For the safety of our visitors and staff, the MFAH continues to require face masks/coverings. Advance timed tickets are recommended.

Virtual Cinema | 2021 Oscar-Nominated Short Films: Live Action “Empathetic Lessons” March 24, 2021


See the overview about all three categories of this year’s Oscar nominees for the best short films: Animation, Documentary, and Live Action. Virtual Cinema streams these Oscar-worthy works from April 2 to May 2. Find out if your favorites win when the Academy Awards ceremony takes place April 25.

The Live Action films feature stories about characters that viewers can connect with emotionally. Total running time: 125 minutes. Not rated (but R equivalent).

Three of the nominees in this category are from the USA. Feeling Through is the first film featuring a deaf/blind actor in a lead role. The dramatic coming-of-age story follows a New York teenager who encounters a hearing- and sight-impaired man in need of assistance getting to a bus stop. An intimate bond between the strangers emerges, forever changing the teen.

The Letter Room stars Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina) as a corrections officer who is transferred to the prison’s letter room, where he finds escape in the deeply personal letters written to a death-row inmate.

Two Distant Strangers is a terrifying time-loop with elements of a modern horror story. The filmmaker was inspired by the killing of George Floyd and by repeatedly seeing news reports about similar events.

A Palestinian man and his daughter set out in the West Bank to buy his wife a gift in The Present, which showcases the struggles they face between soldiers, segregated roads, and checkpoints.

In Israel’s White Eye, which won the Best Narrative Short Jury Award at 2020’s SXSW, a man finds his stolen bicycle but encounters anti-immigrant prejudice while trying to retrieve it.

“Oscar-Nominated Short Films” / WATCH from April 2 to May 2. Your tickets ($12 each or $30 for the bundle) support the MFAH. The Oscars are presented on April 25.


Underwriting for the Film Department is provided by Tenaris and the Vaughn Foundation. Generous funding is provided by Nina and Michael Zilkha; The Consulate General of the Republic of Korea; Franci Neely; Carrin Patman and Jim Derrick; Lois Chiles Foundation; ILEX Foundation; L’Alliance Française de Houston; and The Foundation for Independent Media Arts.