Monday, February 18, 2013

Oscar Animation Shorts 2013

Perennially under the shadow of the feature-length animations, these short films are distilled goodness. This year’s Oscar selection is especially juicy. And some of the best ones are not even running!

This year’s Oscar for animation will be a tough pick. With BraveWreck-It-Ralph and Frankweenie in the run, there are no losers. And it’s not very different in the list of Oscar-nominated animated shorts. Among the 5 on the run, there’s enough versatility and quality to make picking one over the other almost criminal. One of the most creative of the bunch is the short Fresh Guacamole, by PES, an ingenious and very tactile stop-motion production.

My personal favorite is Adam and Dog, a touching and beautifully illustrated short by Minkyu Lee depicting the first man meeting the first dog and how their bonds were created. The art is Disney-esque (Lee made the movie with money he saved while working at Disney) but with frontal nudity. The sounds of nature is used to great effect, as is the sensitive score by Joey Newman.

Crowd-favorite Paperman is as trite and puerile as they come, but with gorgeous animation and top-notch Disney production, it’s likely to nab the statuette. It’s the only one in the list in which a digital effect becomes the main character at the movie’s climax.

The others in the list are a cutesy Simpsons interlude featuring Maggie Simpson in 3D and British claymation Head Over Heels, about a couple facing marital and gravitational issues. The clay work here is coarser than, say, in Wallace and Gromit, but not any less detailed.

This short list of 5 leaves out 52 qualifying animated shorts that didn’t make the cut for some reason - some of them are arguably superior to the official ones. This year’s Highly Commended list includes a jazzy homage to Jackson Pollock, a New Zealand magical piece of sci-fi, a philosophical exploration of time played out in foam and a whimsical fable voiced by Helena Bohen Carter and Tom Wilkinson.


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