Only once per year can we see guaranteed Oscar winners before the gold statuettes are doled out—the annual screening of Oscar Nominated Short Films, two separate bundles of animated and live action nominees. The collections of Oscar Shorts, slated to open at The Flicks on Friday, Feb. 10, are screened separately, and this year's crop is wonderful.
I must admit to always leaning toward the animated shorts, and the best of this year's lot has to be Piper, from the Pixar studios. It's a simple but magically-told tale of a newly-hatched sandpiper, venturing from her nest to the dangerous water's edge of a nearby ocean. Another winner is Pear Cider and Cigarettes from writer/director Robert Valle (Aeon Flux). It's a wild, alcohol-fueled ride, including planes, trains, automobiles, risky transplant surgery in China and a mysteriously-missing big toe. Pearl, from Disney-veteran Patrick Osborne, chronicles a father, daughter and their collective coming-of-age through the car window of an old hatchback. It's not officially a Disney film, but it's just as good.
This year's live action shorts are equally entertaining. In my estimation, the Oscar frontrunner has to be Silent Nights, from Danish director Aske Bang, a perfectly-timed tale of homelessness and immigration told through the prism of a love story.