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Animated Shorts – A Flurry of Creativity

The five animated shorts are all worth buying a ticket to see.  They will be hitting theaters soon. You can find out where and more about all of the shorts on their site. 

So far, I’ve made it through four of the five animated films and am half-way through the live action.  The shorts, like the documentaries, are usually better than the nominated films in the feature category – except this year, the Academy picked  some very good films for its Best Picture lineup.

The best of the bunch, to my mind, are Paperman and Adam and Dog.  You’ve likely already seen Fresh Guacamole, as it’s been floating around on YouTube for a while now.

Paperman is a richly imagined black and white love story involving nothing so much as a man throwing paper airplanes in hopes of catching the attention of the woman in the next building. But to say anymore would ruin it.  Suffice it to say it’s the most lovable one, charming and disarming at once.

Adam and Dog is a little less accessible than Paperman and dwells ever so sweetly in metaphor. If Paperman is the Silver Linings Playbook of the bunch, Adam and Dog is the Life of Pi.  It captures an animated dog better than I’ve ever seen any animator do. The dog has a whole inner life, it seems, without anthropomorphic projection.  This was made by someone who knows and loves dogs.  So it helps if you love dogs as I do.  It isn’t particularly “easy” to watch but it may be the most thought-provoking.

Fresh Guacamole is just radically brilliant animation:

Head Over Heels is an interesting claymation short about a man and a woman who live in opposite gravitational pulls. One is upside down to the other yet they still must share a kitchen, do the cleaning and al for both households.  You’ll have to watch it to see how it turns out but it is sweet without frothing over the top like the delightful Paperman.

HEAD OVER HEELS – Trailer from Timothy Reckart on Vimeo.

The only one I have no yet seen is Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare.  I’ll have to track that one down. But I would think the prize will be up to the Simpsons (brand name alone) and Paperman, which will be hard for voters to resist.

6 Comments on this Post

  1. José R. Ortega

    “Paperman” was at the beggining of “Wreck-It Ralph”, and “Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”” came with Ice Age 4 (in fact it was the only good thing about those two hours or so). While “Fresh Guacamole” has been on YouTube for a while. This is, in my oppinion, a poor year in this category, neither of the five nominees were outstanding. And yet, “Head over Heels” is a delightful and witty story, I guess if I get the chanche to vote, my preference would go to that direction.

  2. el laurens

    With voting in the short categories now open to the entire Academy membership, it is very possible that Paperman or Maggie Simpson could win based on brand appeal, but the history of this category tells us that voters in previous years always avoid voting for films with that kind of exposure, even if its the best in the field. That’s why Pixar has not won the academy short category in the last decade. Smart money would be on Adam and Dog.

  3. Really? I’ve been trying to track down Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels for months now, but with no success. I guess I will have to go to the showing. Paperman is my favorite so far, but Adam and Dog is such a wild card (due to the fact I haven’t seen it) that I think it may win. I hope not. Adam just looks annoying in the trailer.

  4. Maggie Simpson in the Longest Daycare is the best!!! Clever, funny, inspirational, eco-friendly. My bet.

    If you like Fresh Guacamole, check out PES’ Western Spaghetti also on YouTube.

  5. Paperman worked really well in 3D.

  6. Apocalypse Pooh

    No Disney animated short subject has won the Oscar for Best Animated Short since Ward Kimball’s “It’s Tough to be a Bird” in 1969. Disney’s lost this category for four decades — even Roy Disney’s labor of love resurrecting Dali’s “Destino” project with Walt himself lost out. In light of that, I was really pulling for “Paperman” given the revolutionary tech involved, and while the tech is groundbreaking (integrating hand drawn animation with CGI), they story let me down. Maybe my expectations were too high, but the story in that short leaves one wanting, ending with “airplane ex machina” more than clever writing. I was left feeling that “Paperman” is a great demo reel, more than a great story.

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