In honor of the Academy Awards, ShortsHD has once again made all three of the Oscar nominated short film programs (animated, live action, documentary) available to audiences around the world.
The animated compilation was released to theaters on January 29th, giving the public the opportunity to see the nominated entries before the Oscar Awards ceremony on February 28th.
In addition to the theatrical release, the nominated live action and animated shorts will also be accessible online and on VOD/Pay Per View Platforms.
The animated segment is often my favorite of the three shorts programs because they illicit the most diverse array of feelings – ranging from joy to sadness, sometimes within the same vignette.
I’ve ranked them in the order from best to worst. Also included in the theatrical program are a few honorable mentions including Cordell Barker’s If I Was God. All things considered, it’s a shame this didn’t earn a nomination.
World of Tomorrow
Director & Writer: Don Hertzfeldt
An adorable stick figure toddler is visited by her future self, a 3rd generation clone designed to live forever. She imparts wisdom and the script is literally one brilliant piece of wisdom after another. “I am very proud of my sadness because it means I am more alive.” The contrast between her happy but oblivious younger self and her melancholy older reproduction is heartbreaking.
American Don Hertzfeldt’s animated films (It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Rejected) have made him a bit of cult figure in this field. World of Tomorrow only adds to his mystique. (10/10)
Sanjay’s Super Team
Director: Sanjay Patel
A young Indian boy wants to watch superheroes on TV while his religious father is trying to mediate. After being forced to join him in prayer, the boy uses his imagination to envision Hindu gods combating in superhero adventures. Deeply personal tale obviously influenced by director Sanjay Patel’s real life relationship with his own father. Actual photos of the animator and his dad at the end complete the touching story arc.
This is from Pixar studios. Their entry originally ran before The Good Dinosaur so this is the most widely seen and the heavy favorite. (8/10)
We Can’t Live Without Cosmos
Director & Writer: Konstantin Bronzit
Tale concerning two friends since childhood who go through the training program to become cosmonauts. The cartoon is from Russia so I’m making an attempt to use the correct terminology. Starts out lighthearted and silly and ends up rather sad and poignant. It isn’t particularly innovative, but it’s refreshing to see a short where the narrative takes precedence over the visuals. (7/10)
Director: Gabriel Osorio
Lonely bear who presents a mechanical theater of windup toys contained within a musical diorama . Passersby may peer inside for the price of a coin. The somber, dialogue-free story about animals captured to perform in the circus may or may not actually mirror the history of his own family. You decide. Just kidding. There’s nothing to decide. That’s exactly what it is. Cute. (6/10)
Director: Richard Williams
Hand drawn Spartan and Athenian soldiers rendered in charcoal, engage in an extreme battle to the death. Here’s where you should escort the little ones out of the theater and get a snack. There’s nudity and lots of blood. A warrior is brutally stabbed in the groin. The animation is hypnotic but after it’s over, you’ll be scratching your head. What was the point? Well named because it feels like the beginning of something unfinished. (4/10)