The 2014 Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films Review: Great Talent and Creativity on Display

The Oscar Nominated Short Films is the perfect opportunity for general theater-goers to see the Live Action, Animation and Documentary nominees. Presented by ShortsHD with Magnolia Pictures, the shorts are programmed as three separate events in over 250 theaters across the United States, Canada and Europe with more than 400 theaters slated to screen the films during its theatrical release. The winners will be announced at the 86th Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, March 2, 2014 from the following five nominees in the Best Animated Short Film category:

“Feral” (Directors Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden, USA/Non-dialogue). Synopsis: A wild boy who has grown up in the woods is found by a hunter and returned to civilization.

Told without dialogue, the short has great visuals in terms of the exaggerated characters and perspective of the camera. In addition, the use of light and shadow is also well done. The familiar story would have been served better with a more surprising outcome.

“Get a Horse!” (Directors: Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim, USA/English). Synopsis: Mickey Mouse and his friends are enjoying a wagon ride until Peg-Leg Pete shows up with plans to ruin their day.

The short is filled with an enormous amount imagination as it plays with the styles of past and present cartoons and the changing perspectives of the characters. Seemed like an unusual amount of violence for a Disney cartoon, making it seems more like what’s expected from Tex Avery or Looney Tunes, but very amusing. The audio was a bit inconsistent as it was noticeably taken from different sources with varying degrees of quality.

“Mr. Hublot” (Directors: Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, Luxembourg/France/Non-dialogue). Synopsis: The eccentric, isolated Mr. Hublot finds his carefully ordered world disrupted by the arrival of Robot Pet.

The fascinating mechanical world brought to life is so intricate repeat viewings are required to take it all in. The OCD-suffering Mr. Hublot finds life change drastically when he brings a robot pet into the house and the creature starts to grow, though how that’s possible isn’t clarified. The story offers a good twist in the plot. The song during the montage should have been cut.

“Possessions” (Director: Shuhei Morita, Japan/Non-dialogue). Synopsis: A man seeking shelter from a storm in a dilapidated shrine encounters a series of household objects inhabited by goblin spirits.

One evening, a man must deal with creatures that test his tinkering abilities, but by the end, it’s a story we’ve seen often. The colorful artwork on display is impressive as is the imagination that created some of the scenes.

“Room on the Broom” (Directors: Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, voices by Simon Pegg, Gillian Anderson, Rob Brydon in UK/English). Synopsis: A genial witch and her cat are joined on their broom by several friends as they set off on an adventure.

Based on the award-winning British children’s book of the same name, a rhyming narrator tells the story of a group of adorable characters (voiced by an all-star cast) that learn to work together. The frog who doesn’t like getting dirty is the most memorable. The computer-generated characters are well defined and exhibit very fine details. It would be very good to see their further adventures.

For fans of animation, the five Animated Short Film nominees are well worth seeking out. I expect to see more work by all the directors in the near future because they all demonstrate great talent and creativity.

Gordon S. Miller

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of this site. "I'm making this up as I go" - Indiana Jones

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