This Year’s Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

Short films can be good training for future filmmakers, or they can be an artform in themselves. Each year the Academy awards Oscars to three short films: Best Animated Short, Best Live Action Short, and Best Documentary Short. The nominees for these categories come from around the world and represent excellence, just as all the other films nominated for Oscars do. Each year, prior to the awards, there are programs of the short films that play in select theaters around the country. To see where you can catch one or more of these programs, check

Here is a look at the five animated shorts that have been nominated, and my quick take on them.

Affairs of the Art. (16 minutes, UK/Canada). This is a look at a middle-aged woman who is trying to come to terms with a changing body and her desire to do art.  This is one of a series of shorts that director Joanna Quinn has done focusing on the central character of Beryl. It?s a humorous look at the obsessions that can drive our lives in many ways. The artwork is very well done and it makes for an entertaining look at mid-life crisis.

Bestia. (17 minutes, Chile). Directed by Hugo Covarrubias, this is a dark and at times twisted look at the life of a secret police agent during the time of Chile?s military dictatorship. It is interesting to use what seems like a China doll as the main character?the contrast between the outer appearance and the actions that she takes part in. The political message speaks to the dangers of authoritarian rule and the self-destruction that it can bring.

Boxballet. (16 minutes, Russia). This is a sweet romance, directed by Anton Dyakov, of two very different people: a huge, hulking boxer and a thin young ballerina. Is it an example of opposites attracting, or is it the story of wounded souls who can heal each other? This short also speaks to the #metoo issues that can sometimes be found in the arts. It?s a pleasant film that reminds us of the importance of love in our lives.

Robin Robin (31 minutes, UK). The film is directed by Dan Ojari and Mikey Please. When an egg falls from its nest just before it?s hatched, the young bird is adopted by a mouse family. When grown, the bird is something of a hindrance when on raids into nearby houses. When she sets out to prove herself, she encounters a curmudgeonly magpie who dreams of having a star from a Christmas tree, and a cat who is set on eating Robin. This is a story of finding out who we really are and what it means to be family. Pleasant enough, but perhaps a tad long. Robin Robin is available to watch on Netflix.

The Windshield Wiper. (15 minutes, Spain). Directed by Alberto Mielgo, this film is built around the question, ?What is Love?? What follows is a collection of vignettes which the filmmaker has seen in various places around the world. They vary from humorous (two people in a grocery store so intent on their dating apps that they don?t notice the person next to them) to the tragic (a young girl leaping off a building). This is a very broad and important question, and the various scenes we see all speak to it from a wide range of perspectives.

Of course, all of these are excellent films (hence their Oscar nominations). My favorites among them are Boxballet for its simple love story, and The Windshield Wiper for its complex look at love.

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