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'The Phone Call' is an unexpected Oscar nominee

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Sally Hawkins in a scene from, 'The Phone Call.'
Sally Hawkins in a scene from, 'The Phone Call.'

'The Phone Call' is only 20 minutes long, but is packed with drama and emotion. Writer and director Mat Kirkby joins Take Two to talk about the nomination.

The big prize at the Oscars is always Best Picture. It's the last award of the night and keeps everyone on the edge of their seats.

There are, however, other films competing, and one of them is in the Live Action Short category called, "The Phone Call."

Clip, "The Phone Call"

It stars Sally Hawkins as a soft-spoken woman who works at a suicide crisis call center. She takes a call from a widower, played by Jim Broadbent, who is a wreck dealing with the death of his wife.

Watch: "The Phone Call" official trailer

It's only 20 minutes long, but is packed with drama and emotion. Mat Kirkby wrote and directed "The Phone Call," and he joins Take Two.


Mat, you come from the commercial music video world. What made you want to take something like this on?

"Well what happens is you spend all your time doing music videos of girls flaunting themselves in their knickers, and after five years of that, and filming burgers close-up, you want to make something you're proud of. So I took some time out and decided to make something that meant something, and took them on an emotional journey, and ultimately, made us feel proud of what we'd made."

As far as Jim Broadbent, he never appears on camera, we just hear his voice. Why did you make that choice?

"I'm sure I would have put him on camera if I had realized at the time that he had won an Oscar. [Laughs] But everyone said, 'I can't believe you didn't point the camera at Jim. You've got some balls, buddy.' If you had showed Jim -- Jim's got such a lovely face -- you would have made certain assumptions as a viewer about this story, and ultimately, we want to put the viewer in the situation of the volunteer on the phone. We're listening like she's listening, and you don't get any clues when you're a volunteer on one of these lines, you just have to listen for all the subtle little sounds and clues that come in from the other end of the phone."

What would a win do for your career? Would you be able to leave music videos behind and plan full-length feature films?

"Even having a nomination has helped. I've managed to secure one of the top Hollywood agents in town, he looks after Robert Redford, and people of that caliber. So it's already helped. It's been a year since we've shot the film, it takes that long for a short film to get out there and reach its audience and win festivals. We won at Tribeca this year, and that's what gets you into the Oscar part. So I've been busy this year and I've sat at home drinking coffee, eating cake and I've finished my screenplay. So I've got my feature film script ready, and yeah, in two days time, I might be on the plane to Hollywood with it under my arm and try and get it made."

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