I keep forgetting that I haven’t posted about the short films nominated for the Oscar. But the thing is? I wasn’t that excited by any of them, so it’s hard to get motivated to talk about them. I mean, last year had some great animation, including the glorious steampunk Jasper Morello, even though it didn’t win, and the live action winner was the black comedy “Six Shooter” and my favorite of the bunch.
This year, though, I felt like all the best stuff was on the short list (the animated set wasn’t feature length as it was, so they added five other 2006 shorts. Plus, for some unknown reason we didn’t get “Lifted”, so that’s probably the best one of the nominees.) “The Danish Poet” was much better than last year’s roughly autobiographical entry, “The Little Match Girl” was a nice reminder of how beautiful 2D animation can be (timely, since Disney grew some brains this month and made an announcement that they were bringing back 2D), “Maestro” had interesting camera work but the payoff was only so-so, and “No Time For Nuts” was cute but was banking on knowledge of an established character (from Ice Age).
On the shortlist, “A Gentlemen’s Duel” was notable for its medieval/gundam mash-up, “Guide Dog” was funnier than all of the nominees put together, “One Rat Short” stole my heart for obvious reasons (oh ratties! Beautifully rendered, too), “The Passenger” was probably the best of the lot (including the actual nominees), and “Wraith of Cobble Hill” was dark claymation.
Then, live action. “Binta and the Great Idea” is probably going to win, since it has just the sort of things Academy voters go for, and the great idea in it really was great, but it is flawed. “Eramos Pocos” was lovely, even though I knew how it was going to end, it did a really nice job of getting there, “Helmer & Son” was my favorite, very funny and touching. “The Savior” thought it was cleverer than it was, and speaking of which, the falafel rivalry “West Bank Story” … I actually kind of hated. And I was totally set to love it! But no.