Every year when the Oscar nominations are announced, I make a little "note-to-self" to track down the nominated short films before the ceremony. Although they certainly don’t get the same kind of attention (and distribution) as feature length nominees, they often represent some of the most innovative, painstaking, and visually stunning filmmaking out there. This year is no different, especially in the animated short category. From an incredible visualization of a vintage interview with John Lennon to a lovely take on a classic fable, this year’s nominees prove just how entertaining this category can be.
The shorts will be hitting US theaters in February, and I hope they'll eventually end up on iTunes like last year's did. But in the meantime, I’ve put together some descriptions and clips (and some full length films — that might not last long, so watch fast!) of each of the animated shorts nominated this year. To get started, just
I Met The Walrus
When Jerry Levitan was 14 years old growing up in Toronto, he found the hotel that Beatles superstar John Lennon was staying in. Armed with a portable tape recorder, he managed to score himself an interview. Thirty-nine years later, filmmaker Josh Raskin has turned a portion of that interview into a cool, retro-looking film using line-drawn animation (MTV has used a similar technique in the past between shows). The trailer is below.
Even Pigeons Go To Heaven
A sweet little film about a priest's chase to save a troubled soul. This one is the full package — beautiful animation, great story. Check out the film in its entirety below.
A lady goes on a crazy metaphysical ride on a creepy night train. The story isn't the Oscar-worthy aspect of this little gem, though — that would be the fact that a 16-second shot took a week to make. You can find a small clip here and the trailer below.
This tale about first love was created by Alexandre Petrov, a Russian director who is considered one of the best animators in the world. The film features the same technique of painting on glass as his Oscar-winning short Old Man and the Sea. Part one is below, and follow this link for part two and three.
Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf
This is a gorgeous, very dark, stop-motion version of the popular story without narration and set in contemporary Russia. Only a half hour long, this little masterpiece took 100 animators, sculptors and artists five years to bring it to life. There is a preview below, and the full movie is here.