Are These the Best Short Films of 2013? Reviewing the Most Offbeat Oscar Nominees

Of all categories worth scrutinizing during the chaos of Oscar season, none provides a more diverse overview of recent cinema than the short film categories. While the documentary shorts tend to offer fairly conventional examples of the form (and some of them, like this year’s HBO-produced “Prison Terminal” even have broadcast deals in place), the animated and live action short films are different beasts: international in scope and stretching across multiple genres, they provide a diverse contrast to the largely straightforward crop of feature-length projects in contention.
Of course, “12 Years a Slave,” “Gravity” and “Her” alone represent a range of complex narratives, and the inclusion of “The Act of Killing” in the best documentary category marks the rare occasion of truly radical cinema entering mainstream consciousness. Overall, however, Oscar hype homogenizes the conversation around the best movies of the year, turning the whole charade into a mishmash of celebrity faces and…

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