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Film Review: ‘2016 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

26 February 2016 12:00 PM, PST | Variety - Film News | See recent Variety - Film News news »

In a year in which the best picture presenter could conceivably announce, “And the Oscar goes to … ‘The Big Short,’” will the little shorts get any love? The answer is: They already have. Thanks to an 11-year effort by ShortsHD to bring Oscar’s least-seen categories to audiences, the nominated short films have collectively out-earned previous editions — which is more a testament to the company’s dedication than any one of its individual nominees. The live-action shorts themselves represent a range of solid if somewhat calculated calling cards from helmers who’ve studied at film schools around the world, now enjoying exposure across nearly all conceivable platforms.

Though amusingly irreverent, Basil Khalil’s nonsensical “Ave Maria” serves up a comedic detente between Arabs and Israelis, centered around an implausible crisis in which a Jewish family’s car breaks down outside a Palestinian convent along the road through the West Bank. »

- Peter Debruge

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