As always, the only Academy Award that matters is Short Subject Animation. Especially since Pixar has a stranglehold on the Feature Animation category.
Sadly, this year the internet does not have all the nominees available for viewing. Still, you can catch most of them here:
The nominees for Best Short Subject Animation are, in reverse order of importance:
The Gruffalo. A BBC-produced short based on a children’s book. Only trailers of it are online so screw it, I hope it loses. The animation looks nice.
Madagascar, a Journey Diary. An animated travelogue through the sights and sounds of Madagascar. The animation is interesting, but its lack of story made it hard to keep my attention, even for 11 minutes. Nothing about this short made me want to go to Madagascar. Or even sit through it a second time.
Let’s Pollute. French satire of those old educational films. I might have enjoyed this if I understood French. As it is, the animation is uninspired (yeah, I know that’s the point but I expect my award-winning animation to have interesting animation) and I get the feeling it’s trying to teach me something and I hate ‘toons that do that.
Day and Night. Probably the only one of these shorts most people have seen, thanks to it being the lead-off to “Toy Story 3.” I like this a lot, it’s one of the best of the Pixar shorts. Smart and inventive.
The Lost Thing. Australian work features another children’s story brought to animated life. This is a sweet, kinda melancholy fable about a young man who finds an unusual half-metal, half-monster thing on the beach and tries to figure out what to do with it. Nicely narrated by Tim Minchin and directed by Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann, “The Lost Thing” is touching and surreal with nice animation.
And the Academy Award goes to…
I would be fine with either “Day & Night” or “The Lost Thing” winning, but I’ll be rooting for “The Lost Thing.” Pixar has enough trophies and “Thing” has more emotional resonance.