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Granger on Film A look at this year’s Oscar-nominated short films

February 16, 2019

The three short-film categories often stump those who are fascinated by the Academy Awards: Live Action, Documentary and Animated. Now you can view these mini-contenders for the price of one feature-length film.

The live action are usually the most dramatic. Vincent Lambe’s “Detainment” recreates a harrowing 1990s murder involving two 10-year-old Irish boys who were tried as adults for killing a toddler. Two different boys are featured in Jeremy Comte’s “Fauve” as they struggle in the Canadian wilderness.

From Canada, Marianne Farley’s “Marguerite” focuses on an ailing elderly woman and her caregiver. Rodrigo Sorogoyen’s Spanish psychological thriller “Madre” records a frantic phone call between a mother and her lost son as a stranger approaches him. And Guy Nattiv’s “Skin” is about race, hate crimes and how violence is passed down to children.

The documentary nominees include Marshall Curry’s timely “A Night at the Garden,” as history seems to be repeating itself. Rayka Zehtabchi’s “Period: End of Sentence” chronicles how young women in India become empowered to make and sell sanitary products.

Skye Fitzgerald’s “Lifeboat” relates how the German NGO Seawatch saved the lives of refugees stranded on sinking rafts in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya. Ed Perkins cites Cornelius Walker’s experience of racial prejudice in “Black Sheep.” And Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman deliver “End Game,” an empathetic exploration of end-of-life care.

Among the Animation entries are Louise Bagnall’s nostalgic “Late Afternoon” and Pixar’s surrealistic “Bao” about a doting mother and her anthropomorphized “baozi” dumpling (which played in theaters alongside “Incredibles 2”).

Andrew Chjesworth and Bobby Pontillas’ “One Small Step” follows a Chinese-American girl who dreams of going into outer space, while Taylor Jimenez’s “Weekends” reveals the dilemma of a boy trundled between his divorced parents’ homes in Toronto.

Last-but-not-least, Alison Snowden and Davi Fine’s “Animal Behavior” examines their natural instincts.

Pick your favorites to take home the coveted Oscar.