The inherent limitations of the format limit foundational building blocks of filmic narrative including character development and story-arc. That said, when a filmmaker successfully transforms these limitations into advantages, the result is something that stands apart as truly unique. In a quest to determine some criteria for exactly how a filmmaker might succeed in this genre, I made it my mission to see every Oscar nominee from the last 10 years, and what I came away with is – no consensus. There’s no go-to formula or tried-and-true structure to rely on. A successful short, then, marks true innovation and technical prowess. Such successes include 2010 Oscar winner The New Tenants, former-nominee The Savior, and former nominee Auf der Strecke, to name a few. Which, of course, brings us to the 2011 Academy Awards, and my take on the shorts featured therein.