Do you have a short attention span and want to cross some of the Oscar nominees off your list before the big show next weekend? I know I am not going to see all the best picture nominees, and frankly some of the titles are not of interest to me this year, but last night viewed a whole category of pictures
in one sitting.
The Lagoon theater in Minneapolis is currently showing all the nominated live action and animated short films. Stephanie Curtis from the MPR Cube Critics recommended the animated films over the live action and they were Jesse’s top pick for our night out at the movies. I concurred with the choice, of course, and left the theater having loved every minute of it.
First off, here is the full list of the nominees:
1. Dimanche (Sunday) from Canada
2. The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore (USA)
3. La Luna (USA)
4. A Morning Stroll (UK)
5. Wild Life (Canada)
Of those, my top choice is A Morning Stroll about a chicken out and about on a stroll in three different eras of time and the experiences that materialize as a result. A Morning Stroll presented the most humor of the nominated films shown at the Lagoon, but also mixed in just enough subtlety to counter the laughs.
It was tough to pick a second favorite short film, but I’ve narrowed it down to Dimanche for its simplicity and unique animation technique. It’s probable that The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore will take the cake at The Oscars. It actually wasn’t my favorite but the imagery was, well, fantastic and fits the bill of what an animated film should do: take you away to a far away place where all that matters is your imagination.
Overall, all of the films did that through use of little dialogue to convey the story and plot. I think all of the films had an underlying meaning, but you don’t have to go there if you don’t want to. I suggest just taking in the art on the screen in front of you and not thinking too much about the life lessons that are likely there. I imagine the filmmakers did develop their projects from experiences in their own lives (think,
“art imitates life”) but it’s nice to be once removed from that and just appreciate what led to their brilliance and creativity from afar.
I definitely recommend checking out these five nominees at home, but there is an added bonus if you have a chance to see the series in the theater. In addition to the five top dogs, the screening included several other animated projects with the line-up that could snag a nomination if the Academy stretched the number allowed in the category. If the Best Picture subset can rise to 10, why can’t their friends on the animated side join in with that level of competition?
As I mentally prepare to craft my full Oscar predictions by next week, I am glad to be able to make an educated guess about which cartoon creation should win.
Of course, there is always the question of which picture SHOULD win, and which one will. I personally think A Morning Stroll should take the prize, but there is no doubt The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore will.
(Similarly, think The Descendants vs. The Artist.)