Night Ride is the Oscar-nominated film confronting trans hate – and it’s on track to make history

Sigrid Kandal Husjord as Ebba (left) and with Ola Hoemsnes Sandum as Ariel (right) in the Oscar-nominated short film Night Ride.

Oscar-nominated film Night Ride could make history as the first LGBTQ+ title this century to win the short films category at the 2023 Oscars.

The Norwegian short, directed by Eirik Tveiten, tells a powerful tale of transphobic harassment at a time when true allyship has never been more important.

Within 16 minutes, we meet Ebba (Sigrid Husjord), a disgruntled tram passenger stranded on a snowy night who decides to take things into her own hands. After stealing a tram, she decides to pick up a range of passengers along the way, including Ariel (Ola Hoemsnes Sandum), a trans woman simply trying to make her way home after a night out.

However, things soon take a nasty turn as a group of men begin harassing her, throwing Ebba into a moral dilemma.

The delicate fusion of comedy and political courage along with its timely message has now secured the film an Oscars nomination in the category for best live-action short.

Tvieten worked alongside producer Heidi Arnesen who has made several LGBTQ+ films, including Norway’s first LGBTQ+ short film, Dual of the Senses about gender and identity in 1991.

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The previous and only LGBTQ+ live action short to win an Academy Award was the 1994 short Trevor, produced by Randy Stone and written by Celeste Lecesne.

The short follows 13-year-old Trevor, a Diana Ross fan whose life is changed after their crush on schoolmate Pinky Faraday is discovered. Lescene and Stone went on to found leading LGBTQ+ youth crisis charity The Trevor Project.

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Night Ride also follows in the footsteps of 1992 Oscar-nominated short The Lady In Waiting from Christian Taylor, which tracks the unlikely bond between an elderly woman and Black drag queen Rodney Hudson who meet during a blackout in 1970s New York.

However, since the 90s, there has been a consistent lack of LGBTQ+ shorts being recognised by the Academy – meaning Night Ride is in with a chance to make history when it comes to trans representation.

Night Ride director aims to encourage audiences to be ‘broad-minded’

Tveiten hopes to encourage audiences to be “open, broad-minded and take responsibility for their actions” after watching the film.

Ebba is confronted with a moral dilemma.
Ebba is confronted with a moral dilemma. (Cylinder)

“We could easily have shown it more from the trans person’s perspective. But this story is about bystander bravery” he tells PinkNews.

The ending is one of optimism, showing Ebba and Ariel coming together in a moment of unity; particularly poignant given how Norway supported the LGBTQ+ community in light of a deadly mass shooting during Oslo Pride last year.

“There are still elements in our society that are a threat to liberalisation. But in the aftermath, the LGBTQ+ community got a lot of support so we are doing comparatively well,” Tvieten adds.

Night Ride will battle it out against An Irish Goodbye, Ivalu, Le Pupille and The Red Suitcase at the Oscars Award ceremony on 12 March.

It has already seen huge success during its festival run, winning the audience award at the Norwegian Film Festival and Best Narrative Short Film at the Tribeca Film Festival.

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