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Oscars 2020: Best Live Action Short Film Predictions

Many of the shorts address topical issues or lingering social or political traumas. Updated 1/18/20.


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The Oscar contenders for live action short offers a range of socially relevant and hot-button issues, including children and families in jeopardy, immigration, off-beat love stories, and animal shenanigans.

In “Brotherhood,” the Canadian frontrunner from Meryam Joobeu, a Tunisian man returns home after fighting with ISIS in Syria to fight with his father. It’s exquisitely photographed and the performances are powerful. “Saria,” directed by Bryan Buckley, follows two sisters plotting an escape from an abusive orphanage in Guatamela to find freedom in the U.S. Brandt Andersen’s “Refugee” focuses on a Syrian doctor, who attempts to escape her war-ravaged homeland with her young daughter.

In Yves Pia’s feel-good French comedy, “Nefta Football Club,” two boys intrude on a big score when they stumble on a drug donkey in the middle of the desert between Tunisia and Algeria.

Standing apart from the others are “The Neighbors’ Window,” from Oscar-nominated documentary director Marshall Curry (“Street Fight”), and the Belgian thriller, “A Sister,” from Delphine Girard. In the former, the mother of young children, who has grown frustrated with her husband and daily routine, spies on a young couple that has moved across from her New York apartment, and in the latter, a late-night emergency call center operator tries to unravel what’s going on with a woman who appears to be in danger in the backseat of a frantic car ride.

The final five contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No film will be considered a frontrunner until we have seen it.

“The Neighbors’ Window”
“A Sister”

“Nefta Football Club”

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