Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

01 March 2014

Oscar Nominees 2014: Part 14 of 14


Get a Horse!
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Lauren MacMullan
Cast: Walt Disney, Marcellite Garner, Russi Taylor, Billy Bletcher, Will Ryan, Raymond S. Persi

I expect this to win as a sort of consensus choice. It is imaginative enough and inoffensive, and it taps into one of the Academy's favorite feelings: nostalgia. The film is nothing special, really, but it is fun, and charming in its way. Honestly, I have to admit to being slightly disturbed by the cartoon violence in this movie – this doesn't seem to have bothered too many people, but the violence that is perpetrated on the Peg Leg Pete character is done senselessly and in a troubling way. Peg Leg Pete is thrown around, stabbed, electrocuted, and sodomized by a pitchfork. He is obviously a violent character himself, intent on doing something to Minnie Mouse (is rape implied?), but the revenge taken by Mickey and co. doesn't seem warranted.
Will Win: Animated Short Film
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Mr Hublot.
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Laurent Witz

This is, I think, the most charming of the nominees. In a strange, dystopian, robot-populated future an introverted accountant with OCD (OCD is always charming at the movies, isn't it?) adopts a stray robot dog and develops a relationship with it. The animation is gorgeous, the story is charming, and the character design is impeccable. The film also has some really good jokes.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Animated Short Film
My Rating: Not ranked

Feral
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Daniel Sousa

Feral is my favorite of these short films. It is a beautifully realized little story about a feral boy who is clothed and taken to the city, but who cannot quite be civilized – because civilization itself doesn't know how to be civil. The film is unrealistic in style, perhaps even surreal, and one wonders if the city is real, if the boy is real, if the snow is real. Or perhaps the boy is actually a wolf, or a bird, or a stag, or a leaf, or maybe he's a spirit of some sort, taking on the energy of the things he touches. This is a little mystery, but it doesn't ask its audience to figure it out; it asks for us only to go with it. And once we do, the film becomes about being, about personhood, about interacting with the world around us. Lovely.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Room on the Broom
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Max Lang, Jan Lachauer
Cast: Rob Brydon, Gillian Anderson, Simon Pegg, Timothy Spall, Martin Clunes, Sally Hawkins, David Walliams

Absolutely charming, this little story is about teamwork and sharing. There is a dragon – who is an enormous coward – and the most adorable animated cat since Antonio Banderas's puss in boots. (I seriously loved this animated cat, which is very strange since I don't much like cats in real life. This one has the best personality ever.) Quite frankly I expected not to like this one much – the animation simply isn't that interesting – but the story is charming, and the expressions on these animals' faces are just adorable.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: Animated Short Film
My Rating: Not ranked

Possessions (ツクモ)
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Shuhei Morita
Cast: Kōichi Yamadera, Aoi Yuki, Takeshi Kusao

Imaginative and fascinating, Possessions is a ghost story: a tale about forgotten or abandoned objects that have gotten old enough to acquire their own souls. They trap a traveling mechanic/salesman/tailor (whoever he is, this guy is ripped) in an abandoned cabin in the woods, and they play tricks on him until he can figure out how to be kind to them. It is an interesting little tale that is easier to make sense of once one understands it as a kind of kaidan.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked