Ranked: 2014 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

Feb 24, 2014
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The 86th Annual Academy Awards ceremony will happen this Sunday, March 2nd. Leading in to Oscar weekend, we'll be taking a look at this year's short film competitions. The Academy defines a short film as an original motion picture running 40 minutes or less, and excludes all advertisments, unaired or unsold television episodes, or credit sequences from feature-length films. Our critic, Shawn Hazelett, watched and ranked all of this year's Oscar-nominated shorts. Today, he'll look at this year's animated category. 

1

Dir. Laurent Witz

Mr. Hublot

The titular Mr. Hublot is an accountant who lives a boring, withdrawn existence until, one day in the street, he happens upon a stray, metallic canine. His new pal subsides on a diet of oil and metal, and as he grows bigger and bigger, his size threatens everything in Hublot’s carefully guarded flat. But isn’t the pup’s companionship worth it? The visuals and storytelling are beautifully painted and provide an incredible amount of humor, imagination, and warmth in just 11 minutes.

2

Dirs. Max Lang & Jan Lachauer

Room on the Broom

The Seussian Room on the Broom follows a very accommodating witch who—to the dismay of her jealous cat—acquires more and more furry companions. The British short—narrated by Simon Pegg—offers a rich color palette and a charming story, showing that a person can never have too many friends.

3

Dir. Daniel Sousa

Feral

Feral is a beautifully drawn, haunting, but ultimately confusing story about a boy raised alongside wolves, then must maintain his feral instincts after being adopted into an unwelcoming society. Is this a literal story of a boy adjusting to new surroundings or an allegory about civilized human beings? In either case, the visual storytelling—while brilliant at times—becomes disjointed and a bit too surreal for the film to resonate beyond its breathtaking and inventive animation.

4

Dir. Lauren MacMullan

Get A Horse!

In an effort to save Minnie from the evil clutches of Peg-Leg Pete, Mickey is tasked with an impossible challenge after being knocked from the black-and-white picture and into a colorful, CGI movie theatre. This year’s short from Disney plays on the evolution of animation and its own history with a scene that’s fun and to the point, giving its classic mouse some clever, eye-grabbing devices to save his true love.

5

Dir. Shuhei Morita

Possessions

The Japanese short Possessions is as unintelligible as it is beautiful, centered on a wanderer who—during a storm—happens upon a closet full of tattered umbrellas that don’t want to be discarded. He repairs the umbrellas in a kinetic, colorful scene that doesn’t really follow logically to the next scene—where he knits colorful scarves—and somehow climaxes in an encounter with a dragon.

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