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The 'short' story of the Oscars

But nominations do not necessarily mean success for the brief, jewel-like productions that producers and actors work so hard on.

January 12, 2013|By Michael Miller
  • "Asad" is one of the nine short films from the Irvine International Film Festival that received an Oscar nomination.
"Asad" is one of the nine short films from the… (Daily Pilot )

By the time Kief Davidson got his Oscar nomination last week, he had gone through all the highs and lows of a Hollywood career: heartbreak, success, hopelessness and out-of-the-blue comebacks.

And that was just between 3 and 5 a.m.

The director, whose short film "Open Heart" will screen next weekend at the Irvine International Film Festival, spent a rough night before Emma Stone and Seth MacFarlane announced the Oscar contenders early Thursday morning. For hours, he couldn't sleep, and when he finally did, his subconscious began playing tricks.

"I was having the same dreams over and over again," Davidson said. "The first one was that I woke up and saw online that we didn't get the nomination, and I was really upset, and then I would wake up and be really relieved that it was just a dream. Then I'd fall asleep again and dream that I got the nomination. But then I would wake up and realize that I was just dreaming.

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"Repeat those two dreams over and over again, and that was my night."

When one of those dreams was finally interrupted by a phone call — from "Open Heart's" producer, who ensured Davidson that yes, he really, truly had gotten a nomination — it made up for all the nighttime agony. That went for others on the Irvine International program as well; by the time Stone and MacFarlane read the last nominee, nine of the festival's entries were up for awards.

Sean Fine, co-director of the short documentary "Inocente," got a text from his editor while visiting his son's classroom in Washington, D.C.; the kids joined in the impromptu celebration. Sam French, director of the live-action short "Buzkashi Boys," woke early to hear the nominations, then promptly called his leading actor — a boy who lives in Afghanistan — with the good news.

"He was absolutely overwhelmed," French said. "He's a street kid with no TV, so he has no idea what the Academy Awards are. He asked, 'Is this up for the best Afghan film?' I said, 'No, this is the best film in the world.'"

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A taste of Hollywood

For a few minutes every year, they're among the most famous obscure people in the world.

Read over the following list and see if any names ring a bell: Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon. "Smile Pinki." Luke Matheny. Nicolas Schmerkin. "The New Tenants."

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