Thanks to the talky self-absorption of everyone from sleek Julia Roberts to slovenly Michael Moore, the Academy Awards broadcast is always too long by half. For the short of it, why not open the package called Oscar Shorts 2005, on view this week at Starz?
The three Oscar-nominated animated films collected here are Birthday Boy (10 minutes), from Australia, about a Korean boy playing at war while his father fights for real at the front; Ryan (14 minutes), in which Chris Landreth glimpses the celebrated Canadian animator Ryan Larkin, who's now descended to Skid Row; and Gopher Broke (5 minutes), a U.S. entry by Jeff Fowler and Tim Miller about a hungry gopher in search of a snack.
The live-action nominees are Two Cars, One Night (13 minutes), New Zealanders' Taika Aititi and Ainsley Gardiner's vignette about three children striking up a friendship while waiting for their respective parents to emerge from a motel bar; 7:35 in the Morning (8 minutes), by Spain's Nacho Vigalondo, wherein a woman enters a cafe and finds all the other diners staring at their plates in silence; WASP (23 minutes), a British short about a 23-year-old mother of four who escapes her bleak life for a magical moment; and Little Terrorist (15 minutes), Ashvin Kumar's vivid snapshot of a Pakistani boy who accidentally crosses the border into India to retrieve his cricket ball.
Also included: Rex Steele: Nazi Smasher (12 minutes), winner of the Student Academy Award for animated shorts. The director is American Alex Woo.
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Oscar Shorts will screen Friday, February 25, through Thursday, March 3, at the Starz FilmCenter at the Tivoli, 900 Auraria Parkway. For information and showtimes, call 303-893-3456.