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January 22 2019
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Short Film Oscar Nominations 2019: Our Reactions

What This Year’s Nominations Says About Short Films In 2019



The nominations are in! And there were certainly several surprises across all major categories that have caused varied reactions. While snubs are a given this time of year, the nice thing about the short film categories is that a wider net of films still got recognized by way of the shortlist. However, there can only be five left in each category that we will see at the ceremony. And just as the decisions in other categories often tell us a story about what the wider culture is reacting (or not reacting) to, we believe the short film nominations lend some insight into the wider state of short film culture.

Netflix, Netflix, Netflix

In probably the biggest story of the awards season, Netflix’s Roma notched several key Oscar nominations, including Best Picture. Many feared that any Netflix film might get snubbed because of their perceived attempts to disrupt the industry in which the Academy Awards holds so dear. In the end, enough people saw eye-to-eye this year to realize that the merits of a movie should matter more than the logo of the company distributing it.

The same went for the short film race as well, with End Game being another Netflix production to get a nomination. Out of the two Netflix shorts still in contention, we believed End Game had the best chance due to one of its co-directors already having some history with the Oscars. Because of this momentous year, we’ve hopefully opened the floodgates for other streamers to do well in the prestige business!

Pixar, Yes…Dreamworks?

In one of the biggest shockers of the short film categories, both films from Dreamworks’ brand-new animation outlet (Bilby, Bird Karma) got snubbed. This really took us by surprise, as we assumed that Dreamworks had the goodwill and the budget to stand toe to toe with Pixar. In truth, they didn’t even outlast an independent short from a Pixar alum (Weekends).

We’ve learned our lesson: Pixar is still king in this category, and barring a huge upset, Bao should be taking the Oscar. Even One Small Step, a film whose story and visuals reminded us of a Pixar short, got nominated. It’s a Pixar world, and we’re just living in it.

A Diverse Array

We’re proud of the way things shook out in the Live Action category. While this is typically a pretty culturally-rich final five each year, we appreciate the nomination of two shorts we thought might be on the outside looking in (Marguerite, Mother). Mother in particular played well outside of the U.S., but the Oscar exposure will help it get seen here too. Great to see Israeli director Guy Nattiv also getting nominated for Skin and helping round out an international directing field.

Otherwise, it looks like we’ve got a neck-and-neck race between Detainmentand Fauve for front-runner. Both come into nomination day with a lot of momentum. Will the fact that Fauve is already available on Vimeo make a difference within the Academy? Or will the fact that Detainment is one of the best critically-reviewed shorts of the year help it get the Oscar? No matter what happens, the field is a talented one and we’re excited about any result.

Here’s the full list of short film nominees:

Documentary Short Subject:

A Night at the Garden, Marshall Curry

Black Sheep, Ed Perkins & Jonathan Chin

End Game, Rob Epstein & Jeffrey Friedman

LIFEBOAT, Skye Fitzgerald & Bryn Mooser

Period. End of Sentence., Rayka Zehtabchi & Melissa Berton

Animated Short:

Animal Behaviour, Alison Snowden & David Fine

Bao, Domee Shi & Becky Neiman

Late Afternoon, Louise Bagnall & Nuria González Blanco

One Small Step, Andrew Chesworth & Bobby Pontillas

Weekends, Trevor Jimenez

Best Live Action Short:

Detainment, Vincent Lambe & Darren Mahon

Fauve, Jeremy Comte & Maria Gracia Turgeon

Marguerite, Marianne Farley & Marie-Hélène Panisset

Mother, Rodrigo Sorogoyen & María del Puy Alvarado

Skin, Guy Nattiv & Jaime Ray Newman


Stay tuned at for more short film coverage during awards season.

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