5 Oscar Winning Short Films That You Must Watch

By Aditya Savnal. Posted on September 19, 2014

Making a short film isn't an easy task.  Feature films have an advantage of longer running time giving them adequate time to narrate the story and make the desired impact on audiences.  Short filmmakers however have the challenge of communicating their stories in a limited span of time, thus making it a more exciting and challenging form of filmmaking.  Over the years there have been several short films that have created a more lasting impact on us compared to many full length feature films.

Many such shorts have been recognized by the Academy that hands out the Oscars. This compilation looks at 5 such short films that we love and that have been bestowed with the Academy award.

The Music Box (1932) - Hal Roach

Making a slapstick comedy that gets it right is an art very few people have mastered. The trio of Hal Roach, Laurel and Hardy through their timeless comic shorts has proved that when it comes to slapstick comedy, very few can rival them.

In this particular short film Laurel and Hardy have the mammoth task of moving a piano through a flight of stairs. With a simple storyline, the film creates innumerous comic situations which seem simple but are downright funny. Even in this day and age when such sequences have been done to death, the film makes you go wild with laughter.

The Music Box is also the first short film to be bestowed with an Oscar award for Best Live Action Short film.

Quest (1996) - Tyron Montgomery

In its quest for water, a sand puppet deserts (pun intended) its surroundings and wanders through the world of paper, stone and iron.

Quest is a moving piece of filmmaking that keeps us engaged even without the use of dialogues. With the help of stop motion animation the film beautifully creates a desolated atmosphere and makes us root for the protagonist in its quest for water.

Quest was adjudged the Best Animated Short Film at the 69th Academy Awards. Besides Quest, Tyron Montgomery has directed one more short film called Our Garden (1998).

Old Man and the Sea (1999) - Aleksandr Petrov

Based on Ernest Hemingway’s novel ‘Old Man and The Sea’, this animated short film of the same name is one of the best animated features to be ever made.  By using the ‘glass on paint’ technique of animation, the film creates a beautiful visual experience. Not only is the film a stunning piece of animation but it also teaches us a thing or two about life.

It tells the story of Santiago, an old man with an adventurous past who now spends his time fishing alone in the ocean without much success.

Do watch the end credits that give us a peek into the hard work that has gone into making of this film.

Aleksandr Petrov has also directed other short films such as Mermaid (1997), The Marathon (1998) and My Love (2007).

Six Shooter (2004) - Martin McDonagh

Many directors dabble with the short film medium before making full length feature films. The short film format gives them ample scope to experiment with interesting subjects and often serves as an inspiration for their full length feature films.

Similar is the case with Martin McDonagh. Much before he hit the big time through his films such as 'In Bruges' and 'Seven Psychopaths', Martin McDonagh made this quirky little short film that won at the Oscars in 2006.

In the film a man mourning the death of his wife finds himself in the company of a couple mourning the loss of their child and a weird teenager aboard a train. The film has some quirky writing, zany characters and dark humor that have gone onto become hallmarks of McDonagh’s works.

Paperman (2012) - John Kahrs

With the advent of 3D technology in animation and film viewing, many of us have forgotten the joys of watching a good old 2D animation film. Maybe that's why this film comes across as a breath of fresh air.

Using beautiful hand drawn visuals, Paperman tells the story of a regular office-goer who uses paper planes to pursue the girl of his dreams. It's a moving animated film which reinstates the power of simple storytelling that leaves you with a big smile in the end.

Are there short films that you've loved, that you think were better than these? Am sure there will be. Do let us know about your favourite's and we would be very happy to write about them.


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