Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013 – Animation

Having just had the opportunity to see all five nominated films, a number of them stand out. While Fresh Guacamole is a stimulating 5-minute film on how to make one of America’s favorite foods by dicing everything from hand grenades to golf balls to dice, it is a throwaway pleasure. However, the winner is likely to come from the other four nominees.

First there is Adam and Dog, the story about how canines first bonded with Adam in and out of Paradise. Ironically, the film demonstrated the value of man’s best friend, as Adam and Eve only sought the pleasure of the energetic little dog’s company when they foolishly were shown the exit door from Eden.

Paperman is a black and white movie you can celebrate because it comes from the Disney Studio. It is a throwback to a time when a young man and woman meet accidentally at a train depot, having the delightful embarrassment of one of his papers striking her in the face and thereafter bearing the outline of her red lips.

He loses sight of her, and continues to try to track her down from his office, which has a hard-nosed, uncaring supervisor. The film revolves around his attempts to connect with the young woman by sending a mammoth amount of paper planes to an office across a city street where he suddenly sees her. The film is a reminder of just how pleasant Disney was many years ago.

And then there is the extraordinarily funny Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”;. Coming from the Simpson’s Studio that has ruled TV for decades, you follow the exploits of little Maggie as she is left at an Ayn Rand Daycare Center. In the process, the film uses Maggie to poke fun at the effects of living in America today, which includes her being forced to go through a metal detector while her pacifier is examined.

However, I truly feel that the Oscar winner will be Head Over Heels. It is a stunning short film that examines an older married couple who are doing little more than simply tolerating each other. In fact, one lives on the floor of their house while the other lives on the ceiling. They face each other completely upside down, and their only mutual reaction is one of irritation.

Without giving anything away, the film revolves around their ability to connect when the husband finds an old pair of her ballet slippers that have been left in a beat up condition in a corner of their home. The two end up rediscovering youth, vitality and the fact that they still do love one another, and it is memorable beyond words.

Also, I should note that Head Over Heels was recognized with an award at last year’s Heartland Film Festival here in Indianapolis, and that is reason enough to keep your eye on this year’s Festival in the Fall. Several other Oscar nominated short films were also recognized, and cinema lovers should know (if they don’t already) that we have a diamond in the rough in Ms. Louise Henderson, who is both the Festival Director and the Documentary Programmer of Heartland.

To be quite frank, I have to admit my profound embarrassment in largely dismissing Heartland over the years. It’s not that I didn’t admire its efforts and concept, it’s just that I couldn’t get a solid view on what might stand out in advance, so it was just easier for me to find an excuse and ignore it.

I was profoundly wrong, and that mistake will not happen again. Keep that in mind.

Fresh Guacamole

Adam and Dog

Paperman (trailer)

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (trailer)

Head Over Heels