Thursday, January 10, 2013

Best Animated Short 2012 - NOMINEES

Yes, as I mentioned in my post yesterday, the Oscar nominations were announced today, and that means a new set of nominees that I'll have to write about. The nominees are:

Adam and Dog

Fresh Guacamole

Head Over Heels

Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare


I've only seen three of those five. Full review will come once I watch Adam and Dog and Head Over Heels.

A few thoughts. I had made a prediction of the final five, and I only got 2/5. Then again these categories have always been tough to predict. The one choice I was kind of surprise about was Fresh Guacamole over The Eagleman Stag. If you remember my post from when the shortlist was released (you probably don't), I ranked the five shortlisted films I had seen by quality, and I put The Eagleman Stag second and Fresh Guacamole fifth. It's not I didn't like Fresh Guacamole, I ranked it third on my rankings by preference. It had great technique, but was pretty lacking in substance. Having tracked the category from shortlist to nomination, it seems as though the Academy had been nominating films with both style and substance, and I thought that it would bode well for The Eagleman Stag, which had great stop motion animation and a fairly deep story.

However, the vote is conducted in a way where voters giving a score to a film. It's entirely possible that the exciting and funny Fresh Guacamole resonated with voters much more than the dense and depressing The Eagleman Stag. It is worthy to note that at only 1 minute 46 seconds, Fresh Guacamole may as well be the shortest nominee in this category.*

*The video of The Big Story on YouTube is only 1 minute 38 seconds, but it lacks the credits sequence, which I suspect will push the length over 1 minute 46 seconds.

As for the other two nominees I missed, I predicted Tram over Head Over Heels and Dripped over The Longest Daycare. As one user of the Film Experience noted, Tram won the Annecy Crystal at the Animation Film Festival, and films that do and also qualify for the Oscars are generally nominated in recent years.Plus Michaela Pavlatova is a well-respected director who also made the excellent Oscar nominated Reci Reci Reci, so I figured it would get a nod over the student film Head Over Heels, as good as the latter may seem. I had wrestled over the fifth spot, going between Combustible and Dripped. I didn't think the Oscar would spring for the Simpsons, since they snubbed The Simpsons Movie in 2007, but apparently I was wrong.

As for the final Best Animated Short race, of the three films I've seen Paperman is without a doubt the best. It successfully melds CG animation with a traditional 2D look, and is very sweet and heart-warming, full of humor and tenderness. Plus it has reached a large audience, having played before Wreck-It Ralph. However, I have a suspicion the Academy will overlook it possibly for that same reason. The last time they gave an Oscar to a major studio film was for The Chubb-Chubbs in 2002, a full ten years ago. As for which one might win, the two I haven't seen are obviously major wild cards. Adam and Dog certainly has a major shot.

Some thoughts on the rest of the race

This is the first year that I actually went to the theaters to watch Best Picture contenders. As I said in my post yesterday I saw Argo, Lincoln, Silver Linings Playbook, Life of Pi, Django Unchained, Zero Dark Thirty, and Les Miserables. As expected, all seven got nominated for Best Picture. Unfortunately, so was Amour and Beasts of the Southern Wild, so my efforts to watch all of the Best Picture nominees before nominations were announced ended in utter and complete failure.

Most of the pundits seem to agree that the race is generally down to Argo, Les Miserables, Lincoln, and Zero Dark Thirty. Lincoln is at the top of the heap, having garnered 12 nominations. However, the other three contenders got fewer than eight nominees, and all three missed on the highly influential Best Director category. The leading films were Lincoln, Life of Pi (11 nominations, including one for 李安 - yey) and surprisingly enough Silver Linings Playbook, with 8 nominations. Of course, half of the nominations were in the acting categories (including one in every individual category), but that means that the film had a large following among the actors, which as most pundits note constitute a large part of the voting body. That means it is not a film to be overlooked.

Another surprise: The Intouchables being left out of the Best Foreign Film race. That charming film was a massive international hit, and is currently in the top 100 on IMDb. Plus it was distributed by The Weinstein Company, whose campaigning techniques led The King's Speech and The Artist to Best Picture wins the past two years.  I thought they could have worked their magic in the Best Foreign Film category as well and lead The Intouchables to a surprise win over Amour. However, they couldn't even get the film a nomination.

Also, Seth Mcfarlane, who hosted the Oscar announcement press conference with Emma Stone and will be the Oscar host come February, was nominated for Best Original Song in Ted. I'm not sure how to look it up especially since the Academy went with roving hosts in the 1960s and 1970s, but I wonder when the last time the Oscar host was also up for an Oscar.

Finally, the 2012 review may very well be the last review I write for over a month. I had failed a major exam, which means I have to go back and retake it on February 15. I kind of need this to graduate in four months, so I'll have to actually do a lot more preparation for the test. And that means no time to worry on writing reviews. Yes, that means I'll have to extend my hiatus. And I won't have any other entries to take up the time. I guess I can move the rest of the writeups to once every week...

Anyways, here's Fresh Guacamole, the only nominee that's readily available online that's wasn't smuggled from a movie theater.


  1. I'm having the same problem here. Can't seem to find Adam and Dog or Head over Heels anywhere. Same with documentary and live action shorts. Hopefully with the nominees announced now they'll pop up shortly. Could you let me know if you find them and I shall do the same. Good luck!

    1. Will do.

      I guess I should post Fresh Guacamole, the only nominee that's readily available online that's not smuggled out of a movie theater.

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