Even though the movie Night Ride is only a few minutes long, it has an intriguing plot. It begins with Ebba, the heroine, unintentionally stealing a tram and driving it through the snowy, dark streets of Norway.
Although she had only climbed on to stay warm, she now finds that she is actually enjoying herself and continues to pick up passengers as she makes her way home.
Two men seated nearby are drawn to Ariel, a transgender woman who is one of them.
The men become combative pretty quickly as the situation worsens. Uncomfortably, their fellow passengers observe, choosing not to intervene rather than taking a chance.
According to Norwegian director Eirik Tveiten, he wrote the 16-minute movie to get viewers to think about what they would do in that circumstance.
It is obvious that the tram riders come to the conclusion that keeping quiet is the simplest and possibly safest course of action.
He tells the BBC, "I think speaking out if you see harm being done is probably the main message in the story.
After witnessing someone being attacked, he continues, "I felt afraid and unsure of what to do.".
He claims that if one person doesn't speak up, others will often wait for them to do so, "leaving it too late," a condition known as "bystander apathy," he says.
Night Ride has already received a number of honors, including best narrative short at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York last year.
Positive reviews have been given to the film, and Mark OC of OC Movie Reviews called it "quite a statement on society.".
He said, "The absence of assistance for a fellow human is quite something to behold, and something I'm sure we've all seen in one form or another.".
"However, the conclusion is good. It's a devilishly good twist. " .
In her first leading role, Sigrid Kandal Husjord expressed her "proudness" at taking on the role of Ebba.
It's true that the entire movie revolves around her subtle yet potent performance as she says, "I was very happy to have a lot of time in front of the camera.".
Husjord is a veteran TV actress who also happens to be shorter than average. Although she claims that this wasn't a requirement of the script, it was one of the things that attracted her to the role.
According to director Tveiten, she was merely "the best actor at the auditions.".
When asked how she would like to be cast and described, she responds patiently.
"I feel like I have to put up with people calling me by a name; the word for short stature in Norwegian is kortvokst, but I'd really like to see that word go away.
The script was undoubtedly what drew me to the film, but it also helped that I realized this wasn't a role for someone who was particularly short, which was lovely.
"I would often be asked to auditions where the director or producer had taken into consideration my body type, so when I realized that wasn't the case for Night Ride, I was even more drawn to it. ".
It was "perfect," the actress says. simply to play a human.".
Husjord's portrayal of Ebba was praised by Jennie Kermode of Eye for Film, who wrote: "She is fantastic throughout, giving Ebba a weight of emotional complexity while also handling the film's moments of deadpan comedy with perfect timing. ".
The actress, according to Tveiten, was a natural at operating the tram's controls.
It was difficult because she was in charge and accepting all responsibility, he says. "The tram company employee just went back and took a nap. ".
Before things get ugly, two male passengers are drawn to the trans woman, Ariel, who is played by Ola Hoemsnes Sandum.
Sandum was "determined" to make every second of the short film count in the hopes that viewers would "experience all the emotions" because he had experienced "similar things" at various points in his life.
Paul Emmanuel Enicola of The Movie Buff adds that the movie explores "prejudice and sexism against gender identity in a powerful way.".
Tveiten, who has written and directed 14 short films, claims that a lot of TV shows and movies feature actors and characters who are "quite stereotypical, and that annoys me a little bit.".
We're moving in the right direction, he says, because characters like Ebba and Ariel were not "common 10 years ago.". ".
A satisfying substitute for the much longer feature films nominated during award season can be found in short films, it must also be said.
Executive editor of Screen Daily Fionnuala Halligan refers to short films as "art forms," but she also acknowledges that they are "far easier said than done.".
According to her, "the ideal short should be brilliant at conveying its one message." she tells the BBC.
"That can be a thought, an emotion, or an issue, but when made well, they can be very powerful — and, in some ways, they should be, to be considered successful.
In order to get to the one thing you want to say, you should ideally be removing the unnecessary information as you create it. ".
Tveiten says it took some time for the Oscar nomination to sink in, but it "means a lot" to him.
Halligan continues by saying that Oscar exposure for short films can help raise money for upcoming productions.
Martin McDonagh, a director whose movie The Banshees of Inisherin is currently nominated for nine Oscars, was among the previous nominees in this category.
For his short film Six Shooter, which he also directed, he received his first Academy Award in 2006. Three years later, he was nominated again for In Bruges, and in 2018 he received two more nominations for Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
Director and Avengers star Taika Waititi received a nomination for his 2005 short film Two Cars, One Night for best short film. One of his later features, Jojo Rabbit, received six Oscar nominations and one Oscar win in 2020 for best adapted screenplay.
In the short film category, Tveiten claims he is competing this year alongside "some very well-known names," including Le Pupille producer Alfonso Cuaron.
Ten Oscar nominations and four victories for his films Gravity and Roma have already been accumulated by Cuaron. Riz Ahmed, an actor nominated for an Oscar, and Aneil Karia won the short film prize last year for their work on The Long Goodbye.
Tveiten, Husjord, and Sandum describe their nomination as "shocking, unreal, and amazingly fun" and state that they are "really excited" to attend this year's ceremony in Los Angeles.
They continue, "We are very happy," knowing the glamorous ceremony will highlight not only them but also the issues their movie addresses.