The Oscar contenders for live-action short include a range of social issue films, addressing topics from child kidnapping to disability. This year’s shortlist includes a number of big name talents alongside student films, with newcomers competing alongside the likes of Pedro Almodovar. The shortlist includes the Spanish auteur’s first English-language film “The Human Voice,” which stars Tilda Swinton in a tour-de-force performance of a theatrical monologue by Jean Cocteau.
Another high profile title stars rapper Joey Bada$$ in “Two Distant Strangers,” which shines a spotlight on police brutality and the BLM movement through a “Groundhog Day” inspired storyline. The 30-minute film marks the first short film written and directed by comedian and “The Daily Show” writer Travon Free. It counts Sean “Diddy” Combs, Adam McKay, and NBA star Kevin Durant as producers.
The Oscar Isaac-produced “The Letter Room” also made the cut. The film centers on a prison officer who becomes involved in an inmate’s affairs. Alia Shawkat and Isaac star in the film, which is directed by Danish screenwriter (and Isaac’s spouse) Elvira Lind.
Films that win a Student Academy Award qualify for Oscar consideration, and a handful of those winners have made the shortlist. These include Student Academy Award winner “Bittu,” which was shot in the foothills of the Himalayas and is based on the real-life 2013 tragedy about an elementary school poisoning in India. The list also includes the Ghanaian film “Da Yie,” about two children who are taken on a dangerous road trip. Doug Roland’s groundbreaking “Feeling Through” is the first film to feature a deaf-blind actor.
174 films qualified in the category. Members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch vote to determine the shortlist and the nominees. Ten films have advanced in the live action short category for the 93rd Academy Awards.
Nominations voting begins on March 5 and concludes on March 10. Nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards will be announced on March 15, 2021.
The 10 shortlist contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No film will be considered a frontrunner until we have seen it.
“The Human Voice”
“The Kicksled Choir”
“The Letter Room”
“Two Distant Strangers”
The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, 2021, and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.