For fanatical film fans who attempt to see every Academy Award-nominated picture before the Oscar telecast, the fine folks at Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures have made the task easier by presenting the animated and live action shorts together in select parts of the country going on the fifth consecutive year.
The nominees for Best Short Film (Animated) are:
"French Roast" – Fabrice O. Joubert (France, 8 min)
Winner of Best in Show at Siggraph 2009, this very charming CG short features a businessman in a café. He ignores a homeless man begging for change only to later find he is without his wallet. This causes him to spend the rest of the day ordering coffee and increasing his bill as he looks for a way out. Most impressive is the creation of the homeless man with his dirty, grizzled hair and beard and the cloud of flies that follow him.
"Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty" – Nicky Phelan (Ireland, 6 min)
An amusing short but rather one-note as Granny (Kathleen O'Rourke) works through some of her issues as she regales her granddaughter with her version of the classic tale. Granny's world is CG while the fairy tale looks to be traditional animation.
"The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte)" – Javier Recio Gracia (Spain, 8 min)
Produced by Antonio Banderas, this humorous and imaginative CG short brings to mind Loony Tunes as the Grim Reaper and a doctor battle over the life of an elderly woman.
"Logorama" – Franςois Alaux, Hervé de Crécy, Ludovic Houplain (France, 16 min)
In a world of advertising logos, although considering how many are recognizable it might well be our world, this CG short is a brilliant satire about the pervasiveness of advertising set within what is arguably the best Hollywood blockbuster of the year. This is one to be watched multiple times to see all it has to offer.
"A Matter of Loaf and Death" – Nick Park (United Kingdom, 30 min)
Already a winner of an Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject, this Claymation film sees the return of Wallace and Gromit, one of the best comedy teams of the past few decades. It opens with the revelation that a serial killer is killing bakers. When that person gets close to Wallace, it's up to Gromit to save the day. As with all the films in the series it is filled with all manner of Rube Goldberg devices and plenty of laughs,
Having previously won three out of four Oscars when nominated and the only W&G short that lost, "A Grand Day Out" was up against another Park short, "Creature Comforts," "A Matter of Loaf and Death" should be a favorite to win and it would deserve the honor for all the hard work put it. However, with all the success Park has already attained, I will be rooting for the ingenious "Logorama."