Reviewing the Oscar nominated animated shorts

This is the first year I've made an effort to see as many Oscar nominated films as possible, and I'm lucky to live so close to a theater that's playing this year's Oscar nominated short films. I've always enjoyed the shorts that come before certain animated films, but this is the first time I've seen all of the nominees for either of the short film categories.

Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare": This is the one that most people are going to have at least some interest in, and it's a great piece of storytelling from the Simpsons team. The film is a five-minute narrative about Maggie and her unibrowed arch-nemesis, Baby Gerald, and Maggie finds herself fighting for good at the Ayn Rand School for Tots.

The film is nicely animated, using The Simpsons Movie type animation but with more diverse style. The pacing and storytelling are fun, and the movie includes the same kinds of social commentary as The Simpsons TV show.

Adam and DogAdam and Dog: At fifteen minutes, this is the longest film of the group, and it's also my favorite. It follows a very playful dog through a jungle until he meets a (naked) man walking through a field. Adam meets Eve and disappears for a while, and soon all of their lives are changing.

What great artwork. The dog was my favorite thing out of any of these movies, and the movie mixes beautiful animated scenes with great backdrops of the habitat. Not that I know anything about the Oscar process for shorts, but this would be my pick. Great movie. That dog.

Fresh Guacamole: You can watch Fresh Guacamole above. This one had everyone in the theater (all eight of us) laughing. I love the visuals and creativity. My favorite part is probably the dicing of the baseball.

Head Over Heels: One of the previews before the shorts was for Upside Down, which is a movie in which two worlds exist on top of each, with opposite gravity. That one sort of reminds me of In Time, but without Justin Timberlake. This movie uses the same concept (opposite gravity) but pulls the scale down. Instead of a whole world, we see only a house, with an older couple that has grown apart.

This is a touching movie, and while the characters struggle early on, you can tell things are going to work out somehow. Very nice claymation and creative setting to tell a story about a drifting couple.

Paperman: This one was included before Wreck-It Ralph, which I saw with my nephew over the holidays. (We also watched Rise of the Guardians. My goodness. I just. And that was made by the guys who won the Oscar for Best Animated Short last year.)

Anywho, this is probably the most-watched of all of the shorts, and even though I was watching it for the second time, the ending was still very nice. The mostly grayscale animation is lovely, and the storytelling is very sweet.

If you want to check these movies out in theaters, head here to find locations. They also just became available On Demand and on iTunes.

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