2017 Oscar-nominated Animated Shorts

For me, it was relatively easy to pick the Oscar winner. Pixar brings us a lovely little film, but I hope that their powerful influence does not guide them to an Oscar deserved by another contender.

Although I will be foolish enough to make my Oscar predictions later next week, I want to touch on this year’s Oscar-nominated animated shorts. As in other categories, five films are nominated, and it makes for an interesting day at the cinema.

The cutest film of the bunch is brought to us by Pixar, entitled Piper. It focuses on a newborn sandpiper who overcomes his fear of ocean waves as he is taught by his mother to hunt for food.

The little piper is initially overwhelmed after being hit by water, and the entire theater laughed when they saw the little bird covered by ruffled, wet feathers. In the end, he gains courage as he follows his instincts, and that is the ultimate lesson flowing from this short film. However, I don’t think it is powerful enough to win the ultimate award.

Another cute film is entitled Pearl, originating in the United States and lasting six minutes. It concerns a young girl and her father whose love of music leads both to singing on street corners to raise money to sustain their livelihood. It follows her as she ages. The music is quite good, but I think it’s only reward flows from its nomination.

Next comes an R rated film entitled Pear Cider and Cigarettes. A Canadian film lasting for 35 minutes, it deals with a young man whose devotion to excesses combined with a love for alcohol and cigarettes eventually leads to a liver transplant in China. The film is R rated because of its profanity and frequent references to idle sex, and it is the last film playing to enable parents to make sure that kids leave the theater before its screening.

The film is obviously done with some style, but there is little to like with the lead character. His friend narrates the entire movie, and it has the effect of watching a wino die an early death.

In the end, I believe the Oscar will come down to either Borrowed Time, another U.S. film of seven minutes, and the Canadian film Blind Vaysha. Vaysha follows the life of a little girl with a terrible eye defect. Not only are they different colors, but she sees the past from one of them and the future from the other. She totally lacks the ability to observe or embrace the present.

The point of the movie deals with the meaning of life with all its complexities. For example, if a possible boyfriend asks her out, she can only see him as a child or as an old man staggering toward death. If you were forced to choose, which eye would you pick?

In any event, I am a strong believer that the Oscar will be handed to Borrowed Time. It is a heartbreaking, lavish film about a little boy who is riding a stagecoach with his sheriff father in the Old West when it is attacked by robbers. He is thrown from the coach and his father crashes. Before the violence occurs, his father hands his son his personal watch, and the lad obviously cherishes the gift.

Nonetheless, after the crash, the father is thrown off a deep precipice, clinging to a ledge. His son crawls to him with the hope of pulling dad to safety, and the results crush the audience as much as they crush the young boy.

Without giving any more away, the movie centers on the lad as an older man who is walking to the edge of the cliff where he last saw his father years earlier. Overwhelmed with grief, he contemplates hurling himself to his own death. In the process, he spots the old watch that had been lost in the gravel, and this film will leave you with a tear in your eye.

More to the point, give the Oscar to Borrowed Time, as it deserves it.