Monday, February 4, 2013
Oscar Animated Shorts 2013
Up until recently it was impossible for non-Academy members to view the competing short films. But now all the pieces are presented in programs at independent cinemas across the country, giving amateur Oscar betters the opportunity to get a leg up on their friends. Two years ago, I saw the Animated nominees; last year both the animated and live-action. My goal for 2013 is to see the Doc. Short Subjects as well. This past weekend I saw the Animated contenders at the IFC Cinema in the Village--it was during the Super Bowl, which shows you my priorities are properly aligned.
Here are the nominees:
Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare--a five-minute Simpsons episode featuring the youngest family member rescuing a butterfly from her nemesis the Unibrow baby at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center. Very funny.
Adam and Dog--this looks to be the favorite, maybe because it's the longest at 16 mins. and is a very beautiful depiction of the Garden of Eden. The storyline follows the budding friendship between the first man and his best friend. Voters are suckers for canines.
Fresh Guacamole--a two-minute visual joke in which the ingredients for the titular dish are transformed into dice, Monopoly pieces, thumbtacks, billiard balls, and other non-edible odd and ends.
Head Over Heels--I liked this one best, a Claymation treat depicting an elderly married couple living in a weird, flying, bi-gravitational house. The husband lives on the floor while the wife resides on the ceiling. Somehow they co-exist but they barely speak. When the house crashes to earth and their positions are reversed, they find an innovative new way to communicate. It was adorable, but I think Adam and Dog has the edge.
Paperman--a sweet black and white romance from the Disney Studios. A paper pusher sees a pretty girl in a building across the street and attempts to attract her attention by making paper airplanes out of the endless forms he must process. It's a cute idea and the drawing and animation are elegant.
For the last two years the winners have been pretty clear (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore in 2012 and The Lost Thing in 2011, both were heads and shoulders above their competition in terms of imagination and design.) This year's it's a bit tougher picking a winner because none of the nominees is spectacular. If I were a voting Academy member, I'd go for Head Over Heels, but most Oscar experts seem to think it will be Adam and Dog or Paperman. For the moment, I'll go with Adam and Dog.
More Oscar predictions to come and I will post my complete list before the show on Feb. 24.