Oscar Preview 2014 – Animated Shorts

By D.G. McCabe

It’s that time of year again!  Between now and the Oscars we’ll be doing our annual Oscar preview articles, starting with this year’s nominations for animated shorts.  I’ve ranked them in order of how I think they’ll stack up for Academy voters.

Get a Horse!

This one should be familiar to patrons of Frozen (2013). It’s a revival of classic Mickey Mouse hijinks, before the character was made into a soulless corporate icon.  The animators even spliced in Walt Disney’s voice from Mickey cartoons made between 1928 and the 1940’s before he handed off the mouse’s voice work to other, presumably less rich, performers.  While the title of this website indicates that I’ve always been more of a Donald Duck fan, I enjoyed this one.  I also think the nostalgia value makes it the favorite.

Possessions

Anime hasn’t always played well with Oscar voters (a notable exception being 2001’s Spirited Away), but Possessions has the potential to be a rare winner for the artform.  It starts out a bit slow, but it is funny and engaging.  I would say that if Mickey doesn’t win, expect a win from this one.

Room on the Broom

The British love their Julia Donaldson adaptations.  Coming on the heels of 2009 Oscar winner “The Gruffalo” and its 2012 nominee “The Gruffalo’s Child,” this one is as charming and well animated as expected.  While it is good, I don’t think that the Oscar voters are necessarily going to warm to it as much as a new Mickey Mouse cartoon.

Mr. Hublot

Now comes the story of a robot man and his robot dog.  It’s kind of fun, but a bit slow, and frankly, a bit weird for most Oscar voters, who tend to be dodgy old folks with too much time on their hands.  I liked it, but I don’t think they will.

Feral

The animation in this one is beautiful.  It is the story of a boy who apparently thinks he’s a wolf, and apparently has magical powers of some sort.  It is obviously not intended to be logical, which probably hurts it with Academy voters despite the beauty of its animation.

(c) D.G. McCabe