Ranked: 2021 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films | Under The Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Ranked: 2021 Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

Apr 25, 2021 By Austin Trunick
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​The 93rd Annual Academy Awards ceremony happen tonight, April 25th. As in years past, 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 advertisements, 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.

Here, he looks at this year’s animated category:

1. Burrow - A simple story about a bunny crawling underground in search of his perfect home recalls fond memories of Fantastic Mr. Fox, but less heavy. The 2D illustrations are unpretentious, bright, and clever, relying on sharp contrasts to progress the story.

2. If Anything Happens I Love You - The most emotional short, stripped-away illustrations convey the fleeting, happier memories of a couple in despair. Their sparsity makes them all the more pointed, conveying context and backstory of times when their daughter was around without dialogue. With the majority of the runtime exemplifying mood and subtextual storytelling, it’s an unfortunate mystery why the film pivoted to heavy-handed closing beats.

3. Opera - The entirety of Opera consists of two vertical pans down and up a giant capitalist pyramid where tiny, barely visible individuals do various tasks in various rooms to keep the society functioning. We don’t need to see the specific actions, as strong visuals convey the ideas—mining for resources, feeding the fat folks atop the pyramid, sex work to appease those at the bottom, and, at the very bottom, war. An impressive feat that’s worth a rewatch, the film feels perhaps better suited for an interactive format.

4. Yes-People - Fun, bright, clever, and a bit tawdry, Yes-People tells parallel stories via a cacophony of the Norwegion “yes”. This short draws people in hilariously exaggerated illustrations and uses sound to great effect might be too long to be so surface-level, but might be worth a few giggles.

5. Genius Loci—On one hand, Genius Loci has far and away the best illustration and animation of the five nominees. On the other, the story feels too reliant on symbolism for effective context to effectively drive the emotion or experience of mental illness.


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