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Film Feature: Ranking the ‘2013 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts’

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CHICAGO – Want a leg-up in your Oscar pool? The five short films nominated for the Academy Award for “Best Animated Short” are now playing at the Landmark Century Theatre in a special presentation with three other shorts (the non-nominated “Abiogenesis,” “Dripped,” and “The Gruffalo’s Child”). The program runs 88 minutes and we have mini-reviews of all five below, ranked in the order we’d like to see them win the Oscar.

Photo credit: Shorts International


What a delightful piece of filmmaking. This short, which played before “Wreck-It Ralph” was superior to its acclaimed companion film. As much as it pains me to put a Disney film at the top of a category that I wish was led solely by independent productions, nothing tops “Paperman” this year. It’s a lovely piece about a NYC man who has a chance encounter with a woman while waiting for a train. After she kisses a piece of paper (and her red lipstick is the only mark on it), the world conspires to get the two back together. The only word is lovely.

The Longest Daycare
The Longest Daycare
Photo credit: Shorts International

“Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”“

Where Disney bundled “Paperman” with “Ralph,” Fox took the release of “Ice Age 4” to debut this great short from the world of “The Simpsons.” I’ve always been a huge fan of the silent Maggie Simpson and she makes a fantastic subject for a silent short film like this one. And the fact is that this short is more clever than 90% of episodes of “The Simpsons” in their entirety over the last few years. It reminds me of why I loved “The Simpsons” in the first place.

Adam and Dog
Adam and Dog
Photo credit: Shorts International

“Adam and Dog”

This tale of first man’s best friend features some lovely 2-D animation but goes on a bit too long. However, I liked the focus on nature with some gorgeous imagery of the natural world and some excellent sound design. Also, being a dog guy, I love the idea that man’s relationship with his canine best friend goes back before Eve. I only wish it was half as long.

Head Over Heels
Head Over Heels
Photo credit: Shorts International

“Head Over Heels”

A visual trick in which an older gentleman lives on the floor while his wife “lives” on the ceiling. He’s watching TV on the floor, she’s vaccuming from above him. It’s conceptually clever but that’s it. It’s not really used for any form of storytelling and wears out its welcome even at a brief running time.

Fresh Guacamole
Fresh Guacamole
Photo credit: Shorts International

“Fresh Guacamole”

My least favorite short by some stretch is less than two minutes so that’s the good news. It will go by quickly. Go get some popcorn. It’s not that this sound experiment in which the audio of making guacamole is laid over stop-motion footage of different materials (a poker chip instead of a tortilla one for example) is all that horrible it’s just so slight that one wonders how it got nominated. Fun, sure, but in no way memorable. You’ll walk away from this program laughing about “Daycare” and fondly remembering “Paperman” more than wanting some guacamole.

HollywoodChicago.com content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous54's picture

Head over heals review

Now that I have seen Head Over Heals I totally want to see the others. Especially since I totally disagree with your “not really used for any form of storytelling” about Head Over Heals, makes me wonder if you didn’t go out for popcorn during the showing. I will give you the benefit of the doubt as I wonder if subtlety is just lost on you. Hopefully I can find a theatre showing all of the shorts.

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