Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

OMED - Animated Oscar ShortsI bet you thought we were done with these. Well, I did too. (You know, because I said we were done with these.) However early this morning I discovered that all of this year’s Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Short Film are now available online, (although one of them is probably somewhat less than official.) So I decided to do one more of these multi-short quick review type things.

As a whole this year’s crop of shorts is a fantasticly strong field. They’re an incredibly divesrse crop as well, with five distinctly different animation styles presented in the five films. However, they also have some surprising similarities. For example, they’re all silent fims, in as much that not a word of dialogue is spoken in any of the films, although one has credited voice actors, who provide some grunts and harumphs.

I really enjoyed watching these films, feel free to take a look, each film’s title will link you to the film itself. I’ll be back with my pick and prediction for the winner at the bottom.

Adam and Dog (2011)Adam and Dog

An emotional story of how the first man met man’s best friend. This beautiful and surprisingly moving short re-tells the story of the Garden of Eden from the perspective of the first dog.

Adam and Dog was written and directed as an independant side project by Disney animator Minkyu Lee. The art is animated in a unique style that’s not so much minimalist as it is basic, but in delibrate and beautiful way.

I’m not a “dog person”  I’m not really even a “pet person” but this story of companionship through good times and bad still moved me. I’m even getting a little bit choked up now as I write this. I’d imagine that given that most anyone who has ever owned a dog, or wanted to own a dog will love this movie. Therefore, I think it’s safe to sa Adam and Dog has to be one of the favorites to take Oscar home later this moth.

[Adam and Dog (2011) – Director: Minkyu Lee – Not Rated]

Fresh Guacamole (2012)Fresh Guacamole

At about a minute and a half in length, it’s the shortest film ever nominated for an Oscar.

The plot, in as much as there is one, is about a man making some fresh guacamole. The twist that makes this film interesting, is that it uses ordinary inedible objects in place of actual food.

Instead of an avacado, the maker slices open a hand grenade, and scoops out green play dough. Instead of an onion, he uses a baseball, and when it’s diced it turns into… white dice of course.

The is animated through stop-motion photograpy, adding a realistic touch to the surrealistic interpration of what is an otherwise mundane activity.  The film obviously moves very quickly, it’s bright colors providing plenty to attract the eyes, while the clever re-purposing of non-food objects is certainly amusing.

I’d think that this film has virtually no chance of taking home a statutette, but it’s nice to see a filmmaker rewarded with a nomination for so wonderfully executing a cleverly creative idea.

[Fresh Guacamole (2012) – Director: PES : Not Rated]

Head over Heels (2012)Head Over Heels

Back when the short list for Academy Award consideration came out, I saw the trailer Head Over Heels and I was instantly intrigued.  This is the short I most wanted to see, and, in fact, I almost just made this my one movie today, but I decided to be ambitious.

The film is an amazing traditional stop-motion short with a sci-fi premise. However, it’s not really a sci-fi story at all, it’s a romance, but not your ordinary romance.

The film is about an elderly couple that have been together so long, they can’t even agree on which direction is up or down. This is really a case where it would take a thousand words to explain what one quick glance at the film would make clear.

I expected to like this movie, and I was not let down in the slightest. In fact, if anything it exceeded my expecataions. You see a lot of movies about finding new love. There are far less films about rediscovering old love. As with Adam and Dog I was on the verge of tears when this one ended, it’s fantastic.

[Head Over Heels (2012) – Director: Timothy Reckart – Not Rated]

The Longest Daycare (2012)The Longest Daycare

This nominee is something of an outlier amongst the collection of creative storytelling and original characters featured in the other nominees. (Well, I suppose that the characters in Adam and Dog have been around even longer than The Simpsons, though sometimes it doesn’t feel that way.)

The Longest Daycare is the second theatrical release for the Simpson family, (after the eponymous feature a few years back). This four mintue short, originally produced in 3D and attached to the latest Ice Age movie feaures the most-overlooked denizen of Springfield Maggie as she spends an eventful day at Ayn Rand daycare.

While it is the second shortest nominee it’s stil an example of The Simpsons at their finest, it’s a little bit crude, but it’s funny, and packed full of pathos. I’d probably rank it as my least favorite of the five, but that’s a tribute to the competition, rather than a slight to this fine film.

[The Longest Daycare (2012) – Director:David Silverman – Rated PG for mild rude humor]

Paperman (2012)Paperman

Technically I already reviewed this amazing film, but I’m including it here for the sake of completeness. Besides, I found that fantastic looking poster that I didn’t include the first time.

This film, which was animated using an innovative combination of traditional hand animation, and the latest computer animation techniques, looks fantastic, and its story, the hard-won beginnings of a love story is just fantastic.

I’d have to think that this will be one of the favorites to collect an Oscar. I’ve watched it three times now, and it hasn’t gotten old yet.

[Paperman (2012) – Directed by John Kahrs – Rated G]

OM|ED Rating: Must See

I was going to rate each of these individually. But as I’ve thought about it, it’s really not necessary, because even the weakest of these films, is still worthy of my highest ranking.

As for my Oscar pick, if I had a vote in this category I’d have to go with Adam and Dog. This is a tough call for me, Paperman is right there with it, and I loved that short so much that I feel a little bad for not picking it. However, I don’t think it’s producers will have much to worry about, because I predict that the Academy will give the Oscar to Paperman.

I could be wrong either, Adam and Dog  or Head Over Heels could also win, and I’d be happy. Really, all of these films are worthy contenders. As far as I’m concerned each of these films is a Must See.