2019 Oscar-nominated Animated Short Films Review

Any of them are deserving to win.
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For over a decade, ShortsTV has proudly brought the Oscar-nominated Short Films to audiences across the globe. This exclusive release features the year’s most spectacular short films and for a limited time is available to watch on the big screen. Each nominee is released in one of three distinct feature-length compilations according to their category of nomination: Live Action, Animation, or Documentary

The films go into theaters around the world on February 8 and are not released anywhere else until a few days before the Oscars, when they are also made available February 19 on demand platforms, including iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Vimeo on Demand. The release ensures the greatest number of viewers can see all the nominees before the ceremony, while providing short filmmakers with an unprecedented opportunity to commercialise their movies.  For a full list of theaters the short films are playing in, visit:

https://shorts.tv/theoscarshorts/theatrical-release/

The Animated Short nominees are:

ANIMAL_BEHAVIOR_STILL.jpgAnimal Behavior (directors Alison Snowden and David Fine, Canada, 14 min) -  This very funny short takes place during a group session dealing with behavioral issues at a therapist's office.  The twist is the characters are all animals and their issues stem from their species' characteristics.  For example, Todd the pig has eating issues and Lorraine the leech is clingy in relationships.  Victor the ape is new to the group, but doesn't want to share his problems.  The directors also served as animators and wrote the story, which is clever.

BAO_STILL.jpgBao (director Domee Shi, USA, 8 min) -  Paired with Incredibles 2, Bao is notable for being the first Pixar short directed by a woman. It is a touching, humorous story about the relationship between a woman and a dumpling she raises as a child, which takes interesting turns as it gets older and begins to rebel.

LATE_AFTERNOON_STILL.jpgLate Afternoon (director Louise Bagnall, Ireland, 10 min) -  During one afternoon, viewers meet an elderly woman named Emily. It's a heartbreaking story because she is lost in her memories, barely aware of what's happening around her. The scenes weren't as finely detailed as the other shorts, which is a good representation of Emily's state of mind.

ONE_SMALL_STEP_STILL.jpgOne Small Step (directors Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, USA & China, 8 min) -  From a young age, Luna has been fascinated by space and wished to be an astronaut.  Her doting father, who runs a shoe-repair business, supports her as she pursues her dreams, even when she is unaware of it.  Both Luna and her father are inspiring figures.

WEEKENDS_STILL.jpgWeekends (director Trevor Jimenez, USA, 15 min) -  Using no dialogue, a young boy is shown spending time with divorced parents while both try to pursue new relationships.  The boy dreams, but doesn't always find the escape he desires.  Enjoyable but the ending wasn't clear.

All the shorts have visually pleasing animation styles.  In addition, they all do a wonderful job of blending emotional tones within their stories.  Any of them are deserving to win.  I prefer Animal Behavior because of its humor, but think Bao might eke out a win in part because it comes from Pixar, a studio with an impressive track record.   

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