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Every year, it seems that the office Oscar pool comes down to the short films. It’s sad that they’re usually thought of as castoffs—as “just tiebreakers”—because the shorts are very often more deserving of acclaim than the bigger nominees. The Loft is featuring the live action, animated and documentary shorts—each for one night only, with the five live-action nominees being shown Wednesday, Feb. 15. The three standouts among the group are the German-Indian production Raju, which would work very well as a feature film; the quick time-travel comedy Time Freak; and the Irish reminiscence The Shore, which stars the sturdy Belfast-born Ciarán Hinds. The other two nominees—the sprightly Pentecost and Norway’s Tuba Atlantic—are good, just not good enough. As for your Oscar pool, the smart money is probably on Raju, which was a nominee for the student Academy Awards last summer.

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