For the last several years before the Oscar telecast the short films that have been nominated for an Academy Award are given a rare theatrical release. Presented as separate programs for each short category Animation, Live Action and Documentary, moviegoers have the opportunity to see the shorts that in the past they would seldom ever get to see. For some it’ll give them a leg up in their office Oscar pools. Outside of knowing that these films are nominated it can be kind of exciting for a filmgoer because you never know what’s in store and this year’s selections were no different.
The animation program is the one I’ve always looked forward to the most. As always the five nominees are presented as well as a selection of notable shorts that didn’t make the nominations list. Traditional, stop-motion and computer generated animation are represented in this year’s nominees.
Adam and Dog (Director: Minkyu Lee) is a traditionally animated short about a curious dog who runs into a strange creature, a human named Adam. This is an entertaining and poignant look at the origins of man’s relationship to his best friend in the context of the story of Adam and Eve.
Fresh Guacamole (Director: PES) is a stop-motion short where traditional items are made into fresh guacamole. Short and funny because with each new item used you are left wondering just what you’re going to get.
Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (Director: David Silverman) is a traditionally animated short featuring Maggie Simpson and her adventures in daycare. The short is pretty funny with the usual Simpsons charm and wit. I just love the name of the daycare.
Paperman (Director: John Kahrs) uses both traditional and computer generated animation. This is a cute little romance about a man’s pursuit of a woman who met on the train platform.
Head Over Heels (Directors: Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly) is a sumptuous stop-motion short that I believe is the front runner. In it an estranged married couple literally live parallel but separate lives. One lives on the floor and one on the ceiling. This one was just a joy to watch.
To round out the program three additional shorts were presented. Abiogenesis (Director: Richard Mans) is a beautifully rendered computer generated animated science fiction short about transformation. Dripped (Director: Leo Verrier) is a traditionally animated short about an art thief and his desire to literally consume his ill-gotten gains. Finally, The Gruffolo’s Child (Director: Johannes Weiland and Uew Heidschotter) is an entertaining stop-motion tale about a child setting out to find and face the Big Bad Mouse.
The program is hosted by the directors of last year’s winner The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg. In between shorts they reminisce about Oscar night and the art of animation. The presented films are all very well done shorts. I really enjoyed Adam and Dog but I was really blown away by the artistry of Head Over Heels. This was a solid and enjoyable program, if you have the opportunity to see them by all means do so.