Ranked: 2015 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

Feb 20, 2015
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The 87th Annual Academy Awards ceremony will happen this Sunday, February 22nd. This week we've taken 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. In this installment, he'll look at this year's animated category. 

1

Dir. Robert Kondo

The Dam Keeper

In a school populated by animals, an introverted little pig is incessantly bullied by his classmates, while at night, he operates a dam that protects the entire town. When a popular fox moves in and attempts to strike up a friendship, the pig’s cynicism keeps him from embracing his good fortune, anticipating some sort of catch behind each good gesture. The Dam Keeper is an inspired and beautifully-drawn metaphor that speckles levity among its somber tones.

2

Dir. Patrick Osborne

Feast

A simple story about a stray puppy and the boy who adopts him, except the entirety of their relationship is charted by food. The pup is won over by cheesy fries. Then puppy chow. Then bacon and eggs over puppy chow. Then meatballs. Chips. Wings. Until one day, he’s given something completely repulsive—Brussels sprouts—courtesy of an unwelcome addition to their dynamic: a girlfriend. Ingenious storytelling full of vibrant colors, imagination, and warmth makes Feast a welcome newcomer to Disney’s impressive run of success in the category.

3

Dir. Joris Oprins

A Single Life

While eating pizza alone one evening, a young woman discovers that a mysterious vinyl offers her the ability to move back and forth through time. A fun—and sometimes perilous—premise helps makes for a tight and punchy short, which—at just over two minutes—offers a surprising amount of fun complications.

4

Dir. Torill Kove

Me and My Moulton

A seven-year-old girl and her two sisters are raised by highly unorthodox parents, whose “unique” styles and methods constantly embarrass them. Diametrically different than their peers, the sisters ask their parents for one simple item: a bicycle. However, simplicity goes against their parents’ nature. Me and My Moulton understands the important details in family dynamics, and offers universal feelings of not fitting in, envy, and about ultimately appreciating eccentricities.

5

Dir. Daisy Jacobs

The Bigger Picture

Two brothers are forced to adjust their busy schedules as their elderly mother requires more care. Their annoyance with one another and overall coldness unexpectedly gives way to love. Meticulous craftsmanship and inventive animation helps to elevate a narrative that would otherwise be too solemn and disengaging for the form.

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