The Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films



The Oscar-nominated animated short films, and the short films that were almost-nominated,
or made the long-list for 2014, out in theaters now, are:

Room on a Broom, from the makers of The Gruffalo
Mr. Hublot
Mickey Mouse in Get a Horse!
The Blue Umbrella
Versailles/ Á la Francaise
The Missing Scarf
Possessions
Feral

I thought the most interesting and imaginative films in this order were: The Blue Umbrella, Mickey Mouse/ Get a Horse!, Posessions, Room on a Broom, the Irish film, The Missing Scarf, Mr. Hublot, and Versailles. However, my personal favorite out of all of the films was Room on a Broom, for both its character illustrations and development, and the narration of its cute storyline. It showed imagination as well as making very charming and likeable characters, with the narration creating a very engaging storyline, along with the actions of the witch, the cat, dog, frog and bird who are the stars of the film, that travel together on the witch's broom. The only bad thing they encounter is a porky, oversized dragon who swoops down to try to ruin their broom. But the ending solves all of their problems, when they scare the dragon away, and the witch casts a new spell to try to repair her broom. The spell conjures up a new, deluxe broom with seats for all of its passengers as they fly away into the night. It was humorous and appropriate for a modern fairytale, as kind of a new twist on the old fairy tale idea. Some of the other films, like Mr. Hublot were interesting and accomplishments as technical spectacles, but similar in content to several other animated shorts over the past few years, without much of a story other that of a mechanical dog that is rescued from the street by a mechanical person, both of whom live in a mechanical and machine-oriented fantasy city. The man takes the dog in, but eventually it grows too big for its surroundings, in spite of being made out of metal, and the man has to buy a warehouse where both he and the dog can live.

The Blue Umbrella was in my opinion, one of the most imagintive of all the films, even though it was a very brief movie. It uses great illustrations with the animation of umbrellas walking by their owners, down a rainy street, in a dark city. The umbrellas are all black, except for one blue one that sticks out in the crowd. The blue umbrella also has a cute face, which responds with animated expressions to things going on around it. Eventually, a red umbrella comes along, and the blue and red umbrella exchange glances and become friendly for a moment or two, before their owners (who remain anonymous to the movie viewer) move on. When the blue umbrella's owner starts down a subway staircase, suddenly, the blue umbrella is blown from his handsand blows up and away, being tossed around, narrowly missing being hit by several cars and buses, coming and going. Then, much to the surprise of the viewer, the cityscape seems to come to life, with buildings, street signs, windows, and sewars all having their facial expressions which light up, as different ones try to save the blue umbrella from being damaged by the oncoming traffic. These inanimate objects are imaginatively created from windows, nailheads, or other everyday things that come to life, and which end up playing a vital role in helping to save the blue umbrella from being damaged. Finally, the blue umbrella is saved by the sewar who seems to catch it before it gets swept away again, and then it ends up being found by its owner who picks it up. The blue umbrella's facial expression looks a bit battered and hurt, but soon enough it looks happy again, once it has been reuinted with its owner, and they are then reunited with the red umbrella and its owner, at a sidewalk cafe.
The film is both artistic and imagintative, as well as technically interesting, and even has its own music playing in the background, which enhances the cute story. It accomplishes all of this without words, just through the expressive faces on the umbrellas and the other city objects, along with the action that tells the story.

The Mickey Mouse, Get a Horse! film was also really cute, and uses some advanced technical animation techniques to accomplish something where the original movie in black and white is the first part of the movie, which is playing like an old Disney cartoon on a fake movie screen. When things in this movie though turn evil as the bad, Peg Leg captures Mickey Mouse, Mickey eventually breaks free from Peg Leg, and the confines of this animated black and white film world, when Peg Leg hurls him, but he ends up tearing through the movie screen itself, landing on the other side of that movie, and onto the stage, simultaneously turning into a color version of himself. Peg Leg is then stumped as he tries to capture Minnie Mouse, who also eventually escapes the same way, and both Mickey and Minnnie remain in the new, color medium, while Peg Leg is stuck chasing himself around in the black and white film, and cannot get to them. The movie is very clever in its use of both the color and the traditional, black and white animation cartoon side by side, where the good guys escape the bad guy, and are free in the new, color medium, and can look back and make fun of ol' Peg Leg. All I can say, is you have to see it, to fully appreciate the technique and the visual idea at hand.

Possessions is a strange, but still imaginative and engaging film about a Japanese man who seems to be wandering through a forest in ancient Japan, and gets caught in a rain storm, then comes upon a house where he takes refuge from the storm. He falls asleep, but wakes up to find that the house has come alive, and has walled him in. As inanimate objects suddenly appear before him, such as parasols or fabrics that seem to have come to life and intimidate and threaten him, he discovers that the only way to calm these forces is by learning how make parasols, sew fabrics, and find a use for old pots, or talk to wall murals that seem to also be alive with Japanese women. Finally after he has been besieged by all of these old tools, pottery, fabrics and wall murals that engulf and haunt both him and the house, and has dealt with each one individually, then the house seems to quiet down and finally leaves him alone to get some sleep. Finally, it is morning and he finds he is able to open the doors and escape back to the real world. The last part of the movie shows him walking away with a parasol in his hand, wearing a cape that he has sewn, and carrying one of the old pots, as he has found a way to reutilize all of these old, outcast objects that came to haunt him in the house. So once his task of reutilizing the possessions has been done, he takes the newly made possessionis with him on his treck again into the forest. In the beginning of the movie, the viewer is told that In Japan, tools that are over 100 years have spirits of their own, and can come back to life, to remind their owners that they are still around. The film was interesting, and strangely entertaining.

The Missing Scarf,
an Irish film, was also a cute animated movie about a squirrel that is looking in the woods for a scarf, and encounters several other animals that remind him of the fact that global warming is taking over the planet, and destroying it, as well as the life that lives on it. The movie's message is plain to see, as in the end the squirrel runs wildly to escape the inevitable destruction of the forest and the planet.

Versailles, or À la Francaise! was kind of a fun one too, with chickens and roosters that were dressed up as French nobility back in the day of King Louis VI, living in the Versialle palace. It was kind of a fun commentary on French nobility, and their habits and dress. The characters were very well developed, as were the elaborate costumes they wore, and the movie had a tongue-in-cheek kind of humor about it. This one was not nominated for an oscar, however.

Feral was an interesting, but dark story about a boy that lives a dual life where he communicates with wolves. It uses interesting illustrations that are brought to life, but without too much animation, so they appear more as drawings rather than action stills. It was kind of a dark tale, however which I think was somewhat detracting to the otherwise interesting artistry of the illustrations.



Copyright & credits for the animation still   from: ROOM ON A BROOM
Narrated by:
Simon Pegg | Characters featured: Witch: Gillian Anderson 
Frog: David Walliams  Cat: Rob Brydon   Dog: Martin Clunes  Bird: Sally Hawkins


Copyright and captions for animated still from: GET A HORSE!
Characters featured: Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse and Peg-Leg Pete
Copyright: ©2014 Disney. All Rights Reserved.

 

Mr. Hublot

Copyright & Credits for animation still   from: MR. HUBLOT
Character featured: Mr. Hublot

 


For further reading:    & Viewing:

Article on NPR.com: “Oscar Glow: Today’s Tech Help Short Films Find Their Fandom”
Topic: The 86th Annual Academy Awards | by, Neda Ulaby

ARE THESE THE BEST SHORT FILMS OF 2013?
REVIEWING THE MOST OFFBEAT OSCAR NOMINEES

February 4th, 2014 | INDIEWIRE – by Eric Kohn | February 3, 2014

From Disney Studios, Mickey Mouse in,“Get a Horse!” animation clip on YouTube

Room on the Broom website

The Missing Scarf - the Irish short film, on the long list for animated short Oscar nominees

The Missing Scarf was directed by Eoin Duffy and produced by Jamie Hogan for Belly Creative Ltd. The film was funded as part of the Frameworks programme by Bord Scannán na hÉireann/the Irish Film Board, RTÉ and the Arts Council. Watch the trailer for The Missing Scarf the Irish Film Board's Media Hub.

The Blue Umbrella, a Pixar Animated Short

Where to find the Oscar-nominated short films, online:
http://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/

& To veiw the shorts on high-definition tv, go to this website:
http://us.shorts.tv/

More on French animated short films:

http://www.shortoftheweek.com/2010/10/14/best-of-french-animation/

 

 

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© 2012-’13 - Jacquie Apel