|Watch: The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2012 (Animation)|
|Written by Ivan Radford|
|Sunday, 26 February 2012 09:41|
Ever since my brain was frazzled by The Monster of Nix at the London Film Festival, I was hoping that it would be one of 2012's Oscar-nominated short animated films. Alas, although it made the long-list, it didn't get through to the final stages. At first, I was annoyed that this bizarre fusion of Terry Gilliam and Tom Waits wouldn't get the chance to scoop up awards, then I actually started paying attention to some of the other adorable Oscar-nominated shorts.
But it's still the same problem every year: how do you predict which one will win without being able to see them? The Academy would never screen them as part of the ceremony; they're so busy cutting down running times at the moment that we won't even get to hear the Best Song nominees perform. The Curzon Soho are continuing their wonderful tradition of screening the shorts - but that's not happening until March.
There's no chance, then, of getting enough short film predictions right to win the Oscarnomnomnom cupcakes. Unless someone gives you a video of all of the Oscar-nominated animations to watch.
So, here you go:
The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
Books are awesome, aren't they? You don't have to follow Waterstones Oxford Street on Twitter to know that. But what if they could fly? And walk? And play the piano? And dance? William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg's stonkingly brilliant animation, with a nicely-judged score, is as charming and exciting as a brand-new paperback. And as soon as its over, you'll be rushing to buy one and start turning the pages. Can a Kindle fly? CAN IT?
"Young men from fine families are crossing the seas for adventure in Canada!" begins this animation by Amanda Forbis. One such youth is soon completely out of his English depth in a New World that he doesn't understand. "I believe I may now call myself... a rancher!" he writes home proudly, before worrying that he's sinking to the depths of the natives around him. Just as Canadian literature has shown migrants to be doomed as outsiders, this beautiful animation - painstakingly painted by Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis - shows the sad fate of a man who, like a comet, has simply failed to become part of the planet.
A Morning Stroll
From its opening masks to the simple line drawings, A Morning Stroll looks sophisticated and retro. Then the monochrome scribblings give way to flashes of bright, colourful CGI. It's trippy stuff from Grant Orchard - a purportedly true story that certainly lives up to its bizarre synopsis: "The story of one New Yorker's early morning encounter with a chicken, an event that plays out over 100 years."
Patrick Doyon's 2D tale looks at the boring routine of a Sunday through the quirky eyes of a young boy. While his family gather round grandma's house after church and jabber on like crows about the economy and the town's closed factory, he pockets his father's money and finds his own form of entertainment. Carefully drawn and likeably innocent, Dimanche is the kind of adventure that celebrates the minor events in a dull afternoon, a time when trains thunder on ignoring the world around them and stuffed animals on walls are far more than what they seem.
Full credit to the National Film Board of Canada for not only getting two Oscar nominations for their Best Animated Shorts, but also for putting them both online for everyone to see. Maybe they're not so slow after all, eh?
This 30-second clip from Pixar's latest short animation is pretty much the definition of cute. And imaginative. And gorgeous. The only sad news? We won't get to see the full thing until the equally promising Brave turns up in cinemas later in 2012.
For the full collection of Oscar-nominated animated short films 2012 (minus La Luna), go to iTunes and buy the official bundle. It's only £5.99 - The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is worth that much on its own.