The 83rd Academy Awards held in 2011 presented a stunning lineup of Short Film nominees that showcased the power of storytelling in its most concise form. From heartwarming animations to poignant documentaries and gripping live-action dramas, the 2011 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 83rd 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 create a lasting impact on audiences and inspire the next generation of filmmakers. 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 Lost Thing
The Lost Thing is a 2010 animated short film directed by Andrew Ruhemann & Shaun Tan. It was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2011. The film is based on a children’s book by Shaun Tan and tells the story of a boy who finds a strange creature on the beach.
The film’s main character is a young boy who is walking along the beach when he stumbles upon a bizarre creature that looks like a cross between a crab and a teapot. The boy is immediately fascinated by the creature and decides to take it home with him. However, he soon realizes that he doesn’t know what the creature is or where it came from.
The animation style in The Lost Thing is stunning and contributes greatly to the storytelling. The film uses a mix of traditional and digital animation to create a unique and captivating visual style. The colors are muted and washed out, giving the film a dreamlike quality that perfectly matches the story’s tone.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when the boy takes the creature to various government agencies to try to find out where it belongs. Each agency is more bureaucratic and unhelpful than the last, and the boy becomes increasingly frustrated and disillusioned. The scene is a powerful commentary on the dehumanizing effects of bureaucracy and the importance of empathy and understanding.
Overall, The Lost Thing is a beautifully crafted film that will appeal to both children and adults. The story is heartwarming and thought-provoking, and the animation style is truly unique. I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates great storytelling and stunning visuals.
Day & Night
Day & Night is a 2010 animated short film directed by Teddy Newton and produced by Pixar Animation Studios. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film in 2011 and received critical acclaim for its innovative animation and storytelling.
The film follows the adventures of two characters, Day and Night, who represent the opposite sides of a 24-hour day. Day is a sunny, happy character, while Night is dark and mysterious. The two characters meet and interact in a surreal world filled with colorful, abstract shapes and patterns.
The animation style of the film is unique and innovative. The characters are two-dimensional and transparent, allowing the audience to see the world through them. The backgrounds are three-dimensional and realistic, providing a contrast to the stylized characters. The film uses a combination of hand-drawn and computer-generated animation, creating a dynamic and visually stunning experience.
One of the most impressive aspects of the film is how the animation style contributes to the storytelling. The transparent characters allow the audience to see the world from two different perspectives, emphasizing the contrast between Day and Night. The film uses clever visual cues to communicate the passing of time, such as the movement of the sun and moon across the sky.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Day and Night discover that they can share their experiences with each other. The scene is visually stunning, with the characters blending together to create a beautiful and surreal image. The moment is a powerful metaphor for the importance of understanding and empathy in human relationships.
Overall, Day & Night is a visually stunning and emotionally resonant film that is sure to delight audiences of all ages. The film is a testament to the power of animation as an art form and a storytelling medium. I highly recommend this film to anyone who appreciates innovative animation and thought-provoking storytelling.
The Gruffalo is a delightful animated short film that was nominated for Best Animated Short Film at the 2011 Academy Awards. Directed by Max Lang and Jakob Schuh, the film is based on the classic children’s book of the same name by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler.
The story follows a clever little mouse who takes a stroll through the woods and encounters several animals who want to eat him. To avoid being caught, the mouse invents a fearsome creature called the Gruffalo. However, when the mouse actually meets the Gruffalo, he realizes that he might have made a mistake.
The animation style of The Gruffalo is simply stunning. The characters are all beautifully rendered with intricate details that bring them to life. The backgrounds are equally impressive, with lush forests and vibrant colors that create a magical atmosphere. The animation style contributes to the storytelling by making the world of the film feel more tangible and real.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when the mouse first meets the Gruffalo. The Gruffalo is a terrifying creature with a large, hulking body, sharp claws, and glowing eyes. However, the mouse is able to outsmart the Gruffalo by convincing him that he is the scariest creature in the forest.
Overall, The Gruffalo is a charming and entertaining film that is sure to delight both children and adults. The story is clever and engaging, and the animation style is simply breathtaking. I highly recommend this film to anyone who loves animated movies or is a fan of the original book.
Let’s Pollute, directed by Geefwee Boedoe, is a 2010 animated short film that takes a satirical look at the history of consumerism and environmentalism in America. The film is a commentary on the wasteful and destructive nature of modern society, and how it has led to the degradation of our environment.
The film follows the story of a man named Mr. Jones, who is a product of the consumer culture that has taken over America. He is a man who believes that consuming more is the key to happiness and success. He is also a man who is completely oblivious to the fact that his actions are contributing to the destruction of the environment.
The animation style in Let’s Pollute is one of the film’s most striking features. The film is done in a retro style that is reminiscent of the 1950s, complete with bright colors and bold lines. This style is used to great effect in the film, as it helps to convey the message of the film in a way that is both visually engaging and easy to understand.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Mr. Jones is shown driving his car through a forest, throwing trash out of his window as he goes. The contrast between the beauty of the natural environment and the ugliness of Mr. Jones’ actions is striking, and it helps to drive home the message of the film.
Overall, Let’s Pollute is a thought-provoking and visually stunning film that is well worth watching. The film is sure to resonate with anyone who is concerned about the environment, and it is a great example of how animation can be used to tell powerful stories. I highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in animation or environmentalism.
Madagascar, a Journey Diary
Madagascar, a Journey Diary is a 2010 animated short film directed by Bastien Dubois. The film is a visual and emotional journey that takes the audience through the beautiful landscapes of Madagascar. The film is a mix of documentary and animation that tells the story of the people, culture, and wildlife of Madagascar.
The film follows a young traveler who explores the island of Madagascar, taking in its vast beauty and diversity. Along the way, he meets different characters, including a local guide who takes him on a tour of the island. The traveler experiences the rich culture of the Malagasy people and discovers the island’s incredible wildlife, including lemurs, chameleons, and other unique animals.
The animation style of Madagascar, a Journey Diary is unique and visually stunning. The film combines traditional hand-drawn animation with digital techniques to create a beautiful and immersive experience. The animation style contributes to the storytelling by adding depth and texture to the landscapes and characters, making the audience feel like they are part of the journey.
One scene that stood out to me was when the traveler visits a local market, where he experiences the vibrant colors, sounds, and smells of the Malagasy culture. The scene is beautifully animated, and the attention to detail is impressive. Another moment that stood out was when the traveler witnesses a group of lemurs dancing in the forest, a moment that captures the beauty and grace of these unique animals.
Overall, Madagascar, a Journey Diary is an excellent film that is sure to captivate audiences of all ages. The film is a celebration of the beauty and diversity of Madagascar and its people. I recommend this film to anyone who loves animation, travel, or nature. This film is perfect for families and anyone who wants to experience the wonders of Madagascar.
Live Action Short Films
God of Love
God of Love is a charming and whimsical film that explores the life of a young, lovestruck singer and his journey to find the meaning of love. Directed by Luke Matheny, the film follows the protagonist, Raymond Goodfellow, as he navigates his way through the ups and downs of love and relationships.
The film’s visual style is captivating and unique, with a warm color palette and playful camera movements that add to the film’s overall sense of whimsy. Matheny’s use of black and white cinematography in certain scenes also adds a touch of nostalgia and romance to the film.
What sets God of Love apart from other films is its use of storytelling through music. Raymond’s love for music is a central theme throughout the film, and his performances, which include a mix of jazz, pop, and rock, are both entertaining and emotionally resonant.
One of the standout moments in the film is when Raymond performs a rendition of Nat King Cole’s “L-O-V-E” at a charity event. The scene is beautifully shot, with Matheny’s camera gliding over the audience as they sway along to the music. Another standout moment is when Raymond performs an original song, “God of Love,” which perfectly encapsulates the film’s themes of love and the power of music.
Overall, God of Love is a delightful and heartwarming film that is sure to leave viewers with a smile on their faces. While the film’s subject matter may not appeal to everyone, those who appreciate a good love story or a well-crafted musical performance will certainly enjoy it. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a lighthearted and entertaining film that celebrates the power of love and music.
The Confession, a 2010 film directed by Tanel Toom, is a gripping and emotional exploration of one man’s journey to confess to a murder he committed as a teenager. The film follows the story of Moazzam Begg, a British Muslim who was detained by the United States at Guantanamo Bay for three years before being released without charge. After his release, Begg decides to confront his past and confess to the murder of a Bosnian soldier during the Bosnian War.
The film’s style and cinematography are essential to the storytelling, as it is shot in a raw, unfiltered style that captures the emotional weight of Begg’s confession. The use of hand-held cameras and natural lighting adds to the film’s realism, making the audience feel like they are witnessing an intimate conversation between Begg and the filmmaker. The Confession also makes excellent use of archival footage and photographs to provide context for Begg’s story and the political climate in which it took place.
One of the most poignant moments in the film is when Begg visits the family of the soldier he killed and asks for their forgiveness. The scene is shot with a static camera, allowing the audience to witness the family’s raw emotions as they grapple with Begg’s confession. It’s a powerful moment that shows the impact of war on both the victims and the perpetrators.
Overall, The Confession is a thought-provoking and emotional film that will leave a lasting impression on anyone who watches it. While it may not be suitable for all audiences, those interested in political history and social justice issues will find it particularly compelling. I highly recommend this film to anyone looking for a powerful and moving film that will challenge their perceptions of war and forgiveness.
The Crush is a 2010 film directed by Michael Creagh that explores the world of wine-making in France’s Bordeaux region. The film follows the story of five winemakers as they navigate the challenges of the 2009 harvest season, considered to be one of the most difficult years in recent history.
What makes this film stand out is the way it captures the beauty and complexity of winemaking. The cinematography is stunning, with sweeping shots of the vineyards and close-ups of the grapes, capturing the essence of the process. The film’s style is intimate, with the camera following the winemakers as they work, capturing their struggles and triumphs.
The main characters in the film are the five winemakers, each with their own unique story and approach to winemaking. The film explores the challenges they face, including weather conditions, pests, and economic pressures. It also delves into the history and culture of the region, highlighting the traditions and techniques that have been passed down through generations.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when winemaker Stephane Derenoncourt tastes the grapes and gives his assessment. His expertise and passion are evident as he describes the subtle flavors and aromas of the grapes. Another standout moment is when winemaker Hubert de Bouard climbs to the top of a tower to assess the weather conditions, highlighting the importance of weather in the winemaking process.
Overall, The Crush is a beautiful and engaging film that will appeal to wine lovers and those interested in the art of winemaking. The film’s style and cinematography contribute greatly to the storytelling, capturing the essence of the process and the people involved. I highly recommend The Crush to anyone looking for a fascinating and visually stunning film.
Na Wewe, directed by Ivan Goldschmidt, is a Belgian film that was nominated for the Best Live Action Short Film category at the 2011 Academy Awards. The film is set in Burundi during the country’s civil war in the early 1990s and tells the story of a group of passengers on a bus that is stopped at a roadblock by a group of rebels.
The film’s main characters are the passengers on the bus, who are from different ethnic groups and backgrounds. As the rebels interrogate them, the passengers are forced to identify themselves as either Hutu or Tutsi, which leads to tension and conflict among them. The film explores the themes of identity, ethnicity, and the effects of war on ordinary people.
The visual style of the film is striking, with hand-held camera work and a gritty, documentary-like feel. The use of natural lighting and locations adds to the authenticity of the film and makes it feel like a real-life event that is unfolding before our eyes.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when a young boy is forced to identify his ethnicity. He struggles to answer and is eventually shot by the rebels. This moment is particularly poignant because it shows the devastating impact of war on innocent civilians, and how it can tear apart families and communities.
Overall, Na Wewe is a thought-provoking and powerful film that explores important themes and issues. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by making it feel like we are witnessing real-life events as they unfold. I would highly recommend this film to anyone interested in war films, or social and political issues. However, due to the graphic nature of some of the scenes, it may not be suitable for younger viewers.
Wish 143 is a heartwarming and poignant film that follows the story of a terminally ill teenager named David, who has been diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer. Directed by Ian Barnes and Samantha Waite, the film explores David’s final wish to become a professional football player and the lengths that his community goes to make his dream a reality.
The film’s style and cinematography are simple yet effective, with a focus on capturing the raw emotions of the characters involved. The use of handheld cameras and natural lighting adds to the film’s authenticity and intimacy, making the viewer feel like they are right there with David and his family.
One of the standout scenes in the film is when David is given the opportunity to train with the local football team, fulfilling his lifelong dream. The joy on his face is palpable, and the support from his teammates and coaches is truly heartwarming. Another memorable moment is when David meets his favorite football player, who surprises him with a signed jersey and a heartfelt message of encouragement.
Overall, Wish 143 is a touching and inspiring film that showcases the power of community and the importance of never giving up on your dreams. It is a film that will leave you feeling both uplifted and emotional and is highly recommended for anyone who enjoys heartwarming stories and films about real people overcoming adversity.
While the film may be particularly resonant for those who have experienced or know someone who has experienced a terminal illness, it is ultimately a story that will resonate with anyone who has ever had a dream and worked tirelessly to achieve it.
Documentary Short Films
Strangers No More
Strangers No More is a 2010 documentary directed by Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, which tells the inspiring story of the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, Israel. The school is unique in that it serves as a refuge for children from over 48 countries who have fled to Israel seeking asylum. The film focuses on the struggles and triumphs of the students and teachers who come from diverse backgrounds and cultures.
The documentary’s visual style is simple, yet powerful, with a mix of interviews, fly-on-the-wall footage, and beautifully shot scenes of the children in the classroom. The film’s style and cinematography contribute greatly to the storytelling, as they effectively capture the raw emotions of the students and teachers, as well as the school’s vibrant and diverse atmosphere.
One of the most poignant scenes in the film is when a young Sudanese girl named Esther, who has never attended school before, steps into the classroom for the first time. The camera captures the overwhelming emotions of the moment as Esther is welcomed by her classmates and teacher, and begins her journey towards a brighter future. Another scene that stood out was when a group of Muslim girls from Chechnya perform a traditional dance for their classmates, showcasing their unique culture and breaking down cultural barriers.
Overall, Strangers No More is a heartwarming and inspiring documentary that highlights the power of education and the resilience of the human spirit. I highly recommend this film to anyone who enjoys documentaries that celebrate diversity, culture, and the triumph of the human spirit. This film is particularly relevant for educators and students who want to learn more about the challenges faced by refugees and the importance of providing a safe and welcoming environment for them to thrive.
Killing in the Name
Killing in the Name is a 2010 documentary directed by Jed Rothstein that explores the aftermath of a terrorist attack in Jordan. The film follows Ashraf Al-Khaled, a survivor of the attack, as he seeks justice for the victims and confronts the ideology that led to the attack.
The film’s style and cinematography play a crucial role in telling this story. The film intercuts between Al-Khaled’s journey and interviews with experts on terrorism and extremism. The contrast between Al-Khaled’s personal story and the broader context of terrorism creates a compelling narrative that keeps the viewer engaged.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film is when Al-Khaled confronts a former terrorist who was involved in the attack. The tension in the scene is palpable, and the viewer is left wondering what will happen next. The film also includes footage from the attack, which is both shocking and heartbreaking.
Overall, Killing in the Name is a powerful and thought-provoking documentary that sheds light on the human cost of terrorism. While the film is difficult to watch at times, it is an important reminder of the need to confront extremism and promote peace. I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in the ongoing struggle against terrorism and the search for justice.
This film would be particularly interesting to those who enjoy documentaries that explore complex political and social issues. It is also a must-see for anyone interested in the Middle East and the ongoing conflict in the region.
Poster Girl is a 2010 documentary directed by Sara Nesson and Mitchell Block that tells the story of Robynn Murray, a young woman who joined the Army after 9/11 and served as a machine gunner in Iraq. The film follows Robynn as she struggles with PTSD and tries to adjust to civilian life.
The film’s style and cinematography are critical to the storytelling. The filmmakers use a combination of interviews, archival footage, and animation to convey Robynn’s experiences and emotions. The animation is particularly effective in showing the traumatic events that Robynn experienced in Iraq. The filmmakers also use close-up shots of Robynn’s face to convey her emotions and vulnerability.
One scene that stood out to me was when Robynn was talking about her experiences in Iraq, and the filmmakers used animation to show what she was describing. The animation was visceral and intense and made me feel like I was experiencing the events alongside Robynn.
Another scene that stood out to me was when Robynn was trying to get help for her PTSD. She went to the VA hospital, and the staff was dismissive of her symptoms and told her to “suck it up.” This scene was particularly powerful because it showed the lack of support that many veterans face when they return from war.
Overall, I was impressed with Poster Girl. The film provides a powerful and emotional look at the impact of war on soldiers and their families. I would highly recommend this film to anyone interested in the human cost of war and the struggles that veterans face when they return home.
This film would be particularly relevant to anyone interested in the experiences of female soldiers and the challenges they face in a male-dominated military. Additionally, anyone interested in mental health and PTSD would find this film informative and thought-provoking.
Sun Come Up
Sun Come Up, directed by Jennifer Redfearn and Tim Metzger, is a powerful and heart-wrenching documentary that takes viewers on a journey to the Carteret Islands, a small group of islands in the South Pacific that are slowly disappearing due to rising sea levels.
The film follows the lives of a group of Carteret Islanders who are forced to relocate to Bougainville, a larger island, as their homes become uninhabitable. The documentary provides an intimate look at the struggles and challenges faced by the islanders as they try to adapt to their new surroundings and preserve their culture and way of life.
The film’s visual style is stunning, with breathtaking shots of the islands and the ocean. The cinematography is particularly impressive, capturing the beauty and vulnerability of the islanders and their surroundings.
One of the most memorable scenes in the film shows a group of islanders singing a traditional song as they say goodbye to their homes. The scene is incredibly moving, highlighting the deep connection the islanders have to their land and culture.
Overall, Sun Come Up is a thought-provoking and emotional documentary that sheds light on the devastating effects of climate change on vulnerable communities. The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by providing a visual representation of the islanders’ struggles and the beauty of their surroundings.
I highly recommend this film to anyone interested in environmental issues and social justice. It is a must-watch for anyone who wants to learn more about the impact of climate change on marginalized communities.
The Warriors of Qiugang
The Warriors of Qiugang is a 2010 documentary directed by Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon that tells the story of a small village in China that stood up against a chemical company that was polluting their land and water. The film follows the journey of the villagers as they fight to reclaim their environment and their health.
The main characters of the film are the villagers of Qiugang, who are portrayed as strong and resilient in the face of adversity. Their determination to fight for their rights and their health is inspiring, and the filmmakers do an excellent job of capturing their struggles and their triumphs.
The film’s visual style is stunning, with beautiful shots of the village and its surroundings. The cinematography is particularly impressive, with the use of aerial shots and close-ups adding to the film’s emotional impact.
The film’s style and cinematography contribute to the storytelling by creating a sense of intimacy with the characters and their environment. The filmmakers use close-ups and handheld camera work to capture the emotions of the villagers, while aerial shots provide a sense of scale and context.
One of the most powerful scenes in the film is when the villagers visit the chemical company’s headquarters to demand compensation for their losses. The tension is palpable as the villagers confront the company’s representatives, and the scene is a testament to the villagers’ bravery and determination.
Overall, The Warriors of Qiugang is an excellent documentary that sheds light on an important issue. The film’s visual style and powerful storytelling make it a must-watch for anyone interested in environmental activism or social justice.
I would highly recommend this film to anyone who is interested in environmental issues, social justice, or documentary filmmaking. The film is suitable for a wide audience but may be of particular interest to students and activists.
2011 Oscar Short Film Winners
Live Action – God of Love
Animated – The Lost Thing
Documentary – Strangers No More