visually stunning and adds to the storytelling. The attention to detail in the character design and backgrounds is impressive. The prehistoric creatures are realistically animated, and the futuristic technology is imaginative and exciting. The film also uses a muted color palette to create a nostalgic and dreamy atmosphere.
One of the standout scenes is when Scrat travels to the future and encounters a robotic version of himself. The scene is hilarious and cleverly animated, with the two squirrels engaging in a comical battle over the acorn.
Overall, No Time for Nuts is a delightful and entertaining short film that will leave audiences of all ages laughing and smiling. It is a must-watch for fans of animation and those who appreciate a good adventure story. I highly recommend this film and believe it will appeal to a broad audience.
Live Action Short Films
West Bank Story
West Bank Story, directed by Ari Sandel, is a witty and satirical take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The film, which won the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2007, tells the story of two rival fast food restaurants, the Kosher King and the Hummus Hut, located on opposite sides of a checkpoint in the West Bank. Amidst the tension and conflict, the young workers at the restaurants, David and Fatima, fall in love and must navigate the obstacles that their families and communities put in their way.
The animation style of West Bank Story is a unique blend of live-action and animation. The film uses bright colors and playful animations to add humor and levity to the serious subject matter. The animation also allows the filmmakers to use creative visual metaphors, such as the giant wall that separates the two restaurants, to illustrate the complexities of the conflict.
One of the standout scenes in the film is the opening musical number, which parodies the opening of West Side Story. The song and dance sequence introduces the audience to the two rival restaurants and sets the tone for the film’s lighthearted approach to the conflict. Another memorable moment is the scene where David and Fatima meet for the first time, which is shot in slow motion with a romantic soundtrack, highlighting the young couple’s chemistry and the challenges they face.
Overall, West Bank Story is an entertaining and thought-provoking film that is accessible to a wide audience. While it deals with a serious topic, the film’s use of humor and animation makes it an enjoyable watch. The film’s message of hope and reconciliation is also an important one, especially in today’s political climate. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a fresh and fun take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Binta and the Great Idea (Binta y la Gran Idea)
Binta and the Great Idea (Binta y la Gran Idea) is a heartwarming live-action film directed by Javier Fesser and Luis Manso. The film was released in 2006 and was nominated for an Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film.
The story follows Binta, a young girl living in a small village in Africa, who has a dream of bringing clean water to her community. Despite facing obstacles and opposition from those around her, Binta remains determined to make her idea a reality. With the help of her friends, family, and a kind-hearted businessman, Binta’s great idea becomes a reality.
The film’s visual style is a unique combination of live-action and animation. The animation style is used to bring Binta’s imagination to life, showing her vision of a world where everyone has access to clean water. This contributes to the storytelling by allowing the audience to see the world through Binta’s eyes and understand the importance of her idea.
There are several scenes in the film that stand out, including the moment when Binta first shares her idea with her father and the scene where her vision of a world with clean water is brought to life through animation. These scenes are powerful and emotional, capturing the determination and passion of Binta and the impact of her idea.
Overall, Binta and the Great Idea is a beautifully crafted film that delivers an important message about the power of one person’s idea to make a difference in the world. It is a film that can be enjoyed by all ages and is particularly relevant for those interested in social justice and environmental issues. I highly recommend this film and believe it is a must-see for anyone looking for an inspiring and uplifting story.
Éramos Pocos (One Too Many)
Éramos Pocos (One Too Many) is a 2006 live action film directed by Borja Cobeaga that tells the story of a dysfunctional family in a comedic and heartwarming way. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2007 and has gained critical acclaim for its clever storytelling and engaging characters.
The film follows the life of a man named Julian, who is struggling to balance his work life with his family life. His wife has left him, leaving him to care for their young daughter, Sofia, on his own. Julian’s mother, who is a constant source of stress and annoyance, comes to stay with him and Sofia to help out, but her presence only makes things worse. Julian’s life is turned upside down when his estranged wife returns, adding one too many to the already chaotic household.
The characters in the film are well-developed and relatable, with each one bringing their own unique perspective to the story. Julian is a sympathetic character who is doing his best to keep his head above water but is constantly being pulled in different directions. His mother is a hilarious and overbearing presence who provides some of the film’s funniest moments. The relationship between Julian and his wife is also explored in a way that feels authentic and relatable.
One of the most striking aspects of the film is its use of animation. The film seamlessly blends live-action footage with animated sequences, which add an extra layer of depth to the storytelling. The animation style is whimsical and playful, which contrasts nicely with the more serious themes of the film.
There are several scenes that stand out in the film, including a hilarious sequence where Julian’s mother tries to teach Sofia how to pray, and a heartwarming moment where Julian and his wife finally reconcile. The film is full of small moments like these that add up to create a memorable and engaging viewing experience.
Overall, Éramos Pocos (One Too Many) is a charming and well-crafted film that is sure to appeal to a wide audience. The film’s blend of humor and heart makes it a great choice for anyone looking for a feel-good movie that still has something meaningful to say. I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates clever storytelling and engaging characters.
Helmer & Son
Helmer & Son is a charming and heartwarming Danish film directed by Søren Pilmark and Kim Magnusson. The movie follows the story of a father and son who run a small animation studio together. The father, Helmer, is a grumpy and old-fashioned man who struggles to adapt to new technology and changes in the industry. His son, Johann, on the other hand, is a talented and creative animator who dreams of making it big in the world of animation.
The film is visually stunning, with a mix of live-action and animation sequences that seamlessly blend together to tell the story. The animation style is reminiscent of classic hand-drawn animation, with vibrant colors and expressive character designs that bring the story to life. The animation style contributes to the storytelling by highlighting the contrast between Helmer’s old-fashioned approach to animation and Johann’s innovative ideas. It also adds a magical and whimsical element to the film that makes it feel like a fairytale.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when Johann creates a short animated film about his father’s childhood. The animation is beautifully done, with a nostalgic and dreamlike quality that captures the essence of Helmer’s memories. The scene is both heartwarming and bittersweet, as it reveals the pain and trauma that Helmer has been carrying with him for years.
Overall, Helmer & Son is a delightful and uplifting film that will appeal to anyone who loves animation, family dramas, or stories about following your dreams. It’s a film that celebrates the power of creativity and the importance of family, and it does so with humor, heart, and a touch of magic. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is looking for a feel-good movie that will leave them with a smile on their face.
The Saviour is a gripping and thought-provoking drama that tells the story of a young man named Neville, played by David Gulpilil, who is struggling to find his place in the world. Directed by Peter Templeman and Stuart Parkyn, this 2006 Australian film explores themes of identity, family, and the search for meaning in life.
The film’s style and cinematography are integral to its storytelling. The use of long, slow shots and muted colors creates a sense of isolation and emptiness that mirrors Neville’s own feelings of loneliness and disconnection. The camera often lingers on Neville’s face, capturing his inner turmoil and the weight of his past.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film takes place when Neville visits his mother’s grave. As he stands there, the camera slowly pans out, revealing the vast, empty landscape around him. This scene perfectly captures Neville’s sense of isolation and the weight of his past, and it’s a haunting and unforgettable moment.
The performances in The Saviour are exceptional, particularly Gulpilil’s portrayal of Neville. He brings a quiet intensity to the role, conveying a deep sense of pain and longing with just a few subtle gestures and expressions. The supporting cast is also excellent, with notable performances from Peter Phelps as Neville’s estranged brother and Victoria Thaine as a young woman who befriends Neville.
Overall, The Saviour is a powerful and moving film that deserves more recognition than it has received. It’s a film that will stay with you long after the credits roll, and it’s a must-see for anyone who appreciates thoughtful, character-driven dramas. While the film may not be for everyone, it will certainly resonate with audiences who are looking for something deeper and more meaningful than your typical Hollywood fare.
Documentary Short Films
The Blood of Yingzhou District
The Blood of Yingzhou District is a heart-wrenching documentary that explores the devastating impact of HIV/AIDS on the children of Yingzhou, a small village in China. Directed by Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon, this 2006 film follows the lives of several children who have been orphaned by the disease, as well as the volunteers and caregivers who work tirelessly to support them.
The film’s visual style is understated but powerful, with intimate close-ups and subtle camera movements that allow the audience to connect with the subjects on a deeply emotional level. The filmmakers also use a mix of handheld and stationary shots, creating a sense of immediacy and urgency that drives the narrative forward.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when we meet a young boy named Gao Jun. He is living with his grandmother, who is too old and frail to care for him properly. The camera follows Gao Jun as he visits the graves of his parents, both of whom died from AIDS. The boy speaks to his parents’ tombstones, telling them how much he misses them and how much he wishes they were still alive.
Another standout moment is when we meet the volunteers who work at the local orphanage. They are a diverse group of people from all walks of life, united by their dedication to helping the children of Yingzhou. We see them playing with the kids, reading to them, and doing everything in their power to provide them with a sense of love and security.
Overall, The Blood of Yingzhou District is a deeply moving and thought-provoking film that shines a light on an important issue that is often overlooked. While it is a difficult watch at times, it is also an incredibly rewarding one, as it reminds us of the power of human connection and the importance of compassion. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in social justice issues, documentary filmmaking, or simply wants to be inspired by the resilience of the human spirit.
Recycled Life is a powerful and moving documentary that explores the lives of the people who work and live in the largest garbage dump in Central America. Directed by Leslie Iwerks and Mike Glad, the film takes a close look at the daily struggles and challenges faced by the people who live in this harsh and unforgiving environment.
The film’s main characters are the residents of the Guatemala City Garbage Dump, who spend their days sorting through the trash in search of recyclable materials that they can sell for a few pennies. Despite the bleakness of their situation, the people featured in the film maintain a sense of hope and resilience that is truly inspiring.
The visual style of the film is both gritty and beautiful, capturing the stark realities of life in the garbage dump while also highlighting the resilience and strength of the people who live there. The filmmakers use a variety of techniques, including handheld camera work and stunning aerial shots, to bring the audience into the heart of the story.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film features a young girl named Rosa, who is one of the many children who live and work in the garbage dump. As Rosa talks about her dreams for the future, the camera captures her infectious smile and her unwavering determination to overcome the challenges she faces every day.
Overall, Recycled Life is a must-see documentary that offers a poignant and thought-provoking look at a community that is often overlooked and forgotten. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by providing a visceral and immersive experience that brings the audience into the world of the garbage dump.
I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in social justice issues, environmentalism, or simply wants to be inspired by the resilience and strength of the human spirit. While the subject matter is heavy, the film ultimately offers a message of hope and optimism that will resonate with audiences of all ages and backgrounds.
Rehearsing a Dream
Rehearsing a Dream, directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, is a captivating documentary that follows the lives of four young performers as they prepare for the prestigious YoungArts competition. This film is a great choice for those who are interested in the performing arts, particularly those who are curious about the challenges that young performers face as they strive for excellence.
The documentary takes us behind the scenes of the YoungArts competition, which is a national program that seeks to identify and nurture the most talented young artists in the country. We get to know four young performers intimately: a classical pianist, a ballet dancer, a jazz vocalist, and a classical vocalist. Each of these young artists is incredibly talented, but they also face their own unique challenges as they work to perfect their craft.
The film’s style and cinematography are significant contributors to the storytelling. The filmmakers use a combination of close-up shots and wide-angle shots to capture the intensity of the performers’ emotions and the beauty of their art. The camera also captures the discipline and focus that goes into preparing for such a high-stakes competition. The filmmakers also use interviews with the performers and their families to provide insight into their personal lives, which adds depth to the film.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when the classical pianist, Conrad Tao, is practicing his piece in a dark, empty concert hall. The camera focuses on his hands as they glide over the keys, and the music fills the room. It’s a beautiful moment that perfectly captures the passion and dedication that these young performers have for their art.
Overall, Rehearsing a Dream is a beautifully crafted documentary that offers a glimpse into the lives of young performers who are striving for excellence. It’s a must-see for anyone who is interested in the performing arts, and it’s particularly inspiring for young people who are pursuing their own artistic dreams. I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants to be moved by the power of art and the human spirit.
Two Hands is a 2006 documentary directed by Nathaniel Kahn and Susan Rose Behr that explores the life and work of the renowned architect Louis Kahn. The film delves into the complexities of Kahn’s personal life, his relationships with his family and colleagues, and the impact of his architectural masterpieces on the world.
Through interviews with family members, colleagues, and scholars, the film paints a vivid picture of the man behind the buildings. We see his struggles with his identity as an illegitimate child, his complicated relationships with his wives and children, and his dedication to his craft. The film also takes us on a tour of some of Kahn’s most famous buildings, including the Salk Institute in California and the National Assembly Building in Bangladesh.
The visual style of the film is stunning, with sweeping shots of Kahn’s buildings and intimate close-ups of the people who knew him best. The filmmakers use light and shadow to great effect, capturing the essence of Kahn’s designs and the emotional weight of his personal struggles.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Kahn’s son, Nathaniel, visits the Salk Institute and reflects on his father’s legacy. The camera follows him as he wanders through the empty spaces, and we hear his voiceover contemplating the meaning of his father’s work. It’s a poignant moment that encapsulates the film’s themes of family, legacy, and creativity.
Overall, Two Hands is a fascinating documentary that offers a unique perspective on one of the most influential architects of the 20th century. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating a sense of awe and wonder around Kahn’s work, while also humanizing the man behind the designs. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in architecture, art, or the creative process.
2007 Oscar Short Film Winners
Animated – The Danish Poet
Live Action – West Bank Story
Documentary – The Blood of Yingzhou District