Animation (Short Subject) Nominees

The Animated shorts category is always a hard one for me to judge. Will the Academy members go with the best, most amazing animation, or will it be about telling a great story? Since I don’t really know how hard it is to create these films (I’m assuming it ain’t easy), I’m going with the power of story to keep my attention. Without doubt all the films’ nominees this year are fabulous animators.  Since one of them is from Pixar, that is a given. But are the stories worthy of the animation? Or are these animators using their films as calling cards, looking for a step up to features?  I don’t have a clue, but here are my takes on the nominees for the 2017 Oscar.

 

 

 

BLIND VAYSHA
This was my favorite of the bunch. The beautiful animation looks like wood block printing, and the story is wonderfully inventive. It feels like a folktale, though it isn’t. Vaysha is a girl born with one green eye and one brown. One eye sees the past, and one, the future, but because she cannot see the present, she is blind. Her conundrum is that she is so saddened by the past and afraid of the future that she can’t fathom the present. It’s a beautifully rendered allegory of the difficulty of living in the present.


BORROWED TIME

This is a tale of guilt. A sheriff thinks back on the sad mistake that has haunted him since he was a boy. It’s about family, but it isn’t a kids film. In fact, this short feels like the beginning scene of a feature, and maybe that’s the point. It’s actually a teaser for the animators’ (both formerly of Pixar) next gig. I liked it, but felt like it was just getting started.

PEAR CIDER AND CIGARETTES
This is a tale of friendship and the lengths we go to take care of our hard-living pals. In it Robert is the sane, boring one who has watched his friend Techno live a hardcore, though exciting life. But when Techno needs a liver transplant and he’s in China, can Robert keep him sober long enough to save his life? The animation is very graphic novel-esque and pretty cool. But the story gets kinda boring because it takes so long to tell. It clocks in at 35 minutes, and I might have liked it a lot more if it were a LOT shorter.

PEARL
This one is about a daughter’s upbringing in the back seat of a hatchback, on the road with her free-wheeling, musician wannabe dad. Mostly it is an ode to the love between a father and child and what parents pass on. It’s sweet and pretty simple.

PIPER
This one is simply great animation of some sandpipers. A cute little baby sandpiper has to learn to forage for herself and discovers a brilliant method on all her own. It’s from Pixar. ‘Nuff said. (You may have already see it. It was shown in theaters just before Finding Dory.)

1 Comments

  1. Hannah Buchdahl, February 13, 2017:

    Mainstream Chick is with Arty Chick on this one! The animation shorts are nearly impossible to judge because it’s like comparing apples and oranges… and pears! The animation styles are all visually interesting, but completely different. Storywise, PEARL is kinda sweet; BORROWED TIME is kinda sad; BLIND VAYSHA is kinda Grimm-Fairytale weird; PEAR CIDER & CIGARETTES is long and edgy (and R-rated); and PIPER is gorgeous, but relatively boring. So if I had to pick, I’d go with PIPER for most polished animation, PEARL for most heart-warming story, and maybe PEAR&CIDER for most ambitious. In other words, I have no clue what will or should win.

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