Heart & Humor: The 2010 Animated Oscar Race
1) Day & Night, Teddy Newton, director (Pixar Animation Studios)
Last year a Pixar film topped my predictions in both the animated features and shorts races and it does this year too. But unlike last year when Partly Cloudy failed to get a nod, this year I am confident that Day & Night will not be left behind. If there is any lock in this unpredictable category it's this one. I'm not the only one who thinks this is one of Pixar's best shorts.
2) The Gruffalo, Jakob Schuh and Max Lang, directors (Magic Light Pictures)
Having played on TV, this British CG short about a mouse that weaves a tall tale about a mythical beast is terrific. Charmingly animated and well told, the film has fans, which is rare in this category, because the films are rarely seen before hand.
3) Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary), Bastien Dubois, director (Sacrebleu Productions)
This film made the festival circuit in 2009, picking up prizes at Annecy and Ottawa. This travelogue of a trip to Madagascar fills the innovation quotient that usually exists in this category. The film magically combines hand paintings and CG into one seamless film.
4) The Lost Thing, Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann, directors (Passion Pictures Australia)
This CG adaptation of Shaun Tan's children's book won Best Short Film at Annecy. The beautifully animated film tells the tale of a boy who finds a bizarre-looking creature on the beach and tries to discover where it belongs. Heart is what this one has going for it.
5) Urs, Moritz Mayerhofer, director (Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg)
Speaking of heart, this is a story of a son who must carry his aging mother on a dangerous journey to find them a better home. Student films have been real competitors in this category lately. This one is gorgeous looking, combining remarkable 2D artwork with CG.
Every year it seems that a high profile short from a big filmmaker or studio is left out of the final race. In CG, Warner's recaptures some of the Looney Tunes magic, but will this film suffer the same fate as the Goofy short, How to Hook Up Your Home Theater, and be admired but not voted for because it doesn't feel fresh enough?
7) The Cow Who Wanted to Be a Hamburger, Bill Plympton, director (Bill Plympton Studio)
A Bill Plympton film is always in the running. This one takes his type of humor, but not his signature colored pencil style. It reminded me of how The Fan and the Flower was a great Bill Plympton short that didn't look like a Bill Plympton short. Fan didn't get a nomination.
8) Let’s Pollute, Geefwee Boedoe, story-design-animation (Geefwee Boedoe)
In a humorous way, the film runs down human's history with polluting the planet. In the style of a 1950s educational film, this one seems like we've seen it before. But the topical nature of the theme might make it the "important" film in the mix.