It's the lull in the Oscar party. The big "Huh?" of the office pool. The single moment of the entire Academy Awards season when no one has an opinion. I'm talking about the nominations for best animated short and best live-action short.
Tomorrow, the Michigan Theater in Ann Arbor (Information: 734-668-8463) will show two programs of this year's Oscar shorts, the live-action nominees at 1:30 p.m. and the animated shorts at 3:30. And if you buy a ticket ($8.50) for the first screening, you can stay and watch the second for free.
It's worth it. Not every filmmaker wants to make an epic. Indeed, Ari Sandel's West Bank Story, the live-action front-runner, would suffer if it went beyond its 21 minutes. It's about an Israeli soldier in the West Bank who falls for a Palestinian girl. Before you groan, consider: It's a clever parody of West Side Story, with dueling falafel huts and tap-dancing rabbis.
Nearly as surprising is Disney's five-minute The Little Matchgirl, told in that classic Disney soft-focus, hand-drawn style you thought was dead.
- Christopher Borrelli