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The 2024 Oscar nominations were announced Tuesday morning, including two nods for films released by The New Yorker. Representing the magazine in the Best Documentary Short Film category will be “The Barber of Little Rock,” about a Black small-business owner fighting racial discrimination in banking. “Knight of Fortune,” an offbeat comic drama set in a morgue, will compete for Best Live Action Short Film. The nominations mark the sixteenth and seventeenth times that films released by The New Yorker have received a nod for an Academy Award. Winners will be announced on March 10th, in Los Angeles.
“The Barber of Little Rock” tells the story of Arlo Washington, an Arkansas man striving to help fellow African Americans overcome bias in banking. Washington operates a barber college where students learn to cut hair and run their own businesses; he also manages People Trust, a credit union dedicated to serving the Black community, whose members face extra barriers in receiving loans and other means of financial support. John Hoffman, a winner of four prime-time Emmys, co-directed the film with Christine Turner, and the retired N.B.A. star Dwyane Wade served as one of the executive producers. The directors told The New Yorker, “While the racial divides in our country remain dauntingly complex and seemingly impossible to overcome, Arlo Washington shows us a way forward—a way, as Arlo says, ‘to level the playing field and create economic justice.’ ”
The fictional “Knight of Fortune” follows two men who forge an unlikely bond after they meet in a morgue. The director, Lasse Lyskjær Noer, told The New Yorker that he hopes the Danish-language film will inspire viewers with its unconventional perspective on grief and loss, and that viewers will respond by connecting with loved ones. “We all need support from friends and family, and my two main characters have neither,” Noer said. “They have to find it in each other.”
The New Yorker débuts short narrative and documentary films each month. The nominees, along with The New Yorker’s full slate of short films, are available to screen at newyorker.com/video, and on the magazine’s YouTube channel. To receive future New Yorker films in your in-box, along with movie reviews, profiles of actors and directors, and commentary on the 2024 Oscars race, sign up for the daily newsletter. ♦