Last night, I went to a showing of the Oscar nominated animated shorts. The program consisted of the five nominees and three “highly commended” selections. Here are my thoughts on all of them:
1. Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” – This was the best short of the five nominees. It was funny, thoughtful, well animated, and well structured. While this award has recently gone to up and comers, during the golden age of animation from roughly 1930-1960, it wasn’t unusual for popular, studio backed efforts to win this category. Unless the voters of the Academy have developed a bias towards more independent efforts (or there just aren’t a lot of Simpsons fans), this one should win.
2. Adam and Dog – The Anime style was well crafted, but this short, well, fell short. The concept was a bit strained (Adam meets dog in Garden of Eden, ignores dog when Eve comes along, dog follows them out of the Garden), and it was pretty dull. I for one would have replaced it with one of the “highly commended” efforts.
3. Fresh Guacamole – I enjoyed this one, although it was extremely short. It was surprising, clever, and had fantastic sound effects. I don’t think it will win but it was definitely a worthy nomination.
4. Head Over Heels – This one was the most intellectually challenging of the five nominees. It is a symbolic meditation on marriage, the importance of communication, growing apart, and ultimately reconciling. If Maggie Simpson’s return to the Ayn Rand Daycare (the only daycare in town that isn’t under investigation by the state) doesn’t win this one probably should.
5. Paperman – It’s cute and pleasant, but filled to the brim with Disney cliches. Even the two main characters seem to be modeled after characters in other Disney films. I enjoyed it but I thought one of the “highly commended” efforts could have been nominated instead.
1. Abiogenesis – I thought this one was kind of cool, but thinking about it afterwards, it didn’t really say much of anything. I understand why it wasn’t nominated.
2. Dripped – A fun and clever ode to Jackson Pollack, it really should have been nominated over “Adam and Dog” or “Paperman.”
3. The Gruffalo’s Child – A long, star studded adaptation of a popular British children’s story, I really enjoyed this one. It felt like it had been done before though, so I understand why it wasn’t selected, although I’m sure the voters were on the fence about it.
More Oscar previews coming soon!
(c) 2013 D.G. McCabe