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Review: Oscar Nominated Short Films 2019

I always look forward to watching the shorts. (Short being 40 minutes or less, so some of them aren’t all that short.) This year’s crop had clear winners and losers for me in each of the categories. Some of them felt like films I’d already seen. And overall, I think there have been stronger years for shorts.  However, they’re always worth seeing.  And as I do each year, I will renew my call for theaters to start showing them before the features.

Trailers to this year’s shorts can be found here.

Amour (Love)

Amour has been at the top of a lot of lists this awards season. It is Oscar nominated for Best Picture and Best Foreign Language Feature (that has only happened 5 times), Best Director, Best Actress, and Best Original Screenplay. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and the Golden Globe for Best Foreign film. And yet, I wasn’t all that blown away by it. Austrian director Michael Haneke was also the festival darling in 2010 for his film The White Ribbon which left me cold. So maybe, even though I am the arty one, he is just not the director for me. Which is not to say that the film is bad. It is just that it is too long and there are quite a few things that felt entirely gratuitous.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

There are movies that only the British seem capable of pulling off, populated with non-caricatured older people who have depth and interesting stories to tell. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel is one of those films. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that those old people are played by some of the most talented actors in the world, Dames Judi Dench and Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, and Tom Wilkinson, and directed by John Madden who brought us Shakespeare in Love. It is funny and sweet with just the right amount of romance and a bit of drama tossed in to make it a thoroughly entertaining ride.