Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films 2010
“Day & Night” — The shorts that precede Pixar features are a place for the animation behemoth to showcase new talent. Most are clever and fun, but I found “Day & Night” to be a weak example. Night and Day are personified as creatures whose bodies are windows to the world at different times. It’s visually inventive but seems designed more for the animators’ pleasure than the audience’s.
“The Gruffalo” — A charming computer animated tale about a little mouse who travels through the woods on the way to an acorn tree and bluffs his way past three predators — a fox, owl and snake — with the story of a gruesome beast. Based on the children’s book, “The Gruffalo” is rendered beautifully and in rhyme.
“Let’s Pollute” — A cheeky bit of reverse psychology encouraging people to buy twice as much as they need, never recycle and throw everything away after a single use — all to an accompanying narration in the style of a mid-century newsreel announcer, where every sentence is an exclamation. Despite the tongue-in-cheek humor, it still comes off a bit preachy.
“The Lost Thing” — This touching and quirky Australian short is about the things that just don’t fit. A boy finds a strange red contraption on the beach. It sprouts octopus arms and legs and befriends him but doesn’t seem to have much purpose in a cold, sterile world of rules and expectations. The imagination and animation, especially in the finale, are dazzling.
“Madagascar, a Journey Diary” — A visually gorgeous rendering of exactly what the title says. The filmmakers employ a variety of animation styles, including stop-motion, but the dominant method resembles brightl hued watercolor painting — all set to a jaunty, infectious musical score employing native songs. It’s like an 11-minute vacation.