"2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films:
Release Date: Jan. 30, 2020
Running Time: 85 minutes
While the five films nominated for this year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film could not be more different, they share one meaningful commonality: each will move you to tears. Sit through ShortsTV’s 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animationpackage and you will alternate between tears of sorrow and tears of joys. The nominees--Daughter, Hair Love, Kitbull, Memorable, and Sister—earn their responses the honest and hard way. Each boasts efficient but compelling storytelling that ultimately provokes a strong emotional reaction for all the right reasons. Also, the animation on display alternates between the zippy and the intricate. This year’s Oscar frontrunner has to be directors Matthew Cherry, Everett Downing Jr., and Bruce W. Smith’s Hair Love, which shows the lengths to which a young African-American girl must go to style her hair. Hair Lovenot only offers a vital look at a uniquely black experience but attempts to correct the perception perpetuated by Hollywood that African-American fathers are often absence from their children’s lives. The use of social media in Hair Lovealso sets up a payoff that places the young girl’s endeavors in heartwarming context. LikeHair Love, which played before The Angry Birds Movie 2, Pixar’s Kitbullhas enjoyed more attention than the typical animated short thanks to being available to stream on Disney+. Directed by Rosana Sullivan, Kitbulldetails with empathy the relationship between a stray cat and an abused dog. Sullivan adroitly juggles the increasingly playful interactions between two natural-born frenemies with the severity of their situations. This is Pixar short filmmaking at its most powerful. Sisterdirector Siqi Song employs stop-motion animation to tell a deeply intimate story about one Chinese man’s memories of growing up with his younger sibling. But Song zigs when you think she is going to zag, ensuring that Sisterbecomes even more hauntingly poignant than expected. Czech director Daria Kashcheeva’s equally melancholy stop-motion animated Daughteralso is an exercise in recollection, with a woman looking back at her relationship with her emotionally distance father. Kashcheeva pulls no punches in chronicling the awkward interactions between daughter and father, putting into question whether the two can reconcile at the latter’s time of need. Director Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre’s Memorablecompletes the trio of stop-motion animated nominees that are driven by memories. Memorable focuses on an elderly artist whose world begins to crumble around him because of Alzheimer’s disease. His decline is evocatively presented by Collet and Le Corre as an impressionist self-portrait come to life. This package is rounded out by four non-nominees. One of the 10 shorts shortlisted for the Oscar, Hors Piste—directed by Léo Brunel, Loris Cavalier, Camille Jalabert, and Oscar Malet—is a fast and fun Pixar-like escapade that finds two mountain rescue workers unintentionally but hilariously endangering the life of an injured climber they are taking to hospital. Directed by the Illogic collective,Maestroruns barely two minutes but is a charming animal opera that will put music in your heart. Carol Freeman finds joy in tragedy with The Bird and the Whale, which is executed with the animation technique paint-on-glass. Freeman keeps us on the edge of our seat as a young whale, struggling to find its voice, risks all to save a shipwrecked caged songbird during a storm at sea. The final selection is director Rachel Johnson’s Henrietta Bulkowski, which features the voices of Chris Cooper and Anne Dowd. A woman living with kyphosis fights against all odds to become a pilot. Henrietta Bulkowskiis a celebration of the body we are born into and a profound plea to follow even the most impossible of dreams. That Henrietta Bulkowskiis not nominated for an Academy Award is an indication of the quality of those animated shorts that are competing for Oscar gold.
Aired: Jan. 29, 2020