The Oscar for Animated Short Film has been awarded every year since the 5th Academy Awards beginning in 1932. Walt Disney received 12 of his 22 Academy Awards in this category. Needless to say it’s a prestigious honor that should highlight some of the most important contributions to the world of animation of that year. With that said, this year’s crop of animated films were a wee bit disappointing. With one exception, I found them to be pleasant but uninspiring.
USA/13min/Director: Daniel Sousa
A wild boy is found in the forest by a hunter. He is brought back to civilization where he must adapt to his new surroundings. Black and white with green tints, the hand drawn story has some eerie visuals and some beautiful music, but this wordless mood piece is rather dull and inconsequential.
Get a Horse!
USA/7min/Director: Lauren MacMullan
Easily the best of this group. Fun throwback to the earliest B&W shorts of Mickey Mouse. The production is thrown completely on its ear when flat animation becomes 3D and colorful. The characters appear to burst from the screen as they use their surroundings to their advantage. An homage to classic Disney but it also deconstructs the character in a delightfully modern way to create something fresh and original. A real winner.
Luxembourg/France /11min/Director: Laurent Witz
Mr. Hublot is a quirky character that lives in a mechanized world beautifully rendered in computer animated detail. A robot pet resembling a dog is introduced into his life and the addition will have a major effect on his comfortable existence. If Get a Horse! didn’t exist, this would be my favorite.
Japan/14 min/Director: Shuhei Morita
A man lost in the woods, waits out a storm in a small shrine. Suddenly the room is transformed and inanimate objects appear before him. Beautifully animated but the story is random and aimless. Not my cup of tea.
Room on the Broom
UK/25min/Director: Max Lang and Jan Lachauer
Story about a overly sweet witch with a collection of animals she invites to share space on her broom. This is based on a children’s picture book and it feels like something for pre-preschoolers. Constant narration explains to us what is happening while we actually watch it happening…for 25 long minutes. The book is read to us by what sounds like a librarian as portrayed by Simon Pegg. From the producers of The Gruffalo and The Gruffalo’s Child.