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Your Guide to the Oscar Short Films

Before you mark your ballot in the office pool, up your odds of winning by actually watching the short films! To help steer your viewing, our critic gives his take and ranks them from worst to best.

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Live Action Short Films

Also from Poland, this emotionally grueling short is a farewell letter of sorts from a doting mother who is battling terminal cancer to the young son she will never get to see grow up. 

2. Our Curse

Tomasz Sliwinski and Maciej Slesicki | 27 minutes

A devastating video diary made by a young polish couple chronicling the daily struggles of their infant son, who suffers from a rare breathing disorder. I was a blubbering pile of tears. 

1. Criss Hotline: Veterans Press 1

Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry | 41 minutes

The documentary-short category tends to be the most gut-wrenching and grim of the three. This year’s slate is no exception, but it’s also, I’d argue, the strongest. Exhibit A: this harrowing HBO-produced film about an upstate New York crisis center that fields desperate calls from U.S. military veterans, many of whom are contemplating suicide. It’s a necessary reminder of not only the shattering toll of war but also the remarkable compassion shown by the men and women who help fight the internal battles after it’s over.