British short films elevating 'unheard voices' at this year's Oscars

British talent has scooped lots of nominations ahead of Sunday's awards ceremony, particularly in the live action shorts category, ITV News Arts Editor Nina Nannar reports

British short films have got a history of performing well at the Oscars, and this year two are in the running to win one of the most prestigious awards in showbusiness.

Red, White and Blue depicts a reality for American women who, desperate for an abortion, are sometimes forced to cross borders to find a state where the procedure is still legal.

The film was produced in response to the overturning of Roe vs Wade in 2022, which had, since the 1970s, guaranteed women's right to a safe abortion.

It brought protestors onto the streets in America and prompted British screenwriter Nazrin Choudhury, who lives in the US, to create Red, White and Blue.

British screenwriter Nazrin Choudhury. Credit: ITV News

First-time director Ms Choudhury said that the film's Oscar nomination is important with the US Presidential Election fast approaching.

"We are talking about abortion and reproductive rights, and so it's gratifying for our film, it's gratifying for our cast and crew, but most importantly to represent the people whose voices can't be seen or heard ordinarily, who need this kind of healthcare," she said.

"We're just grateful that it puts the spotlight on that and on them."

Ms Choudhury's fellow Brit in the best live action short film category is another first-time director, Misan Harriman, who created The After.

The short explores grief, loneliness and self worth.

First-time director Misan Harriman. Credit: ITV News

"I struggled after George Floyd with many mental health challenges, in a year when the world seemed to go upside down. But you know what, so did everyone else," Mr Harriman said.

"When I was making my first piece of movie image, I wanted to make a film to really let people know that we're all going through challenges," he told ITV News.

Last year, it was Northern Ireland's An Irish Goodbye that triumphed in the live action short category, and the year before British actor Riz Ahmed took the award for The Long Goodbye.

Other Brits hoping to win big on Sunday

Plenty of Brits will be in attendance at the film world's biggest award ceremony on Sunday, with Oscar nominations across best actress, best production design, best sound and best costume design.

Barbie is nominated eight times, with a nod to the Warner Bros Studios in Leavesden, Hertfordshire, where the movie was filmed, for production design, and British designer Jaqueline Durran, who took the lead on the hit movie's costumes.

Holly Waddington is in the running to win an Oscar for her costume design work in Poor Things. Credit: ITV News

Ms Durran has already who won the gong multiple times for her work on films Anna Karenina and Little Women.

London-based designer Holly Waddington was also nominated for her elaborate creations for the film Poor Things.

Sound designer Johnnie Burn has been nominated for an Oscar for his work on Zone of Interest.

He was tasked with working out what 24 hours in Auschwitz concentration camp would sound like, and audio became a key motif throughout the film.

Comedian and presenter Amelia Dimoldenberg is also among the British talent making an appearance at this year's awards ceremony.

She has been employed as the official red carpet interviewer and will also lead social media coverage on the night, following her success as the main creator of the Chicken Shop Date interview series.

The Academy Awards will be streaming live from 10:15pm on Sunday on ITV1 and ITVX.

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