Shorts are BIG this year… All the 2021 Oscar™ Nominated Shorts Reviewed

Just as reading a great short story can have an impact in a relatively few pages, short films also can entertain, inform and challenge us with limited running times. Most of our favorite filmmakers started their careers making short subjects. Which of this year’s Oscar™ nominated creators will be the makers of the next breakout independent film on their way to a studio blockbuster? You can watch and place your bets. And remember that this year the public has seen all nominated movies the same way most Academy members have been watching them for years—at home. 

 

The 2021 Academy Awards are on Sunday, April 25. The nominated short films have been collected into three programs, Animation, Live Action and Documentary, and are now playing in select theaters and on Virtual Cinema. Trailers and more information can found here

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The Truffle Hunters: A Flavorful Life

By C.J. Hirschfield

You may assume that the stars in this delectable new documentary feature are human; and some of them are. But when you experience an exhilarating dog’s eye-view of a hunt to find the rare and wondrous fungus and hear the excited snuffling sounds of success, you understand that there would be no truffle hunt without some very canny canines. Both they—and the aromatic white Alba truffles they hunt—are worth their weight in gold.

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OSCAR’S YEAR OF THE WOMEN—For Documentary Features

By C.J. Hirschfield

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Clockwise from bottom left: ‘For Sama,’ ‘The Cave,’ ‘American Factory,’ ‘The Edge of Democracy,’ ‘Honeyland’

Many of you are no doubt rushing to catch up with your movie viewing in advance of Feb. 8’s annual Academy Awards. While “Best Picture” always draws the most attention and conjecture, this was a particularly great year for films in the documentary feature category, and they are well worth exploring. With Netflix, Amazon, HBO, PBS, and even the Obamas now in the documentary film production business, the number of quality offerings has grown dramatically, as have the ways to view them.  Some show us worlds we’ve never imagined, while others offer us a deep dive into subjects that we may know only as headlines. There are also a number of excellent films that that didn’t make the final Academy cut. Here’s the list, along with my take on each. And unlike the directors considered for “Best Picture,” three out of five of the nominated documentaries were directed or co-directed by women.

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SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN FOREVER

by Gary Meyer
ON THE TOWN, ROYAL WEDDING, SINGIN’ IN THE RAIN, SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER, FUNNY FACE, THE PAJAMA GAME, INDISCREET, DAMN YANKEES, CHARADE, ARABESQUE, TWO FOR THE ROAD and BEDAZZLED.

All winners in our book.  Hollywood’s elite agree.  And yet the man who directed them all, Stanley Donen never was even nominated for an Oscar.
On the eve of the 2019 Academy Awards we are saddened to learn of his passing but happy that he lived a full 94 years and gave movie audiences many hours of pleasure.  It will be interesting to see how they work Stanley into the Oscar “In Memory” reel.
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