During my senior year of college, my design professor paid for our entire class to go watch the Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films at the Ritz Landmark theatre. I remember feeling so adult, even though I was going to watch cartoons with my classmates, because the theatre had such a classy atmosphere. I realize now that I wasn’t just going to watch cartoons; I was going to analyze and appreciate someone else’s artwork and hard work. I was hooked and I’ve made it my effort to try and see them every year. This is what I thought of the nominees.
Feral – (USA), in which a wild boy, found in the woods and brought back to civilization, tries to adapt to a strange new environment
One thing is for sure, the art style in this film was simple and beautiful. The animators were able to give so much life to the landscapes and character’s without providing much detail in the illustrations. Although I didn’t really appreciate some of the abstract scenes in this short, there were definitely some emotional moments. In a very short amount of time, you get watch a young boy try to adapt to the intimidating situations he’s thrusted into.
Get a Horse! – (USA), a contemporary homage to the first shorts featuring Mickey Mouse, with all-new, black-and-white, hand-drawn animation
2D animation in this day and age is impressive. It takes a lot of time and effort to hand draw animation stills with everything being so digital and I really loved that Disney instituted this classic technique in their short. The cartoon was classic slap-stick and just adorable. I really recommend you going to see them so I wont say too much but Disney did a fun job crossing the 2D animation and the new 3D style when Mickey and his friends venture outside of the screen.
Mr. Hublot – (Luxembourg/France), about a withdrawn, idiosyncratic character made partially of mechanical parts whose life is turned upside down by the arrival of the dog Robot Pet
I wasn’t overly impressed with the animation style in this film but the steam-punk/mechanical theme was cool and made the story interesting. It definitely tugs on the heart strings watching this lonely OCD character willingly change his life and habits for a dog he rescued from the streets. A dog that apparently won’t stop growing!
Possessions – (Japan), in which an 18th Century man, lost on a stormy night deep in the mountains, enters a small shrine that suddenly turns into a room in a different world
Again, with this animation, I wasn’t impressed with the art style. It was mostly due to the flat landscape drawings when the character was 3D. The storyline on the other hand was one of my favorites. When I first heard the title “Possessions” I came to the conclusion it was about physical items we own but early in the storyline they led the audience to believe it was about tools that become possessed and play tricks on people. It turns out that it was about both! Possessions was an interesting animation about taking your day to day items for granted and not remembering the seemingly small things like the time you poor old mop helped you get the floors cleans before Christmas dinner. The character handled the illusions with grace and respect by repairing some of the old forgotten items. This one I definitely recommend!
Room on the Broom – (UK), based on the children’s picture book by Julia Donaldson, about a kind witch who invites a surprising collection of animals to join her on her broom, much to the frustration of her cat
Can I just say this was by far my FAVORITE short of the night. Basically, of all of the shorts I have ever seen this is my number 1. And it wasn’t just because Simon Pegg narrated the story. And it wasn’t because I’m obviously obsessed with the UK. It had everything to do with my love for cute and whimsical things. Especially my affinity for Children’s Books. Everything about it is charming! From the sweet characters to the claymation, it’s definitely my choice for an Oscar win! Just…go see it!
I usually don’t write reviews but the selection this year was amazing and I guarantee you’ll enjoy yourself if you find your way to a theatre (or internet!) to see these. It’s definitely worth the time and there were other short films in the selection that didn’t make the Oscar cut but were highly commended. So much so that they included them in on the viewing which filled out the time for a great experience.
Grab a ticket and go!