Get SF Weekly Newsletters
Pin It

Oscar Nominated Shorts: Animation 

Wednesday, Jan 30 2013

Of the eight films included in this year's Oscar program, only five are nominated for Best Animated Short Film; the other three were presumably added to bump the program up to feature length. But they're high-quality filler, and no collection of shorts is ever entirely cohesive. If it were, it would be a feature film.

Highlights of the nominated shorts include the semi-obligatory Disney offering Paperman, a standard boy-stalks-big-eyed-girl story redeemed by a mix of traditional and computer animation in glorious black and white, and especially its urban setting, reminiscent of the art deco Metropolis from Max Fleischer's 1930s Superman cartoons. The narrative is predictable, but Paperman is a feast for fans of architecture porn.

If the romantic fantasy of Paperman feels as though it could be set in a new corner of the The Incredibles's city, then the non-Disney stop-motion Head Over Heels is a cubist take on Up. Indeed, Head Over Heels achieves the seemingly impossible feat of doing something new with the concept of "old people in a floating house." It also works as a thematic sequel to Paperman, catching up with a once-happy couple decades after the thrill is gone, when gravity is literally pulling them in opposite directions. The short has a strong sense of melancholy and heartbreak, and certain aerial shots manage a dizzying sense of scale.

The real discovery of the batch may be Fresh Guacamole, a short-short which expertly replicates the style of Czech surrealist Jan Švankmajer: the use of real-life objects in stop-motion, Foley sounds cranked up to 11, and an obsession with eating inedible things. Fresh Guacamole never quite reaches the level of existential horror found in Švankmajer's work, but throughout its two-minute running time, there's still that giddy fear that things are not right, and things might get far less right at any moment.

About The Author

Sherilyn Connelly


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed
  1. Most Popular


  • clipping at Brava Theater Sept. 11
    Sub Pop recording artists 'clipping.' brought their brand of noise-driven experimental hip hop to the closing night of 2016's San Francisco Electronic Music Fest this past Sunday. The packed Brava Theater hosted an initially seated crowd that ended the night jumping and dancing against the front of the stage. The trio performed a set focused on their recently released Sci-Fi Horror concept album, 'Splendor & Misery', then delved into their dancier and more aggressive back catalogue, and recent single 'Wriggle'. Opening performances included local experimental electronic duo 'Tujurikkuja' and computer music artist 'Madalyn Merkey.'"