Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Oscar Shorts! Academy Award Nominated Short Films (Animated)

Since moving to Omaha about three months ago, my favorite find has been Film Streams at the Ruth Sokolof Theater. They play the kind of movies I want to see, and this week I was lucky enough to catch the five titles nominated for Best Animated Short Film at this year’s Academy Awards (plus three bonus films). I’ll take a brief look at each of them in the order they were presented.

French Roast / ***

Directed by: Fabrice Joubert
Running Time: 8 minutes
Country: France
Language: French with English subtitles

This is a fun little tale about a businessman at a coffee shop in Paris. He realizes he has forgotten his wallet, and goes to great lengths to avoid having the waiter find out. An assorted cast of characters come in and out of the shop, and hilarity ensues.

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty / ***

Directed by: Nicky Phelan
Running Time: 6 minutes
Country: Ireland
Language: English

This is a twisted tale about a grandma who is clearly losing her mind trying to tell her granddaughter a bedtime story. Her version of “Sleeping Beauty” is, shall we say, a tad morose. It’s probably the weakest of the bunch, but it’s fun.

The Lady and the Reaper (La dama y la muerte) / ***½

Directed by: Javier Recio Gracia
Running Time: 8 minutes
Country: Spain
Language: English

Antonio Banderas produced this gem from Spain that features the Grim Reaper in a literal tug-of-war with an arrogant doctor over the life of an elderly woman. The women, as it turns out, is excited to go with the Reaper because it means being reunited with her late husband. This one is definitely twisted but very, very funny.

Wallace and Gromit in A Matter of Loaf and Death / ****

Directed by: Nick Park
Running Time: 30 minutes
Country: UK
Language: English

Do you even need me to tell you that this is great? If you love Wallace and Gromit like I do, you’ll love their latest adventure. Sure, it doesn’t break any new ground, but these are great characters and they are always welcome.

Partly Cloudy / ****

Directed by: Peter Sohn
Running Time: 6 minutes
Country: USA
Language: None

Many will recognize this one as the short that played before “Up” last summer. For those that missed it, “Cloudy” takes the legend of storks bringing babies one step further, showing where the storks procure said babies. This is a remarkably effective and wordless film. THIS FILM IS NOT NOMINATED FOR THE ACADEMY AWARD.

Runaway / ****

Directed by: Cordell Barker
Running Time: 9 minutes
Country: Canada
Language: English

This is another comically twisted tale, about a train that encounters several obstacles along its journey. They even snuck in a class war subplot! THIS FILM IS NOT NOMINATED FOR THE ACADEMY AWARD.

The Kinematograph / ****

Directed by: Tomek Baginski
Running Time: 12 minutes
Country: Poland
Language: English

This was probably my favorite of them all. The story follows a man in the process of inventing the motion picture, but in the background his wife’s health is failing. He’s consumed by his invention, but also cares for his wife. This is a stunning piece of film, and it really is a shame that THIS FILM IS NOT NOMINATED FOR THE ACADEMY AWARD.

Logorama / ****

Directed by: Francois Alaux, Herve de Crecy & Ludovic Houplain
Running Time: 16 minutes
Country: France
Language: English

Of the nominated films, this is probably the best one and the one with the best chance to take down Nick Park’s “A Matter of Loaf and Death.” It’s a brutally funny and fiendishly clever lampooning of America’s fast food society, with logos everywhere that came to life in surprising, and shocking ways.

So in the end I’ll be rooting for “Logorama,” simply because “The Kinematograph” is not in the running. The three non-nominated films presented in this program were better than some of the actual nominated films, but none of them were bad and the overall quality is very, very high.

Theater: The Ruth Sokolof Theater, Omaha, NE
Time: 645 pm
Date: February 24, 2010


  1. These just sound like a bunch of cartoons.

  2. Your friendship with James Franco sounds like a cartoon.