Good news, cable-subscribing, non-industry Oscar viewers: Movies on Demand has officially made it easier for you to understand what the heck is going on during the murky, ambiguous hours between “Best Supporting Actress” and “Best Actor.” ShortsHD, a network available to digital customers of Comcast/Xfinity, Time Warner Cable, Bright House Networks, Cox Communications, Cablevision, Bresnan and Charter, has released the best of this year’s nominated shorts in two special packages: “Best Animated Short Films” and “Best Live Action Short Films.”

This year’s nominated shorts, which are also playing in theaters nationwide, range from an 11-minute time travel comedy to a 7-minute animated look at a big-city chicken. Sounds fun, right? At best, you witness some great art and have a way better chance of winning your party’s Oscar pool. At worst, you only wasted 10 minutes. It’s really a win-win. Check out the trailers here, and see below for the full list of offerings:

Best Live Action Short Films

  • “Pentecost”- Ireland (12 min, Director: Peter McDonald) – When Damian is forced to serve as an altar boy at an important mass in his local parish he faces a difficult choice: conform to the status quo or serve an extended ban from his passion in life, football.
  • “Raju” – Germany/India (25 min, Director: Max Zähle) – A German couple in Kolkata adopts an Indian orphan. When their child suddenly disappears, they realize that they are part of the problem.
  • “The Shore”- Ireland (31 min, Director: Terry George) – Joe and Paddy have been divided for 25 years by the tumult of “The Troubles”. When Joe returns home to Northern Ireland, his daughter Patricia brings the two men together for a reunion, with unexpected results.
  • “Time Freak”USA (11 min, Director: Andrew Bowler) – A neurotic inventor creates a time machine, only to get caught up traveling around yesterday.
  • “Tuba Atlantic” Norway (26 min, Director: Hallvar Witzø) – Seventy-year-old Oskar has only six days left to live, and wants to reconcile with his brother after a lifetime of disagreement.

Best Animated Short Films

  • “Dimanche/Sunday”- Canada (10 min, Director: Patrick Doyon) – Every Sunday, it’s the same old routine! The train clatters through the village and almost shakes the pictures off the wall. In the church, Dad dreams about his toolbox. And of course later Grandma will get a visit and the animals will meet their fate.
  • “A Morning Stroll”UK (7 mins, Director: Grant Orchard) – When a New Yorker walks past a chicken on his morning stroll, we are left to wonder which one is the real city slicker.
  • “Wild Life”Canada (14 mins, Directors: Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby) – In 1909, an Englishman moves to the Canadian frontier, but is singularly unsuited to it. His letters home are much sunnier than the reality, with inter-titles often comparing his fate to that of a comet.
  • “The Fantasic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore”USA (15 mins, Directors: William Joyce & Brandon Oldenburg) – Inspired, in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, this film is a poignant, humorous allegory about the curative powers of written story.

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