Every film in this Oscar category is an underdog you can root for

In an era when TikTok, YouTube, and other bite-sized videos are essentially watched by millions of people, you might think that short films might get a little more attention. The Academy awards shorts in less than three categories, but they are sometimes regarded as a niche, even Streamline a long ceremony. Nevertheless the short film ends as a valuable art, with hundreds of production each year.

And among the attention-grabbing features, Shorts Candidate is like a world within a world, a refuge for what sometimes feels like classical bearers. Even though the nominees do not always reflect the full extent of the form, they are the latest stop on the colorful path that began in Hollywood’s Golden Age as part of the main attraction. The Academy is thus a short history of the short film (with a focus on live-action shorts for sake, conciseness).

Short films were a big part of theatrical filming when they were still shown with features, and major Hollywood studios churned them out in both live action and animation. The “Best Short Subject” Oscar categories added in 1932 were first divided into comedy and novelty and later into one-reel and two-reel, reflecting their length.

Shorts’ pioneers Hal Roach and Mac Sennett were the first winners of these awards, and Roach’s “Music Box” Remains a stone-cold classic starring Laurel and Hardy, a piano and lots of steps. Sennett is best known for the chaos he happily sows at Sennett Studios.

In the ensuing years, Three Stogs, Doller humorist Robert Benchley and Little Rascals were commonly nominated, as was an eye-catching bag of nature’s travelogues and interpretive curiosity. Two veterans worth singing solo are Pete Smith of MGM and Gordon Hollingshead of Warner Bros., who received more than 15 nominations.

World War II demands led to campaigning candidates “On Main Street March !,” “Can take London!” And “Women in War.” After the war ended, a special award went to “The House I Live In” short, a plea for tolerance that also condemned anti-Semitism, starring Frank Sinatra and soon blacklisting Hollywood figures.

As soon as the mini-subject portfolios of the old studios were shut down and the television loomed, the big screen spectacles proved to be attractive nominees, as well as orchestral recordings of classical standards. Disney racked up the awards with its “True-Life Adventure” nature walk (“Bare Country”), globe-trotting tour (Samoa to Switzerland), and animated “.Ben and i, “Who boldly asked: What if Benjamin Franklin had a talking mouse for a friend?

Short nominations of this era could also disturb curious experiments. Norman McLaren, an innovator on the prolific National Film Board of Canada, pushed the sound and image into tryptic locations with the stop-motion of “A Chair’s Tale”. “City of Gold” anticipated the anticipated history of the “Ken Burn effect” in the depiction of old photographs. And “Face of lincoln” Winning showing a sculptor shielding the face of a great sculptor while describing his life.

This decade’s selections revealed a kinetic, pop soul, perhaps the first mischievous 1959 comedy film “Running, jumping and standing-still film“Richard Lester (” A Hard Day’s Night “) and Peter Sellers. A young Jim Henson created the flamboyant live-action” Time Peace “(1965), the same year as the early suburban-children’s skateboarding film” Skaterdatter ” Was named as “Arthur Lipset’s”Very nice, very niceA visual anthem for Montreal Expo ’67, “A Place to Stand”, while a cutup montage of cityscapes and found sounds was another adventurous national film board of Canada production, breaking ground with a dazzling mosaic technique gave. split screen.

Another growing trend was the arrival of directors outside of Hollywood, as the golden age of the art house marred its progress. Author Ambrose Beers’ flashback puzzler “An Incident at Owl Creek Bridge” was adapted by French director Robert Enrico (and later featured as an “Twilight Zone” episode). His comedic countryman Pierre Wontaix won an award for “Hurex Universare” with Jean-Claude Carrier. Reputation producer Ismail Merchant had his first nomination with “The Creation of Woman” and was a Ingmar Bergman parody, balancing the ambitions of the decadePigeon, “Madeline Kahn and some ersatz Swedish specialties.

In a decade when feature-length American cinema was showcasing new classics such as “The Godfather”, the shorts’ nominees began to live a little off the earth. A new sense of social responsibility took hold, whether it was telling stories of people with disabilities in a series of films (two should be highlighted: “A Day in the Life of Bonnie Consul” And “I Will Find a Way”), or “Teen Dad” from the literal “afterschool special” entry in Taylor Haxford (“Ray”) and “Angel and Big Joe”. Robert Redford commissioned a miniature on solar energy, and the “Life Times Nine” omnibus compiled nine films by grade-school students “to promote appreciation for people’s survival.”

But with the usual shorts, the selections were generous. Comedic entries include “The Absolute-Minded Waiter” Starring steve martin As a ridiculously bad server for Buck Henry and Terry Garr and “DoubleTalk”, there is a parent story in which the characters express their true views in voice overs. Literary adaptations also came into vogue, going well into the 80s, as filmmakers found a good fit for the short look in works by Joyce Carol Oates, Alice Munro and Julio Cortzer.

As a new generation erupted in independent film in the 80s, the shorts category was getting a shot in the arm from young talent, including some graduates from film schools such as the American Film Institute and later from affordable digital technologies . But it was also notable that a British invasion (and continued Canadian incidents) resembled “The Dollar Bottom”, depicting a student plot against corporal punishment in a British school, and later in the fictional comedy “Franz Kafka It’s a Wonderful Life” Starring Richard. E. Grant. Said that, perhaps the most famous short of the 1980s is still “Precious images, “A Shimmering Tour of Hollywood History by Chuck Workman (Who Will Become Oscar’s Go-to-Montage-Maker)”.

At the same time, some name actors lost their weight behind short films. Kenneth Branagh, Griffin Dunne, Jeff Goldblum, Christine Lahy, Peter Weller and Joabeth Williams all received nominations for their shorts work in this era; Dunn’s “Duke of Groove” made Toby Maguire feel like a warm-up for “The Ice Storm”.

As with the remaining Oscars, representation has long been lacking. When it came to the subject, it contained notable folkloric collection entries.Gulla Tales “ And the gay coming-of-age story “Trevor”. But behind the camera, the first nominated live-action short produced by a black filmmaker, David M. in 1991. “Last Breeze of Summer” was from Macy’s. Four years later, Diane Huston (“Ride on tuesday morning”) Was the first female African-American director whose film was nominated in the category.

Next stop for shorts? world. Since the late 1990s, the category has certainly gone international, as much as the global marketplace has become essential to Hollywood. It is not uncommon for a live-action slate to lack a single American film, making it a real extra international category. Highlights include Andrea Arnold’s “Wasp,” Martin McDonagh’s “Six Shooter” and “Two Cars, One Night” from Taika Waititi and Ainsley Gardiner. The current slate of live-action shorts suggests renewed dedication to occasional relevance. (Note: The New York Times op-doc “A Concerto is a Conversation” is among the documentary short nominees this year.)

If one thing becomes clear from the history of live-action shorts, it is that they cannot be pigeonholed as “calling card” efforts. Filmmakers like McDonagh and Waititi don’t come along every year, and a nomination for a short doesn’t always land a feature filmmaking job, at least under the direction. These nominees are more likely to be the next act than television shows, advertisements, or another brief studio deal. Which only confirms the category as an underdog drawn to cheer among Hollywood blurs – and underscore the distinct identity of these small worlds made for the big screen.

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