The 84th Academy Awards held in 2012 presented an incredible lineup of Short Film nominees that demonstrated the power of storytelling in its most concise form. From heartwarming animations to thought-provoking documentaries and gripping live-action dramas, the 2012 Oscars Short Film category celebrated the best and brightest of emerging talents in the film industry.
Each film presented a unique perspective on the world, showcasing a level of creativity, technical expertise, and storytelling ability that is rarely found in mainstream cinema. In this article, we will delve into the Best Short Film nominees of the 84th Academy Awards and explore what made each of them stand out in their respective categories.
These films prove that even with a limited runtime, short films can make a significant impact on audiences and the film industry as a whole. Get ready to be amazed and inspired by the creativity and talent of some of the most promising filmmakers in the world.
Animated Short Films
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a 2011 animated short film that was directed by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg. The film tells the story of Morris Lessmore, a young man who loves books and writing, and who finds himself transported to a magical world where books come to life and have their own personalities.
The film is a beautiful and touching tribute to the power of books and storytelling, and it features a wide range of memorable characters, including a group of flying books that help Morris on his journey, a playful dog, and a mysterious woman who guides him through the world of books.
One of the most striking things about The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is its stunning visual style, which blends traditional hand-drawn animation with computer-generated imagery. The result is a film that is both nostalgic and modern, with a warm and inviting feel that draws the viewer into the world of the story.
The animation style also plays a key role in the storytelling, as it allows the filmmakers to bring the books to life in a way that is both whimsical and emotionally resonant. One of the most memorable scenes in the film features Morris sitting in a library, surrounded by flying books that swirl around him in a kaleidoscope of colors and shapes, as he reads and writes with a sense of wonder and joy.
Overall, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is a truly magical and inspiring film that is sure to captivate viewers of all ages. It is a must-see for anyone who loves books and storytelling, and it is a testament to the power of imagination and creativity. I highly recommend it to anyone who is looking for a heartwarming and visually stunning cinematic experience.
La Luna is a heartwarming animated short film directed by Enrico Casarosa that was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2012. The film tells the story of a young boy named Bambino who accompanies his father and grandfather on a boat to work for the first time. Bambino soon discovers that his family’s job is to clean the stars off the moon, but the three generations have different ideas of how to do the job. As they work together, they learn to appreciate each other’s perspectives and the beauty of the moon.
The animation style of La Luna is unique and stunning. The characters and settings are hand-drawn with a soft and pastel color palette that gives the film a dreamy and magical atmosphere. The use of light and shadow is particularly impressive, as it creates a sense of depth and texture to the characters and objects. The animation style also contributes to the storytelling by emphasizing the contrast between the old and new ways of cleaning the moon, and the different personalities of the three generations.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Bambino and his father and grandfather are suspended in mid-air, cleaning the stars off the moon. The scene is visually stunning, with the characters’ silhouettes against the moon’s bright surface. The scene also highlights the theme of the film, which is about bridging the gap between generations and finding common ground despite differences.
Overall, La Luna is a charming and beautifully animated short film that will appeal to both children and adults. The film’s message of intergenerational understanding and cooperation is universal and relevant, and the animation style is a visual treat. I highly recommend watching La Luna, especially if you’re a fan of animation and storytelling.
A Morning Stroll
A Morning Stroll is a delightful animated short film that was directed by Sue Goffe and Grant Orchard. It was released in 2011 and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. The film tells the story of a chicken who takes a stroll through the city streets and the different encounters he has with humans over the course of three different time periods.
The main character of the film is the chicken, who is portrayed as a nonchalant and confident creature. The chicken’s interactions with the humans he encounters are humorous and often unexpected. The film is divided into three parts, each set in a different time period – 1959, 2009, and 2059. The film explores the evolution of the city and how the chicken adapts to the changes over time.
The animation style of the film is unique and contributes to the storytelling in a significant way. The film uses a combination of hand-drawn animation and computer-generated imagery, which creates a visually stunning and captivating experience for the viewer. The animation is simple yet effective, with minimal dialogue and sound effects that add to the film’s charm.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when the chicken encounters a man in 1959 who is smoking a cigarette. The chicken takes the cigarette from the man’s mouth and proceeds to smoke it himself. The scene is both humorous and unexpected, and it highlights the film’s playful and lighthearted tone.
Overall, A Morning Stroll is a charming and entertaining animated short film that is suitable for viewers of all ages. The film’s unique animation style and humorous storytelling make it a standout in its genre. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a lighthearted and enjoyable viewing experience.
Sunday is a 2011 animated short film directed by Patrick Doyon. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2012. The film is a whimsical and charming exploration of a young boy’s imagination and his journey through a small town on a lazy Sunday afternoon.
The story centers around a young boy who is bored and restless on a quiet Sunday afternoon. He decides to explore the town and see what adventures he can find. Along the way, he encounters a variety of quirky characters and experiences strange and unexpected events.
The animation style of Sunday is unique and adds to the overall storytelling of the film. The film is hand-drawn, with a sketchy, almost rough feel to the animation. This style gives the film a sense of warmth and intimacy as if the viewer is watching a personal and heartfelt story.
One of the standout moments in the film is when the boy discovers a group of musicians playing in the park. The music is lively and upbeat, and the animation becomes more fluid and dynamic to match the energy of the scene. This moment is a beautiful example of how the animation style can contribute to the storytelling and enhance the emotional impact of a scene.
Overall, Sunday is a charming and delightful film that is sure to appeal to both children and adults. The film captures the magic and wonder of childhood, and the animation style adds a unique and personal touch to the story. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a heartwarming and whimsical viewing experience.
Wild Life is a 2011 animated short film directed by Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby. It was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2012. The film tells the story of a young man named Norman, who leaves his home in England to start a new life in Canada. He is tasked with the responsibility of taking care of a remote trading post in the middle of the Canadian wilderness.
The animation style of Wild Life is hand-drawn and heavily influenced by the impressionist art movement. The use of color and light creates a vivid and dreamlike atmosphere. The animation style contributes to the storytelling by immersing the viewer in the world of the film and capturing the beauty and harshness of the Canadian wilderness.
The main character, Norman, is a well-meaning but naive young man who is unprepared for the challenges he faces in the wilderness. He is joined by a cast of colorful characters, including a French-Canadian trapper, a group of indigenous people, and a young woman who comes to the trading post seeking refuge.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Norman tries to hunt a moose, only to find himself in a dangerous and unexpected situation. The scene is beautifully animated and suspenseful, capturing the harsh reality of life in the wilderness.
Overall, Wild Life is a stunning and thought-provoking film that is sure to captivate audiences. It is recommended for those who appreciate animation and art, as well as those who are interested in stories about the human experience. The film is suitable for all ages, although younger viewers may not fully appreciate its themes and subtle storytelling.
Live Action Short Films
The Shore is a powerful and emotional film directed by Terry George and Oorlagh George, and released in 2011. The film tells the story of two childhood friends, Paddy and Joe, who grew up in Northern Ireland during the height of the Troubles. The two men were separated when Joe fled to America to escape the violence, while Paddy stayed behind to fight for a united Ireland. After 25 years apart, Joe returns to his homeland to visit his old friend and reconcile their differences.
The film’s style and cinematography play an important role in the storytelling, creating a sense of nostalgia and reflection. The use of beautiful landscape shots and slow pacing gives the audience time to reflect on the past and the impact of the Troubles on the two men’s lives. The film also uses archival footage and photographs to show the violence and destruction that characterized this period in Northern Ireland’s history.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when Paddy and Joe visit a memorial dedicated to the victims of the Troubles. This moment is emotionally charged, as the two men reflect on the lives lost and the impact of the conflict on their own families. Another standout moment is when Paddy takes Joe out on a fishing boat, showing him the beauty of the Irish coast and the importance of the sea to their way of life.
Overall, The Shore is a touching and thought-provoking film that explores the human cost of conflict. The film is recommended for anyone interested in Northern Ireland’s history or the impact of violence on individuals and communities. The Shore would be particularly relevant to those interested in reconciliation and the power of forgiveness.
Pentecost is a 2011 film directed by Peter McDonald and Eimear O’Kane that explores the world of competitive Irish dancing. The film follows a young boy named Damian, who dreams of becoming a champion dancer like his idol, Michael Flatley. However, Damian’s passion for dance is challenged by his strict father, who wants him to focus on his studies instead.
The film’s style and cinematography play a significant role in the storytelling, capturing the energy and intensity of Irish dancing through dynamic camera angles and quick cuts. The use of slow-motion shots during the dance sequences adds a dramatic flair to the film, emphasizing the physicality and precision of the dancers’ movements.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Damian, in an attempt to impress his father, sneaks out of his house and practices his dance moves in a nearby church. The scene is both poignant and humorous, as Damian struggles to keep his balance while dancing on the pews.
Overall, Pentecost offers a fascinating glimpse into the world of Irish dancing, showcasing the dedication and passion of its young performers. While the film may appeal to fans of dance, it also has a universal message about the importance of pursuing one’s dreams. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for an inspiring and uplifting story.
Raju is a 2011 film directed by Max Zähle and Stefan Gieren. The film tells the story of Raju, a four-year-old boy who was kidnapped from his family in India and sold to a German couple. The film follows the couple as they try to adopt Raju, while also exploring the complex and emotional journey of Raju’s biological family as they search for their missing son.
One of the most striking elements of Raju is its visual style. The filmmakers use a combination of interviews, archival footage, and reenactments to tell the story. The reenactments are particularly effective, as they bring the viewer into the heart of the action and help to convey the emotional impact of the story.
One scene that stood out to me was when Raju’s biological mother visits the orphanage where he was taken after being kidnapped. The filmmakers use a combination of footage from the actual visit and reenactments to create a powerful and emotional moment that captures the heartbreak and pain of a mother searching for her missing child.
Overall, Raju is a powerful and moving film that explores the complexities of international adoption and the emotional toll it can take on families. While the film is at times difficult to watch, it is ultimately a story of hope and perseverance. I would recommend this film to anyone interested in adoption, international relations, or human rights.
Time Freak is a 2011 film directed by Andrew Bowler and Gigi Causey. The film explores the concept of time travel and how it can impact our lives. The film follows the story of a young inventor, named Michael, who creates a time machine after a failed relationship. He uses the time machine to go back in time and fix his mistakes but soon realizes that his actions have unintended consequences.
The film’s visual style is simple and straightforward, with a focus on the characters and their emotions. The film uses a mix of interviews, archival footage, and reenactments to tell its story. The filmmakers use a lot of close-ups and medium shots to capture the emotions of the characters. The cinematography is effective in conveying the film’s themes and ideas.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Michael goes back in time to fix his relationship with his ex-girlfriend. He realizes that his actions have caused her to fall in love with someone else, and he is left alone once again. The scene is emotional and heartbreaking, and it highlights the consequences of time travel.
The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating a sense of intimacy and emotional connection with the characters. The filmmakers use simple techniques to convey complex ideas and emotions, which makes the film accessible to a wider audience.
Overall, Time Freak is a thought-provoking and engaging film that explores the concept of time travel in a unique and personal way. The film is recommended for anyone interested in science fiction, time travel, or the human experience. The film is suitable for all ages, but it may be more appealing to young adults who are struggling with relationships and the challenges of growing up.
Tuba Atlantic (nomination rescinded)
Tuba Atlantic is a 2011 Norwegian film that follows the story of an elderly man named Oskar who lives on a remote island off the coast of Norway. Oskar has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has been given six days to live. The local government sends a young woman, Inger, to Oskar’s home to help him prepare for his impending death. Inger is tasked with helping Oskar complete his “Tuba Atlantic,” a musical composition that he has been working on for years.
The film’s visual style is stunning, with beautiful shots of the Norwegian landscape and oceans. The cinematography is used to great effect, with the camera often focusing on Oskar’s face or his surroundings to emphasize his isolation and loneliness. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating a sense of melancholy and introspection that matches Oskar’s emotional state.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film takes place when Oskar attempts to communicate with his brother, who lives in America. The camera follows Oskar as he shouts into a conch shell, hoping that his message will reach his brother. The scene is both humorous and touching, highlighting Oskar’s desire for connection and his frustration at his own isolation.
Overall, Tuba Atlantic is a moving and poignant film that is sure to resonate with audiences. The film’s themes of mortality, isolation, and the search for meaning are universal and will appeal to a wide range of viewers. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a thought-provoking and emotionally resonant film.
Documentary Short Films
Saving Face is a powerful documentary that takes an unflinching look at the horrific practice of acid attacks in Pakistan. Directed by Daniel Junge and Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, the film follows the stories of several women who have been brutally attacked with acid, and the doctors who are working to help them rebuild their lives.
The film’s style and cinematography are both incredibly effective in conveying the emotional weight of the subject matter. The camera lingers on the scars and injuries of the victims, forcing the viewer to confront the brutal reality of these attacks. At the same time, the filmmakers also capture moments of hope and resilience, as the women work to overcome their injuries and rebuild their lives.
One scene that particularly stood out to me was when a group of acid attack survivors gather together for a support group meeting. As they share their stories and struggles, it’s clear that this community is a vital source of strength and support for each other. Another powerful moment is when one of the survivors confronts her attacker in court, bravely speaking out against the violence that has been inflicted upon her.
Overall, Saving Face is a deeply moving and important film that sheds light on a devastating issue. I would highly recommend it to anyone interested in social justice issues, as well as anyone looking for a powerful and emotional documentary. While the subject matter is difficult to watch at times, the film ultimately offers a message of hope and resilience in the face of unimaginable trauma.
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement
The Barber of Birmingham: Foot Soldier of the Civil Rights Movement is a powerful and inspiring documentary that tells the story of James Armstrong, a barber in Birmingham, Alabama who played a vital role in the Civil Rights Movement. Directed by Robin Fryday and Gail Dolgin, the film explores Armstrong’s life and legacy through interviews with him and his family, as well as other activists who worked alongside him during the 1960s.
One of the most striking things about The Barber of Birmingham is its visual style. The filmmakers use a mix of archival footage and contemporary interviews to create a vivid and immersive portrait of Armstrong and his community. The film is shot in a simple, straightforward style that allows the story to speak for itself, and the use of black and white footage from the 1960s adds an extra layer of authenticity and historical context.
Throughout the film, we see Armstrong’s unwavering commitment to justice and equality, as he participates in sit-ins, marches, and other protests alongside other civil rights activists. One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when Armstrong visits the site of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church bombing, where four young girls were killed by white supremacists in 1963. His emotional reaction to the tragedy is a reminder of the deep pain and trauma that many activists experienced during this time.
Overall, The Barber of Birmingham is a moving and thought-provoking documentary that offers a unique perspective on the Civil Rights Movement. While it may not be for everyone, it will be particularly appealing to those who are interested in history, social justice, and the power of grassroots activism. I highly recommend this film to anyone who wants to learn more about this important chapter in American history.
God Is the Bigger Elvis
God Is the Bigger Elvis is a 2011 documentary directed by Rebecca Cammisa and Julie Anderson. The film tells the story of Dolores Hart, a Hollywood actress who gave up her career to become a Benedictine nun at the Abbey of Regina Laudis in Connecticut.
The documentary is a beautiful and moving portrait of Hart’s journey, from her early days in Hollywood to her decision to leave it all behind and dedicate her life to God. The film features interviews with Hart, as well as with her fellow nuns and members of her family. Through these interviews, we get a sense of who Hart is and why she made the decision she did.
The film’s style and cinematography are simple and understated, allowing the story to speak for itself. The filmmakers use a lot of archival footage, including clips from Hart’s movies, which helps to give the viewer a sense of the time and place in which the story takes place. The use of music is also effective, with the score adding an emotional resonance to the film.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Hart returns to Hollywood for the first time since becoming a nun. She visits her old studio, and we see her standing in front of a giant billboard featuring her face from one of her movies. It’s a poignant moment, as we see the contrast between Hart’s life now and the life she left behind.
Overall, God Is the Bigger Elvis is a beautiful and inspiring film that will appeal to anyone interested in stories of faith and personal transformation. The film is well-made, with a strong sense of narrative and a moving central character. I highly recommend it to anyone looking for a thoughtful and uplifting documentary.
Incident in New Baghdad
Incident in New Baghdad is a 2011 documentary directed by James Spione that explores the consequences of the infamous 2007 Baghdad airstrike that killed 12 Iraqi civilians, including two Reuters journalists. The film follows Ethan McCord, a US soldier who was present during the attack, as he grapples with the trauma of what he witnessed and tries to reconcile his loyalty to the military with his moral compass.
The film’s style is intimate and personal, with Spione relying heavily on McCord’s perspective to tell the story. The cinematography is gritty and raw, with footage from the attack interspersed with interviews and personal reflections. This approach creates a sense of urgency and immediacy that draws the viewer into the emotional turmoil of the characters.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when McCord describes his experience of discovering a wounded child in the aftermath of the attack. The camera lingers on his face as he struggles to articulate the horror and guilt he feels, and the audience is left with a visceral sense of the human cost of war.
Overall, Incident in New Baghdad is a thought-provoking and poignant film that raises important questions about the morality of war and the responsibility of those who participate in it. It would appeal to anyone interested in documentary filmmaking, as well as those who are interested in the politics and ethics of war. Ultimately, I highly recommend this film for its powerful storytelling and emotional impact.
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom
The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a moving and poignant documentary that explores the aftermath of the 2011 earthquake and tsunami in Japan. Directed by Lucy Walker and Kira Carstensen, the film offers a unique perspective on the disaster by focusing on the cultural significance of the cherry blossom in Japanese society and its symbolic meaning in the face of tragedy.
The film introduces us to several individuals who were directly impacted by the disaster, including survivors, volunteers, and artists. Through their personal stories, we gain a deeper understanding of the emotional and psychological toll of the disaster, as well as the resilience and strength of the human spirit.
The film’s visual style is breathtaking, featuring stunning shots of the cherry blossoms in bloom and the devastation left in the wake of the disaster. The cinematography is both intimate and epic, capturing the beauty and tragedy of the natural world in equal measure.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film shows a group of survivors returning to their devastated hometown to retrieve personal items from their destroyed homes. As they sift through the rubble, they find small treasures that have miraculously survived the destruction, including a family photo album and a cherished teddy bear. These small moments of hope and resilience in the face of overwhelming loss are what make the film so impactful.
Overall, The Tsunami and the Cherry Blossom is a must-see documentary that offers a unique and deeply emotional perspective on one of the most devastating natural disasters in modern history. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in exploring the human experience in the face of tragedy and loss.
2012 Oscar Short Film Winners
Live Action – The Shore
Animated – The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Documentary – Saving Face