The short film categories at the Academy Awards can be some of the hardest to predict. Given that so few people see them prior to the ceremony, it is hard to gauge front-runner status. Even when there is a leader of the pack, these categories can be prone to upsets.
Will Win: The Silent Child
Could Win: Watu Wote
Dark Horse: DeKalb Elementary
I’m lucky to have been able to see four of this year’s five nominees in Best Live Action Short. Even so, I think it’s a tough category to narrow down.
In recent years, the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film has gone to a more uplifting, hopeful film. 2016’s Stutterer and 2017’s Sing were shorts about anxieties turned into hopes. This year, the only potentially uplifting film of the bunch would be the only comedy, The Eleven O’Clock (which I have not seen, so I cannot confirm its quality). Then again, an overt comedy seems like a harder sell than a poignant drama.
The Silent Child is the most personal, narratively tight film of the bunch. It also sports a powerful message that the Academy can unilaterally rally behind. It is well-made and inoffensive.
DeKalb Elementary and Watu Wote are more challenging, and ultimately more rewarding as a result. But I don’t know if they translate as well to an Academy viewership. The Silent Child just reads most traditional in terms of narrative form. Not to mention that DeKalb Elementary and My Nephew Emmett are stylistically limited.
This category is pretty much a toss-up, but I think The Silent Child and Watu Wote have a distinct edge.
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—Alex Brannan (@TheAlexBrannan)