by Michael DePaoli

(The author occasionally attends hoity toity film festivals and has submitted some thoughts on  few lesser-known Oscar nominees; Related: The author lives in the Arizona desert yet is rarely seen in shorts himself)





There are five films nominated in the category of animated short film, but there is only one that could and should win: PIPER. In this story, a mother bird tries to teach a baby bird how to find food, and the result is adorable. Having watched all of the nominated films in the category, the only way that PIPER will not win would be if excellence might not be the goal (or, if the voters have something against Disney/Pixar).


Three films in this category are outstanding, and all three deal with different facets of the Syrian war and the refugee problems in Europe. I would declare a three-way tie.

4.1 MILES presents a coast guard boat captain in Greece who must deal with the wave of immigrants trying to make the crossing from Turkey across treacherous waters. The story is palpable and personal, and it presents the magnitude of the refugee problem from the perspective of one seaport. After viewing this short movie, you will see the refugees as human beings, and not statistics.

THE WHITE HELMETS allows us to witness the rescue workers at the Syrian Civil Defense who risk their own lives to save people trapped in the rubble after bombs are dropped. This movie is not about being political, it is about being a hero.

WATANI: MY HOMELAND is the intimate portrayal of a family who is forced to deal with the Syrian War. You watch the children grow up on the screen, as they escape the violence and try to create a new life.


The choice in this category is just splitting hairs because all five of the nominated films are inspirationally excellent.

TIMECODE was my personal favorite in this group, but it was by no means better than the other four films. It tells the unique story of flirtation and romance on security cameras.

SING gives us a heartwarming tale about children finding justice while singing in a choir.

SILENT NIGHTS is a love story between a refugee and a social worker that rips you apart and puts you back together by the end.

LE FEMME ET LE TGV is about an elderly woman finding her true self, all over again, by waving at the fast-moving train that travels by her house.

ENNEMIS INTERIEURS is an interrogation movie that explores loyalty to country and loyalty to friends.

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