Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films
From my standpoint, this was not a good year in this category. However, you won’t have to sit long, as the entire presentation lasts only one hour and twenty minutes.
There was only one sensational animated short film nominated this year, and that was Animal Behaviour which was made in Canada. The film concerns a very funny therapy session where a group of animals deal with their insecurities. But before describing it in a bit more detail, let me quickly turn to the other films. Pixar released Bao, which you may have seen if you watched Incredibles 2. It concerns a woman making dough in the form of round rolls at home where one suddenly comes to life. As it gradually develops arms and legs, the mother proceeds to raise it as if it was one of her own children. The film was only saved when you finally discover that the little dough boy represented her inability to connect with her own son.
Then there was Late Afternoon from Ireland. Basically, it was a film of an elderly woman sitting in a chair at what appeared to be an assisted living center. As she was provided tea by a young caretaker, she was able to relive her life that had long ago disappeared. In the process, her relationship to her young assistant becomes clear, but the movie is largely forgettable.
And then you have Weekends from the USA. What you see is a boy constantly leaving his mother’s small rural home to visit his father at his upscale condo. While you assume the parents are divorced, there is little else you will learn from this disjointed film.
The only film that will challenge Animal Behaviour for the Oscar is One Small Step from the USA and China. It deals with a little girl living with her father who dreams of traveling in space somewhere in her future. When her father gives her some space boots as a gift, you watch the little girl grow into a teenager where she is forced to confront her childhood dreams and the tragic death of her father. In the process, the film has an emotional impact that you will clearly embrace.
However, the fact remains that the Oscar has to go to Animal Behaviour. The therapist is a dog known as Dr. Clement, and he has his job cut out given the rowdy behavior of his patients. That begins with Victor, a large chimp with a terrible anger problem. On top of that, there is a snail whose lack of confidence leads him to prefer wearing a bag over his head. While there is a funny scene involving a cat with a puking disorder, you will never forget Cheryl, a Praying Mantis who has anxiety problems concerning the need to raise over one thousand children.
Dr. Clement is trying his professional best to help his animals deal with hostility and aggression. Unfortunately, he has his own problems relating to his admitted weakness relating to his habit of sticking his nose up the butt of other dogs.
This film deserves the Oscar.
One Small Step