2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films

Last year I found almost all of the Oscar nominated short films to watch before the ceremony. As my local theater isn't participating in the Oscar Short showcase this year, I decided to hunt around the internet and see what I could find. Here are my quick thoughts. I was able to watch 14 of the 15 shorts.

Documentary Shorts

In the Absence - This doc is about the sinking of Sewol, a ferry in South Korea and the inept response by the Government when distress calls were made. Because of the poor handling, 304 people died. 250 of which were children. This was very harrowing for its brisk pace. They had phone recordings, showed news and cell phone footage and interviewed parents, survivors, and the brave civilian divers who assisted with the recovery. They covered a lot of ground in 28 minutes. A

Learning to Skateboard in a War Zone If You’re a Girl - Because AETV.com forces you to watch ads (and they stop playing if you click out of the tab so you HAVE to watch them) this felt like I saw a feature length film. They stuck 10 damn ads in a 40 minute movie. Young girls in Afghanistan find solace in Skateistan, a place they can learn to read, write, and yes..skateboard. It's a very moving story. It's sad seeing young girls being barred from doing so much just because of their gender. I'm glad Skateistan is still going strong. B-

Life Overtakes Me - This was bleak. It followed three families of refugees that fled to Sweden who have a child affected by Resignation Syndrome. Where children that suffered trauma inexplicably fall into a coma.  It currently happens in Sweden more than any other country. I wish they had dived more into the disease and how widespread it is. Maybe they don't have all of that information yet, but I felt for a documentary covering it I only learned the bare minimum of why it's happening. B

Walk, Run, Cha-Cha - This was a sweet story about a married couple who left Vietnam and now dance in California, something they would've loved to have done in their youth, but the aftermath of the Vietnam War took that from them. Their dance at the end of the film really elevates this. It was beautiful. B

St. Louis Superman - This unfortunately was the elusive short I could not find anywhere.

Animated Shorts

Daughter - Oh boy, this is one of those films where the animation is far better than the story. It took me forever to find this. This is the last one I watched and I was very underwhelmed. It's a very interesting use of stop motion but the story is so bare bones. C-

Hair Love - Oh my God, I LOVED this. This short is 6 minutes long about a father learning how to do his daughter's hair and I laughed and cried. A+

Kitbull - Another cutesy film from Pixar, this one showing the friendship between a stray cat and a lovable pit bull who is being used for dog fights. It was nice, but not nearly as moving as Hair Love. B+

Memorable - The animation in this is stunning. However, the story fell a bit flat. It's about a painter and his wife and how they struggle with this Alzheimer's disease. I don't know if it was the voice actors, but it didn't get as emotional of a reaction from me as some of the others did. C

Sister - This was...fine. The animation of course was different and the story very personal to the director but it didn't stay with me as long. If anything, it made me think of One Child Nation. B

Live Action Shorts

Brotherhood - So this was frustrating. Sometimes a short film comes along and you can tell it deserves a full length feature. This is one of those films, because its short 24 minute run time was not along enough so instead we got a story where all the conflict could've been avoiding by the two main characters actually having a conversation, but since there's no time for anything we get....this. It could've been better. C

Nefta Football Club - This film gets extra points for having a drug trafficker getting annoyed over the fact that his fellow trafficker changed the music on the headphones he put on his donkey. He likes to listen to Adele, damn it! This was cute. B

The Neighbor’s Window - First off, is there anyone more typecast as a crunchy, frustrated stay at home mom than Maria Dizzia? As soon as I hit play and saw her I new exactly what type of character she was playing before I even read the synopsis. That being said, I was not expecting this to take the turn that it did and it was a real gut punch. Short #2 that has made me ugly cry. A

Saria - This was miserable. It follows two young girl who are held at the Virgen de la Asunción Safe Home in Guatemala where they endure rape and abuse before dying in a fire that killed 41 girls total. It felt more like a Wikipedia entry. Like watching a live action article instead of a film. C-

A Sister - This was easily the most tense short I watched. It follows a woman who is in a car with a man holding her against her will as she contacts emergency services and pretends she's talking to her sister. I'm thankful this film is only 16 minutes long. That was enough. B+


  1. I haven’t seen any but hope to find some on my IPad. I want to se hairloss and the one with the dog and cat really appeals to me. Poor dogs who live in that world...asshole people. Sarai sounds like a having an abscess tooth.

  2. I love that you track all these down each year! Hair Love sounds adorable and hilarious and I need to track it down myself!

  3. I just saw Hair Love yesterday on YouTube and... man... how could anyone not be moved by it? I prefer Kitbull in terms of its technical brilliance but I wouldn't mind if Hair Love wins the Oscar as it was just a touching story with some damn fine animation.

    And reading from your Twitter scroll... who the fuck chooses Green Book over All About Eve? Ugh...

    I'm also excited for WandaVision. Wanda in that costume.

    1. EXACTLY fucking Rotten Tomatoes 😂

      I am too, it looks so batty.

  4. I really want to see Hair Love and I do want to see the documentary ones. But I am still catching up with the feature movies so it's like, when will I have time!?

  5. Great breakdown. I have really failed this year when it comes to short films. I kept putting them off and now here we are at Oscar week and I'm so pathetically ignorant of them.


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