Rants for the Riff-Raff: Oscar Nominated Shorts
I’m not very invested in the Oscars this year. For the first time in years I haven’t seen any of the movies nominated for Best Picture. Or Best Director. Or a bunch of other categories. Some of them I really wanted to see, but never got around to it or didn’t have the opportunity, like Hugo and The Descendants. The majority of them, however, I just had no interest in.
However, there is one category that I do genuinely care about and, thanks to the IU Cinema, have now seen all the nominations for. That category is Animated Short Films. On the whole, they are excellent. Each one is different from the rest, and each one is great in its own way. You can watch them all (as well as all the other shorts) here: http://theoscarshorts.shorts.tv/index.php.
A Morning Stroll (dir. Grant Orchard)
This one is the funniest of the group. At its core, it tells the story of a man in a city who encounters a peculiar chicken. What makes it stand out is it tells the story 3 times; once in 1959, once in 2009, and once in 2059. The animation style goes from minimalist, to full-color and more detailed, to CG. Each story is a little different, making an interesting statement on the passing of time. It is bizarre, fascinating, and a lot of fun to watch.
Dimanche/Sunday (dir. Patrick Doyon)
One thing that I have learned from films over the years is that some strange films come out of Quebec. Dimanche is no exception. Though the animation is childish and cartoony, the story content is not. It presents a distressing portrait of family life for the young protagonist, with the adults being incoherent and grotesque, and the animals having extremely short life expectancies. It’s darkly humorous and interesting, but it’s not one I’m likely to search out again.
La Luna (dir. Enrico Casarosa)
This entry comes from the lovely people at Pixar, and is going to accompany the upcoming Brave. The cutest one of the bunch, it tells the story of a young boy who is introduced to his family’s unique line of work. In true Pixar fashion, it is beautifully animated, funny, sweet, and full of wonderment. Maybe a little too much, honestly. After last year’s amazing Night and Day, it was a little disappointing to see them return to their old formula. This does not change the quality of the film itself, yet I found myself unable to get it out of my mind as I watched it.
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (dir. William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg)
This film comes from one of my favorite childhood authors, William Joyce. I had no idea he started making animated films, but I am happy he did. This film mixes practical with digital effects and tells the story of Morris Lessmore, a man who loses everything, but finds happiness in books. There is much more to it than that, but it is much better to actually experience it than simply read a description. Just know that it truly is fantastic.
Wild Life (dir. Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby)
The definite winner for most beautiful animation. Every frame is hand-painted, so throughout the whole film you are watching brush strokes, giving it an ethereal quality. It tells the story of an Englishman who travels to the “Wild West” of Alberta, Canada. It is all very dreamlike. It was another one that I enjoyed watching, but probably would not seek out.
So, predictions. My favorite of the 5 is A Morning Stroll, but I doubt that will be the one that gets the shiny statue. My guess is it will go to The Fantastic Flying Books, but I would not be surprised by La Luna either. There may not be a lot I’m looking forward about the Oscars this year, but I would watch them just to see the outcome of this category.
By: Will Bray
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