Lenses: Our Review of ‘Oscar Short Films 2024: Live Action’

Posted in Theatrical by - February 16, 2024
Lenses: Our Review of ‘Oscar Short Films 2024: Live Action’

The 2024 Oscars Live Action shorts all thematically build around the same concept: the power of connection. The symbolic nature surrounding each short film comments on how as a society, we are all searching for something that binds us back to the world around us, even if that’s just within ourselves. No matter our circumstances, connection is the building block that allows us to feel, grow, and change – whether for the better or the worse. These short films all speak to this nature, and how as a society, we must find connections to determine where we belong.

The After 

The After demonstrates the limited control we have in the world around us, and how impactful individual moments can be to swiftly change the course of how we thought the world around us would be. Misan Harriman uses many shifting camera angles to show just how quickly our world can come crashing down around us, and yet also how small moments can help bring us back to finding purpose and hope. I didn’t love the way the intense drama of each scene seemed to take over the piece, but I can understand its viewpoint – life is a series of ever-changing events that ultimately lead us to where we need to be – and we can’t always be understood in those moments until they lead us to what our greater purpose might be.

Red, White, and Blue 

This short film does so much to say so little. After watching, I made the choice – perhaps a mistake – to look into others’ reviews of the film, only to find myself combing through various mixed opinions on how much of an impact this narrative has on the world around us. Centered around the issues of abortion laws in America, I found myself feeling deeply uncomfortable knowing what I know. That this single mother and daughter were limited on choices based on decisions made by a governing body, rather than personal choice. While I believe the message of the film is extremely impactful and pertinent to the political climate today, I found the plot slightly predictable and played through. I kept wishing for more from this film, and in my personal opinion, the context and the narrative just fell flat. 

Knight of Fortune

The beauty of finding connection through loss is incredibly depicted within this short. As our main character, Karl struggles through coming to terms with being recently a widow, he meets Torben, a strange constant visitor to the funeral home, and explores the beauty of moving forward through someone else’s lens. Director Lasse Lyskjær Noer & Cinematographer Lasse Ulvedal Tolbøll have created a visual masterpiece that brought me and my partner to both belly laughter and tears, and anything that can bring that array of emotions within a 25-minute time frame is an absolute winner for me.


“If a person is understood, he or she belongs” – Carl Rogers, 1986.

As someone who struggles with mental health issues, and also has multiple loved ones who struggle with the same issues, Invincible nailed the desperation of wanting to find peace in a world filled with anything but. The essence of longing for normality and a sense of freedom speaks throughout this short film, seen through the eyes of a young man trapped in a world that isn’t built for him. The narrative builds throughout the piece, and as more comes to light on the issues surrounding him, it becomes increasingly clear that as much as the people around him are trying to help, they really can’t give him what he truly needs.

My heart broke multiple times throughout this film, allowing me to hold space for the people in my life who try so hard to protect me even when sometimes all we want is to be free. It is a beautiful depiction of mental health, the struggles to fit into a world not fit for people who see things differently, and how hard it is when it feels like no matter how hard you try, you can never seem to be enough for those around you that truly love you.

The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar

In true Wes Anderson fashion, this film demonstrates a multitude of storytelling techniques through beautiful cinematography, trapped in a yellow-tinted colour grade that fills every scene with a sense of whimsy and wonder. The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar was the final film I watched in the series of nominations, and I can predict now that it is the strongest contender to win at the Oscars. It embodies the idea of connection to the world around you, demonstrating a short-sighted man trapped in a world of his own making, suddenly changing everything due to a seemingly insignificant moment in time and the context of what matters in life. Adapted from a story written by Roald Dahl (which in itself is a win), it was a wonderful blend of comedy, drama, and eccentric thrill that in all brings together a really beautiful piece of cinema. 

This post was written by
Caitie Talty is a teacher in Edmonton, Alberta currently working on her Master's in Educational Studies. As a lover of all things literacy, she is beginning her deep dive into obscure films and texts, and finding new ways to speak her thoughts on both elements into public existence. Outside of building on her film education, she enjoys spending time with her partner, traveling the world, and trying to pet every dog she crosses paths with.
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