Oscar Nominated Animated Short Films

Don’t look for humor in this animated world.

Great animated films can both inspire and bring you close to tears. The best are reflected by Bambi (1942), Dumbo (1941), Finding Nemo (2003), WALL-E (2008) and Up (2009). It is not an exaggeration to say that all of them are as meaningful as any adult dramatic films that have hit the big screen.

However, this year’s animated shorts are lacking one thing, humor. They are serious, borderline depressing, and it is impossible to take your kids given that one of them carries an R rating.

Furthermore, the Oscar Academy has ignored the best animated short film of the year, Lava. This wonderful film played before Inside Out, the likely winner of the Oscar for best animated film this year. It is moving, funny, delightful beyond words, and how it could be ignored by the academy escapes my limited comprehension.

But let me quit griping and talk about the five principal nominees. The likely winner as predicted by experts is Sanja’s Super Team, a short film that showed before The Good Dinosaur. It tells a lovely little story about an East Indian boy who prefers to watch videos about his favorite super heroes on TV rather than to participate in his father’s Hindu ceremonies at home. Though I found it to be well done and engaging, I didn’t think it would be nominated at the time, much less win an Oscar.

The two films that I liked the best were Bear Story, a tale about the sad life of a circus bear, and the challenging futuristic film World of Tomorrow. Bear Story, a film from Chile, describes the life of circus animals and the tragic fact that they are violently jerked from their families to spend their time performing at the cusp of a whip.

World of Tomorrow is both challenging and haunting, and it tells the tale of human’s desire to conquer mortality. A young girl is able to meet her future cloned self, and you learn the simple truth that living well is the envy of all the dead.

The two other nominated films are Prologue, an R rated film from Britain that involves naked warriors fighting in ancient Greece to the death. Blood flows as if Quentin Tarantino had a hand in this movie, and a young girl witnesses the tragedy while running for safety into the arms of her mother.

Finally, We Can’t Live Without Cosmos is a Russian film that tells the story of space cosmonauts and the training they go through to prepare for their journey. Tragedy eventually awaits a member of a two-man team, and you watch the survivor reject life as he simply seeks to join his deceased friend.

There are some other films shown that were considered for nomination, but the only really good one is a short film from France dealing with a fox pursuing a mouse in a snow-covered forest. I ended up enjoying it as much as any of the other films, as the fox ends up seeking to save the tiny rodent from being devoured by hungry owls.

In any event, even though Sanja’s Super Team is the favorite pick, I think the choice is between Bear Story and World of Tomorrow. It’s anybody’s guess, but I have to pick World of Tomorrow.