Monday, March 01, 2010

Best Animated Short Nominees - 2009

I can't believe it's been almost a whole month since the Academy Award nominees were announced. The award ceremony is less than a week away! Last year at around this time, I wrote about the nominees for my favorite category - Best Animated Short. The delay last year was because it just took me that long to watch all five nominees. (Eventual winner La Maison en Petits Cubes was hard to watch because ROBOT is very active in removing copies of the film on YouTube, and I had to resort to buying the DVD online. I ordered it shortly after the nominees were announced, and it didn't arrive until the week before the Oscars. It was well worth it.) This year, the Academy announced the shortlist back in November, so I had an early start in watching the nominees. I eventually got to see all of the nominees only a year after the nominees were announced. However, I just didn't bother to write this review. One reason is because the category just isn't too exciting this year.

The major Oscar storyline this year is the race between box office champ Avatar and critics/guilds darling The Hurt Locker (with Inglourious Basterds hanging in the wings as a dark horse). The Best Animated Short race was pretty much over the moment the shortlist was announced back in November. And to be honest, this list of nominees is kind of disappointing. One thing about having the shortlist is that it reveals the films the Academy COULD have nominated but didn't, and frankly the list of snubs are more interesting than the list of nominees. For example, the Academy passed on Pixar's Partly Cloudy. I know that Pixar's shorts haven't been as good as their feature films (a fact evident in the fact only three of their films have won despite nine nominations), but I felt certain it would get a nomination. The Academy also passed on films by two prior nominees: Cordell Barker's Runaway and Tomek's Baginski's The Kinematograph.* Finally, the most unforgiveable snub was that of Australia's The Cat Piano, a fine film you can still see on their website (and I definitely encourage you to watch it), and my favorite of the films I've seen on the shortlist.

*Barker was previously nominated for The Cat Came Back (1988) and Strange Invaders (2001). Baginski was nominated for Katedra (2002).

Anyways, I digress. While the nominees are not ideal, I don't want to detract you from seeing them. So let's move on to the reviews.