As usual, it takes no skill to figure out the big winners at the Oscars, the occasional Crash aside. Picking the Coen Brothers, Javier Bardem and Diablo Cody is about as safe as predicting the appearance of another Skrull poster from Marvel next week. No, where Oscar pools are won and lost is in the Live Action Short and Animated Short categories. These obscure nominees crawl from the primordial ooze of doing it for art, get a brief touching moment and then go back to their careers of dedication to craft. We can’t really pick the live action shorts, but figure we should have a shot at the animated shorts. And good news! You can play along as they are almost all available on YouTube!
I Met the Walrus
Directed by Josh Raskin
Imaginative animated interpretation of a John Lennon interview.
Directed by Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski
Canadian film about a woman who takes a train journey and encounters weirdness.
Même les Pigeons vont au Paradis (Even Pigeons Go To Heaven)
Directed by Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse.
Humorous French CGI entry
My Love (Moya Lyubov)
Directed by Alexander Petrov
The Russian entry. Petrov, a previous Oscar® winner, presents a love story told in a stunning oil painting style.
Peter & the Wolf
Directed by Suzie Templeton
From England, a stop-motion retelling of the familiar legend.
As you can see from our descriptions, there are no easy picks here — none of these shorts are about the Holocaust, AIDS, African orphans, the mentally ill or incurable disease, the usual Oscar faves. With no easy picks we were forced to watch most of the actual nominees! We liked the stop-motion looks of PETER & THE WOLF and critical favorite MADAME TUTLI-PUTLI, although the Russian entry was also visually stunning. In the end, we think these foreign tours des force will cancel each other out, and good old American know how will win out. Our pick: I MET THE WALRUS.
BTW there’s actually a blog devoted to the Animation Shorts nominees. Apparently the directors have all been on tour and are being feted left and right. Stand down, Cate Banchett! All kidding aside, these films are all incredibly inventive and painstaking (TUTLI PUTLI took five years to complete) and heir being abel to get more exposure is one of the internet’s good deeds.