The 2021 Oscar Nominated Short Films

Like I did in 2019 and 2020, I tried my best to locate all the Oscar nominated Short films to give them quick reviews. This year I was fortunate enough to find all 15! Much thanks to the random users of R/OscarsDeathRace who helped me with two films that took me *forever* to find online to stream. If you saw my predictions posts, you already know who I think is going to win, but check out my quick thoughts below.

Best Documentary Short Subject

Colette - About a 90 year old former French Resistance fighter who makes the decision to go to Germany after all this time to visit the concentration camp her brother was murdered in. I liked how frank Colette was, and how she talked about morbid tourism with these camps. The first time I went to Germany, it was for school and we toured a camp. I've never felt so awful in my life being in a place where so many innocent lives were taken. It was like a dark cloud hanging over me. Colette talks about a fair amount of people being braver than her, but I think she's pretty brave herself. B-

A Concerto Is a Conversation - This is a lovely conversation between a composer, Kris Bowers and his grandfather as he walks him through his family history. It's a nice story, and Kris seems like a lovely guy. My only issue with this was I didn't care for the way they chose to shoot this conversation. They switched back and forth in close ups instead of just having a wide frame of the two of them sitting and talking. I think that would've looked better. I loved the ending shot of Kris playing the piano and his grandfather singing though. That was gorgeous. B+

Do Not Split - At about 34 minutes, this is a condensed look at the 2019 Hong Kong protests. If you're very familiar with the protests, it may feel like a long news reel, but as someone who only knew the basics I really enjoyed the on the ground footage and interviews it provided. I found it very informative. B+

Hunger Ward - Shot in two hospitals in Yemen, this is about malnourished children in the war torn country. This film is upsetting. Of course starving and dead children are upsetting but this doc would rather just stare at their pain rather than provide any context whatsoever to the crisis in Yemen. Why are they at war? Why does aid have trouble getting in? Why are all these children developing gluten allergies? They don't even tell us anything about the medical professionals this film is following aside from their names. They barely provide insight. This was so lazy. C-

A Love Song for Latasha - When I saw the list of nominees, I didn't realize this documentary was about Latasha Harlins. I was familiar with her story and the joke of a sentence her murderer received, but even knowing that information beforehand, I thought this was an absolutely beautiful tribute by her friends and family. I loved how it was shot and I'm glad it's on Netflix for so many to see. A

Best Animated Short Film

Burrow - My son and I had previously watched this on Disney+. Sometimes these Disney shorts can really pull at the heart strings, and other times they're just a cute way to spend a few minutes. This is the latter. B

Genius Loci - The animation in this is STUNNING. I expect nothing less from the director who has also worked with Cartoon Saloon.....but wtf did I just watch? Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed myself during this. It felt like a chaotic poem, but it was really out there. B-

If Anything Happens I Love You - I watched this back in December and per my letterboxd, I made it 5:20 into this 12 minute short before crying. It's devastating. Beautiful, but devastating. A

Opera - This asked Genius Loci to hold its beer. I have no idea what this is about. There is so much going on. It's very intricate but even after watching it twice I'm struggling to find the point. C-

Yes-People - This was pretty dumb, but I got a good laugh out of it and learned how to say "yes" and "no" in Icelandic. B-

Best Live Action Short Film 

Feeling Through - About a homeless teen's encounter with a blind and deaf man, this was very moving and the actors were wonderful. Robert Tarango is actually blind and deaf, so I'm glad the filmmakers gave him this opportunity. I hope both he and Steven Prescod have bright futures ahead. I loved watching them here. A

The Letter Room - This was a different role for Oscar Isaac as a lonely corrections officer. Even though it was a commentary on death row, it didn't feel as relentless as some of the other live action shorts that have been nominated in the past. I enjoyed it. B

The Present - This film made me so nervous, especially at the end. It's brief life of day to day Palestine for Arabs crossing into Israel is already frustrating enough. I thought the father and daughter had wonderful chemistry together. B

Two Distant Strangers - This is a deja vu film about a man who relives being murdered by police over and over. It stars Joey Bada$$, who I really like, but nope. Absolutely not. This didn't offer anything. Not even a bit of hope that the system could change. D

White Eye - This was one of the last ones I watched and it was just not worth the effort it took to track this down. It's shot very well, but over all I was bored with it. C-


  1. I've seen one from each category. A Love Song for Latasha is a very beautiful tribute but I wasn't a fan of the visuals and editing and they kind of ruined it for me. If Anything Happens I Love You broke me and I really hope it wins. As for Two Distant Strangers, I liked it way more than you did. I thought it does a very good job at highlighting one of America's major issues, although I agree that it doesn't offer hope for things to change.

    1. Maybe I'd feel different about Two Distant Strangers if I wasn't American but to me it offered nothing and I watched it right after yet another police shooting so that didn't help.

  2. Of those shorts, Burrow is the only film I've seen as I also saw it with my nephew as he liked it a lot. I do have If Anything Happens to You in my laptop hard drive as I'm going to check it out.

  3. Great post! I really want to see now If Anything Happens I Love You. I just love moving shorts like that!

    1. Thanks for visiting! I hope you get to check it out on Netflix.

  4. I actually was able to watch Collette and AConcerto and liked both but I preferred Collette over a Concerto because it spoke more to me. The lady was very conflicted yet matter of fact when she said she wasn’t close to her brother at all. I have not seen the others but I really want to see Latesha which sounds so heart breaking. I will be trying to watch the others, hopefully, before the weekend or , at least what I can find on YouTube.

    1. That's the thing I liked most about Collette, how matter of fact she was. I hope you get the chance to watch Latasha!


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