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Oscar Voters Go International For Best Live Action Short Picks

The 2023 Oscars shortlist for the Best Live Action Short Film category belongs to international contenders.



Sundance Film Festival

This article contains IndieWire’s preliminary Best Live Action Short predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season, and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.

We keep updating these predictions through the awards season, so keep checking IndieWire for all our 2023 Oscar picks. Nominations voting is from January 12 to January 17, 2023, with official Oscar nominations announced on January 24, 2023. The final voting is March 2 through 7, 2023.  And finally, the 95th Oscars telecast will be broadcast on Sunday, March 12 and air live on ABC at 8:00 p.m. ET/ 5:00 p.m. PT.

The State of the Race

Interestingly enough, there have been a lot of eyes on the Best Live-Action Short category this year given the groundbreaking win for Riz Ahmed’s “The Long Goodbye,” a film that some would deem a music video. Unfortunately for other musicians like Taylor Swift and Kendrick Lamar, who made films of the same name as their respective songs “All Too Well” and “We Cry Together,” the Swet Shop Boy’s Oscar win did not open the door to more music-led short films to become Academy Award contenders in the way they had anticipated.

What did make the shortlist this year are a group of films that are mostly the usual fare, but overwhelmingly international. Only one film is in English, but is set in Northern Ireland (“An Irish Goodbye”). The last time a non-English film won this category was in 2017, so the voters that determine the shortlist may have made it their mission to be open to more international work.

And there are certainly some fun ones to explore. “Tula” and “Warsha” are two films on the shortlist that IndieWire happened to have screened at our LA3C Showcase of short films that qualified for the 95th Oscars. The former, from Spanish filmmaker Beatriz Silva, is a topical comedy about the janitor at a conservative private high school coaching a student through sexual health concerns. The latter, a 2022 Sundance Film Festival award winner directed by Dania Bdeir, centers on a forklift operator in Lebanon looking for some liberating privacy.

Both “Tula” and “Warsha” are crowd pleasers that provide for a compelling yet easy viewing experience, but oftentimes the actual Live-Action Short winners are very tough watches. The last two winners actually contain traumatic shooting deaths. If there is still a tendency to award darker stories, Anders Walter’s “Ivalu” is a strong choice for a frontrunner. Not only is it beautifully shot, the Greenland set short explores tough issues, and happens to be executive produced by two-time Live-Action Short Oscar winner Kim Magnusson.

Disney+ project “Le Pupille” may be the only other project with some real recognizable names attached to it. Not only is it written and directed by Cannes favorite Alice Rohrwacher, it’s produced by four-time Oscar winner Alfonso Cuarón. Plus, the whimsical period piece set at an Italian boarding school functions as a good film to watch during the holidays, the same time period these Oscar shortlists have been released.

Time will tell if the tides turn on this race as most eagle-eyed Oscar prognosticators still wait till the shortlist release to determine what films they need to see in order to pick an eventual winner. Most of these films, after all, are only screened at festivals until they receive attention from the Academy. Still, a few are available on platforms like YouTube or Vimeo if one does some digging. “Night Ride,” from Norwegian filmmaker Eirik Tveiten, is one example of a more accessible film that is likely to appeal to voters, tackling the heavy subject of gender discrimination and street harassment with a slightly twisted sense of humor.

Contenders are listed in alphabetical order, below. Only films we have seen can be deemed frontrunners.

“Le Pupille”
“Night Ride”

“All in Favor”
“Almost Home”
“An Irish Goodbye”
“The Lone Wolf”
“Plastic Killer”
“The Red Suitcase”
“The Right Words”
“The Treatment”

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