A guide to watching Oscar-nominated animated shorts, from cheeky birds to macabre torture


This year’s Oscar-nominated animated shorts are a mixed bag — both in style and content. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, as it means there’s something for everyone, although very few of the five nominees are kid-friendly. Here’s a look at this year’s contenders.

“Robin-Robin” (Netflix)

Directed by Aardman Animations, the studio perhaps best known for its “Wallace and Gromit” shorts, this Christmas-themed stop-motion entry is an adorable tale of a robin’s egg falling from its nest. just before hatching. Robin (Bronte Carmichael) is adopted by a family of mice and as such learns to forage, not steal. When Robin goes out one night to look for food, she meets a magpie (Richard E. Grant), who collects things, not food, and together they try to drag the star to the top of the Christmas tree d ‘a human.

“Robin Robin” has wonderful musical numbers, and the vocal talents of Grant and Gillian Anderson, who plays a predatory cat, are fabulous. The same goes for the animation, which features plenty of cute moments, as well as creative sequences such as a Rube Goldberg-like episode involving a glass of wine, a game of Jenga, rolls of wrapping paper, and Moreover. “Robin Robin” is delightful, and it’s likely to charm Oscar voters, earning Aardman his fifth Oscar.

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“BoxBallet” (not yet available for streaming)

The short film depicts beauty and brutality as Olya, a ballerina and Evgeny, a boxer, engage in a kind of pas de deux. The images in this almost wordless short film are hand-drawn and beautiful. Olya is slender and graceful, with long legs that bend dramatically. Evgeny is tall and bruised, and his face, along with many other characters seen in this short, is rendered in vivid detail. A scene of a literally inflating body is fun.

The story, which is a variation of Beauty and the Beast, ultimately involves a love triangle as Olya is wooed by her ballet master, but it contains wonderful moments, such as when Olya’s performance segues into the Eugeny’s boxing match. “BoxBallet” could have been a contender in this category, however, the current political situation makes it difficult to vote for anything Russian.

“Art Affairs” (YouTube)

This short is also hand-drawn, but director Joanna Quinn’s style is not unlike Ralph Steadman’s drawing, and the subject matter – which includes home taxidermy for children – is just as garish. “Affairs of the Heart” features Beryl (Menna Trussler), a character from several of Quinn’s previous shorts, this time as a painting-obsessed 59-year-old wife. She paints her husband naked in all his glory and paints her own body blue for a self-portrait. As she works, she reflects on her childhood with her sister, Beverly (Quinn) – whose own obsessions include everything from catching, killing and burying insects to pickled beets and eels – as well as taxidermy. of Trigger and the visit with the deceased. Vladimir Lenin. Bev even takes up body sculpting (i.e. plastic surgery) while Beryl struggles to try on a push-up bra. “Affaires de l’Art” lets its characters live in a big way, but it is also nostalgic for regret. It’s a moody short that will charm or annoy viewers and voters alike.

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“The Windshield Wiper” (YouTube)

Arguably the best among the nominees, this deep meditation on “What is love?” by Alberto Mielgo is based on his experiences and travels. The film, which features keyframe-animated computer graphics and digitally printed backgrounds, is a series of vignettes from around the world about couples, desire and loneliness. It’s melancholic and heartbreaking, with images of a couple on a beach, or a kiss between a window cleaner and a man on the other side of the window expressing so much without dialogue. Two people standing next to each other in the supermarket connect on a dating app but are too distracted by their phones to notice their closeness. The visuals are also stunning, like when the petals of a bouquet of flowers a man is carrying dissolve in the rain.

“The Windshield Wiper” is a sophisticated short, and it’s bound to have its admirers, but alas, it’s unlikely to win the award.

“Bestia” (Vimeo)

It’s by far the hardest short, partly because it’s the most gruesome. This stop-motion Chilean entry has Íngrid (played by a porcelain figurine) torturing and abusing people and/with animals. This political film, directed and co-written by Hugo Covarrubias, is inspired by a real woman, Íngrid Olderöck, who was a torturer for the Chilean Intelligence Directorate (DINA) in 1975 and sexually abused people with dogs. She worked for the military dictatorship in Chile under Pinochet that followed the 1973 coup and the death of President Allende. “Bestia” is certainly well done and important. His nomination is justified, but his 16 minutes are truly alarming.

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