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

17 February 2015

Oscar Nominees 2015: Part 11 of 12 (Animated Shorts)

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6. Part 7. Part 8. Part 9. Part 10.
Part 11 of 12:

Feast
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Patrick Osborne
Cast: Tommy Snider

This adorable film about man's best friend is the easy favorite to win. It played in front of Disney's (equally great) Big Hero 6, and if it is heteronormative and very Los Angeles, it is also gorgeously animated with a great soundtrack and the cutest central character this side of How to Train Your Dragon 2. Look for Feast to win the Oscar like John Kars' Paperman did two years ago. Although, honestly, this is the third year in a row I am predicting Disney for the win, last year Disney lost to the better film, Mr. Hublot. In any case, this year Feast might technically be the best of these animated shorts, even if it isn't my favorite. I should note that Feast is not a part of the Animated Shorts program that is for rent on iTunes and other places.
Will Win: Animated Short Film
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked


The Dam Keeper
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Cast: Lars Mikkelsen

This is my favorite of the nominees. It is, first of all, a little film that is obsessed with light and the ability to illustrate and animate light. This is the tale of a small pig who is mercilessly teased and bullied at his school. They are so mean to this little pig. And he is a depressed young kid who is doing his best to get through the day. The film plays with reality, though. After we have sat with the film for seven or eight minutes, it becomes difficult to be sure about what is "real" in the world of the movie and what is a kind of figuring of the pig's emotional state. The Dam Keeper is about being sad and the ways that the darkness can become too much for us. It's just lovely. This is a must-see, although all of the nominated shorts this year are very very good.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

A Single Life
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film

This is perfect. It's the shortest of this year's nominees. I don't even think it comes in at three minutes long, but that is exactly part of what A Single Life is doing. This is not a movie about being single. It is a movie about one single life. And the brevity of the film is necessary to the way the film is about the brevity of life itself. It's just so great. The main character is going along just fine in her life until a phonograph record arrives that controls her life. It is her life. And she plays the phonograph. The life is over that quickly, but this is not a sentimental approach to life. It is a humorous, mocking treatment of the theme, and the main character never quite grasps what's happening. It reminded me of my own life. Oh shit! It's happening. Life is happening. And now it's done.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

The Bigger Picture
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Daisy Jacobs
Cast: Christopher Nightingale, Alisdair Simpson, Anne Cunningham

This was my favorite. Wait. I can't say that because I already said The Dam Keeper was my favorite. Ok. Well, I loved this one too. Mostly I want to say that I loved this one because of how deeply I identified with the main character. This film had me in tears by the end of its very short length. It is themed similarly to The Judge, but The Bigger Picture approaches the theme from a realistic, fascinating point of view, where frustration with one's aging parents is part of one's love for them. No dramatics are needed; this film always takes the bigger picture, laughing at the struggles it portrays and describing real humanity. An excellent little film.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked

Me and My Moulton
1 Nomination
  • Animated Short Film
Director: Torill Kove
Cast: Andrea Bræin Hovig

The least interesting of the five films is still really really good. Me and My Moulton, like The Dam Keeper is also about a child and also about drawing as an artistic outlet for personal troubles. This film is a lovely portrait of a young girl figuring out how to be happy with her strange Norwegian parents who are modernist architects. She feels strange and different from all of the other people in her town, and she resents her parents for that. The parents really aren't perfect, but the main character learns to make things work in any case. This is charming. But Feast is the only film that can win this Oscar.
Will Win: N/A
Could Win: N/A
My Rating: Not ranked