Academy Award-Nominated Short Films

Rated NR 2006

The variety is mind-boggling. Among the five animated shorts vying for Oscar this year we find everything from The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, which explores filmmaker John Canemaker's unresolved relationship with his father (who was apparently a brute and definitely a convicted arsonist), to Shane Acker's 9, in which a pair of haunted fugitives are stalked through an urban wasteland by a huge, creaking insect. The live-action contenders include Ulrike Grote's Ausreisser (The Runaway), a marvel of concision and perfectly tuned emotion in which a mysterious six-year-old beguiles the man he insists on calling "Daddy"; Martin McDonagh's Six Shooter, which combines Irish melancholy and wit in the weird encounter between a grief-stricken widower and a cheerfully detached punk; and God Sleeps in Rwanda, a look at five women who survived 1994's Rwandan genocide (1 million dead) and now struggle to rebuild a society ravaged by poverty, AIDS, and memories of gang rape. Kudos to Magnolia Pictures/Shorts International for packaging these gems in advance of the March 5 Oscar ceremonies.

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