Film review: 'Academy Award-Nominated Short Films 2013' | New York Daily News

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Film review: 'Academy Award-Nominated Short Films 2013' | New York Daily News

By Elizabeth Weitzman | February 1, 2013

If you’re really hoping to win your office Oscar pool, you’ll need to see every competitor — and that means going beyond Best Foreign Language Film nominees. Watch the Best Short Film contenders now, and you’ll both up your odds and impress all those who never made it past “Amour.”

The IFC Center is showing the shorts in four separate programs: animated, live action, and two documentary lineups.
The animated shorts aren’t the strongest of the group, though there are some highlights. The two-minute “Fresh Guacamole” is nicely inventive, and “Head Over Heels,” about an aging couple who’ve grown apart, shows some tart creativity.

“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’” is entertaining, but doesn’t reach the heights of other “Simpsons” cartoons. The visually striking “Adam and Dog” is a sweet tale that’s overlong at 16 minutes, but does have the advantage of looking like Disney animation. And then there’s the whimsical romance “Paperman,” the likeliest winner both because it actually comes from Disney and because it’s shamelessly designed as a crowd-pleaser.

The live-action shorts, often a weak category, are better than usual. The Afghan drama “Buzkashi Boys” and “Asad," about Somali piracy, are notable for their glimpses into rarely seen worlds. The bleakly comic “Curfew” — the only American entry — finds a bit of actual emotion within its hipster edge. More striking is the conceptually compelling Belgian thriller “Death of a Shadow,” while the old-age tale “Henry” might impress voters who loved “Amour.”

Still, if you choose only one program, see some documentaries. The broad-ranging Program A is the best choice: “Kings Point” follows the feisty residents of a Florida retirement resort, “Mondays at Racine” is an inspirational heartbreaker about hair stylists working with cancer patients and the unforgettable “Inocente” introduces us to an extraordinary teen who has no home.

Program B is briefer, comprising the illuminating, New York-set “Redemption” and “Open Heart,” about doctors desperate to save young Rwandan children. (Bring tissues.) “Open Heart” or “Inocente” are most likely to win on Oscar night, but every one of these five docs deserves to be seen.

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