How to Watch All 15 Oscar-Nominated Short Films
Updated: Apr 29, 2021
Last Sunday’s Academy Awards ceremony faced a lot of unprecedented issues due to the pandemic. One major problem was that it was more difficult to watch all of the nominated films with cinemas closed. While several of the Best Picture nominees can be found on the main streaming platforms - Mank and The Trial of the Chicago 7 on Netflix, for example - others received a limited theatrical release and were only available to buy online at premium prices. People who might have seen the films in cinemas were more reluctant to pay to watch at home.
On the other hand, Oscar-nominated short films are now easier to watch than ever before. Most of those nominated in the three shorts categories - animated, live-action and documentary - are either available to stream, to buy or rent at low prices, or even for free on YouTube. This increasing access is a great opportunity to investigate some fantastic, often overlooked examples of quality filmmaking.
I’ve therefore compiled a list below, documenting where each of these films can be seen.
Currently, two animated shorts and two live-action shorts can’t be watched on their own on VOD platforms. However, they are still available to stream as part of a bundle of all animated fiction shorts.
It’s also worth noting that, in previous years, the Oscar-nominated shorts have been sold as part of a bundle on VOD stores like Google Play. It's likely the same will happen with the 2021 films at some point this year.
Nominees - Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film
If Anything Happens I Love You (Winner)
This year’s winner for best animated short film has been praised for its emotional depiction of a family torn apart following a school shooting.
This film is the eighth entry in Pixar’s critically-acclaimed SparkShorts series. It follows a rabbit’s misadventures as she attempts to build her ideal burrow.
Made using traditional hand-drawing techniques, this animated French short explores urban nightlife from an abstract, chaotic perspective.
This epic, non-narrative film from former Pixar animator Erick Oh explores themes such as war, racism and religion.
This comedic Icelandic film follows a group of people as they struggle to accomplish a series of everyday chores and responsibilities.
Nominees - Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film
Two Distant Strangers (Winner)
This year’s winner for best live action short uses a time-loop premise to illustrate the horror of racism in the United States.
This film explores the relationship between a homeless teenager and a DeafBlind man, and is notable for casting a DeafBlind actor in the lead role.
The Letter Room
This short comedy-drama stars Oscar Isaac as a prison corrections officer tasked with processing inmates letters and their often personal contents.
This Palestinian drama follows a man and his daughter as they try to buy a wedding anniversary gift by passing through multiple checkpoints in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.
Shot in one take, this Israeli film follows a man trying to retrieve his stolen bicycle. In the process, it tells a story of injustice and inhumanity.
Nominees - Academy Award for Best Documentary Short
This year’s winner for best documentary short follows a former member of the French Resistance as she returns to Germany for the first time in seven decades.
A Concerto Is a Conversation
Acclaimed film composer Kris Bowers sits down for a conversation with his 92-year-old grandfather, exploring the vast differences in their life experiences.
Do Not Split
A street-level look at the events surrounding the 2019-2020 protests in Hong Kong.
This short documentary explores the ongoing conflict in Yemen, and the resulting famine, by telling the stories of two hospitals fighting against child malnutrition.
A Love Song for Natasha
This biographical documentary explores the life and death of Latasha Harlins, who was killed by a convenience store owner in 1991. The event was one of the leading causes of the 1992 Los Angeles riots.
This list is tailored towards availability in the United Kingdom. Some of these links will work in other countries, but others may be found on different platforms or streaming services.
You can also watch all of the trailers here at ShortsTV: 2021 Oscar® Nominated Short Films