Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts

February 21, 2009 at 6:25 am (Movies and TV)

1. La Maisons en Petit Cubes (France)

This was a sad, thoughtful one full of metaphor. A man puts on a scuba suit and dives downward through each level of a house he’s lived in, which has submerged over time…at the end, he builds himself a new level at the very top, to avoid the slowly rising water. Perhaps audiences have become spoiled by computerized animation; I found it hard to enjoy the grainy, 2-D style though I did appreciate the film.

2. Lavatory – Lovestory (Russia)

Humorous and full of heart, two public toilet attendants unexpectedly find love at work. This is the kind of film I could picture my 11-year-old son eventually being able to make, as it was simple drawings on paper, with no color but bouquets of flowers.  I was amazed at how much emotion came through using a minimum of lines. I liked this a lot but it will not win the Oscar.

3. Okatpodi (France)

Two lovelorn octopi band together in a chase through the streets of Greece, to avoid becoming separated by a sushi restaurant. This is a computerized 3-D animation that’s fun to watch in terms of action, color, humor and imagination. and it was my favorite. Of the ten or so people in the theater, I believe most agreed that the octopus one sucked pretty hard at our heartstrings. I stand by my original call for Oktopodi, realizing that Presto may win because Pixar was involved.

4. Presto (United States)

This is the animated short Pixar paired with Wall-E, which is the shoe-in for this year’s full-length animated feature award. It’s about a disagreement between a magician and his rabbit, which the rabbit decides to take public at an extremely inconvenient time. This was very funny, and the visual effects were especially good…but let’s face it…this effort had Pixar behind it. I don’t know whether Academy voters are willing to award both animated categories to Pixar. I think if it were up to me, I’d give Pixar the big one and let someone else have a chance when it came to the shorts. This may win the Oscar out of industry regard for Pixar, and it is a very good film…but my gut for some reason liked the octopus one slightly better.

5. This Way Up (England).

This is the best animated short Tim Burton never made. It’s about two morticians who have several hilarious misfortunes befall them while trying to take a body to the cemetary. One of the morticians looks exactly like my 11th grade history teacher. Having generated the most laughter in the theater, I believe this might have won an Oscar…if it had ended when it was supposed to instead of culminating in a psychedelic, supernatural sequence that seemed completely out of place. This one clearly earned its nomination because it was SO good until it fell off the bike.

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