Where to watch the 2017 Oscar shorts

This year’s Oscar nominations were announced earlier this week. While the focus is often on the high profile categories like Best Picture, I try to make an effort to watch some of the short films. They usually cover a very diverse range of topics, from funny to serious and everything in between, plus it doesn’t take that long to watch a whole category because they are…you guessed it, short!

There are three categories of short films:

  • Animated Short Film
  • Live Action Short Film
  • Documentary (Short Subject)

One way to see some of the shorts is to watch them at your local art-house theatre. In Vancouver, Vancity Theatre has showings off all the nominees in the Animated and Live Action short film categories in February.

You’ll also be able to purchase the Animated and Live Action shorts online through ShortsHD (participating platforms include iTunes, Google Play and Vimeo), but they’re not available until February 21, less than a week before the Oscars broadcast. Last year the cost was $17.99.

Fortunately, many of the shorts are already available online.


Four of the five animated shorts are available online.

1. Blind Vaysha (8 min)
This short film tells the story of Vaysha, a young girl born with one green eye and one brown eye. While her left eye sees only the past; her right sees only the future. (Theodore Ushev)
Download from the National Film Board ($2.99)

2. Borrowed Time (7 min)
A weathered Sheriff returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget. With each step forward, the memories come flooding back.
Not available online

3. Pear Cider and Cigarettes (35 min)

Acclaimed graphic novelist Robert Valley’s first animated short is the tale of a charismatic but self-destructive friend living on the edge, and features an impeccable soundtrack. (Robert Valley and Cara Speller)
Rent from Vimeo On Demand ($6.99)

4. Pearl (6 min)

Set inside their home, a beloved hatchback, Pearl follows a girl and her dad as they crisscross the country chasing their dreams. It’s a story about the gifts we hand down and their power to carry love. And finding grace in the unlikeliest of places. (Patrick Osborne)
Watch on Google 360 (full interactive 360)

5. Piper (6 min)
Piper tells the story of a young sandpiper who fears the sea so much that it makes finding food especially challenging – this Pixar short was shown before Finding Dory. (Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer)
Watch on Vimeo



Unfortunately, only one of the Live Action shorts is available online.

1. Ennemis Intérieurs (Enemies Within) (27 min)
During the 90s, Algerian terrorism reaches France. Two men. Two identities. One battle.
(Sélim Azzazi)
Not available online

2. La Femme et le TGV (30 min)
A touching story between a lonely woman and a TGV train driver. Inspired by true events and stars actress Jane Birkin in the leading role. (Timo von Gunten and Giacun Caduff)
Available to download on iTunes ($2.99)

3. Silent Nights (30 min)
A volunteer at a housing shelter falls for an illegal immigrant. (Aske Bang and Kim Magnusson)
Not available online

4. Sing (Mindenki) (25 min)
Sing is a childhood drama with a lot of music, set in 1990s Budapest, Hungary. Inspired by a true story, it follows an award winning school choir and the new girl in class who just might uncover the ugly secret behind their fame. (Kristof Deák and Anna Udvardy)
Not available online

5. Timecode (15 min)

Luna and Diego are the parking lot security guards. Diego does the night shift, and Luna works by day. (Juanjo Giménez)
Not available online


The Documentary shorts are not made available to see in theatre (in Canada, at least); however, this year almost all of them are available to watch online.

1. Extremis (24 min)
Witness the wrenching emotions that accompany end-of-life decisions as doctors, patients and families in a hospital ICU face harrowing choices. (Dan Krauss)
Watch on Netflix

2. 4.1 Miles (21 min)
A coast guard captain on a small Greek island is suddenly charged with saving thousands of refugees from drowning at sea. (Daphne Matziaraki)
Watch on Vimeo

3. Joe’s Violin (24 min)
A Holocaust survivor donates his violin to a local instrument drive, changing the life of a schoolgirl from the nation’s poorest congressional district. (Kahane Cooperman and Raphaela Neihausen)
Watch on YouTube

4. Watani: My Homeland (40 min)
Filmed over three years, the films tells the epic story of one family’s escape from war-torn Syria, and their attempt to make a new life in Germany. (Marcel Mettelsiefen and Stephen Ellis)
Not available online

5. The White Helmets (40 min)
As daily airstrikes pound civilian targets in Syria, a group of indomitable first responders risk their lives to rescue victims from the rubble. (Orlando von Einsiedel and Joanna Natasegara)
Watch on Netflix


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