One of my favorite programs of each and every year is once again in theaters: I urge everyone reading this to seek out the 2023 Oscar Nominated Short Films Program, where you can watch all of this year's nominated Short Films across three categories: Animated, Live-Action and Documentary.
The series begins in theaters on Friday, February 17th and runs until Oscar Sunday, on March 12th. Check your local listings for where it is showing in your area (in Detroit, you can find them at the Detroit Film Theater at the DIA...but get your tickets fast as this program always sells out and is among the most popular programs at the theater each year).
I've now seen them all, and here are my reactions to this year's batch of nominated Short Films.
Oscar Short Films have long been the biggest enigma of every Academy Awards ceremony. Where most movie-goers tune in to the Oscars for the glitz, glamour and celebrity of it all, very few have seen or even heard of many of the nominated Short Films each year.
Often, the audience might recognize one of the Animated Shorts (if it happened to play in front of big Animated blockbusters like "Frozen" or "Moana"), but two would be a stretch. In recent years, the entire nominated Short Film slate has been packaged and shown in theaters, but even then, they're a hard sell for everyone except the Oscar die-hards or the movie-going elite, and rarely have the Shorts been played at any multiplex or theater that isn't a small art house.
Despite this, they continue to be a part of the celebration, earning a seat at the table among the "longies" at the biggest awards celebration of all. The Globes, the Critics Choice and even the Screen Actors Guild has no such public (or private) award for the Short Film format (under 40 minutes in length), so it is very much a medium which The Academy alone seems to deem important.
But I'm here to tell you: Do not sleep on the Oscar Short Films! Here are 5 reasons why:
The most over-looked and under-appreciated portion of every Academy Awards ceremony are the Oscar-nominated Short Films, awarded in three distinct categories: Animated, Live-Action and Documentary. In recent years, these Oscar-nominated Short Films have been put together as a showcase, and shown in select movie theaters across the country.
Believe me: These films are worth seeing and in fact I'd say that they are "must-see" for any fan of the Oscars or movies in general. They are often provocative, heart-warming, and sometimes yes, heart-wrenching. On occasion, they can be downright hilarious.
Check your local listings (in Michigan, The Maple Theater will begin playing these Short Films beginning Friday, April 2nd) to see when/if this program will be playing near you, and if you haven't been tempted to go back out to a theater just yet, this year's batch of Oscar-nominated Short Films are definitely worthy of validating your first trip back.
The Short Film categories are often overlooked by mainstream movie-going audiences, who usually use the Short Film time during the Oscars telecast to check their phones or go to the bathroom. You can't fault them: Most people watching the Oscars - even those that would consider themselves to LOVE movies - don't get to see these short films...not because they don't want to, but because they don't know HOW to.
Well good news, all of the Oscar-Nominated Short Films - in the Animated, Live-Action and Documentary categories - are being shown at the Detroit Film Theater, in Ann Arbor and in Howell (not to mention in theaters all over the country) beginning this weekend. Here's a guide on not only how you can check these amazing short films out and what these short films are, but WHY you should check them out in time for the Oscar telecast on February 9th.
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