Thursday, November 5, 2015

Best Animated Short 2015 - The Longlist

Well, after several months of ignoring this blog, things have come to the point where I can no longer continue doing so. Yes, the Best Animated Short race for 2015 has begun. November is around the time when the Academy announces the shortlist of ten films that will be up for the nomination, but when checking Cartoon Brew I noticed that they had announced the longlist of all the films that qualify...a week ago. Yes, that means I am already a week behind.

So rather than wait for the shortlist, let's take a look at the 60 films that qualified, similar to what we did three years ago, with embeds to the film or  the trailer if possible. I would have more to say, but as somebody that doesn't go to film festivals there's really not much I can do. Here's a take from somebody that presumably has actually seen most of these films.

9:30 AM
Interesting looking film about breakfast, but what's up with the character design?
The Agony and the Ecstasy
Apparently this is an animated music video for a song by the musician Romans, but apparently they qualified it for the Oscar? If this is indeed the case here's the full, um, film. I do wish more animated music videos would take this extra step. As for the film, it's a silhouette film about the ravages of dementia on a relationship. Beautiful visuals and story, but I couldn't really care less about the song.

Alex & Sylvia
The only thing I can find is this. Even though it's credited as The Golden Ear I assume this is the film, made for European Union at Expo Milano. It's animated, and it's from this year.

Amelia & Duarte
Full film available. An interesting look at the devastating effects of a breakup with marvelous pixilation.

The Apple Tree
Can't really gather much from this trailer, but the animation is pretty good for being drawn with a mouse.

Aria for a Cow
Trailer doesn't show much, but looks to be a comic song type of film.

Au Fil de l'Eau (On Flying Water)
It's a film by the Oscar nominated director of Destino , but there's no trailer available. I do love me some water though

La Ballata dei Senzatetto (The Ballad of the Homeless)
Not sure what to make of this. It looks tender and sad, but how much of it is emotional manipulation?

Bear Story
Heard some good things about this, but it looks strange. Beautiful animation though.

The Beautiful Forest
Try as I might, I can't find anything on this film. Thankfully this is the only one that's missing any information whatsoever.

Between Times
Here's the trailer. I got nothing.

Bucko the Bull
Some cheap looking animation, but maybe the story makes up for it.

Newest film from NFB. Can they end their 9-year curse with a film about living cars that reminds me of What on Earth?

Castillo y el Armado
Interesting animation style, but the main character, a fisherman, looks unlikeable

Chiaroscuro is an art term indicating the contrast between light and darkness. This film explores the concept by showing the interplay between an orb of light and an orb of darkness. The full film is available, which is nice. The animation is beautiful, but the film itself is a bit abstract.

Dame mit Hund (Walk the Dog)
Very minimalist

Dinner for Few
Available On Demand for Vimeo if you want to spend money, but here's the trailer. It kind of has an Animal House feel.

This film seems to have an interesting technique that seems to switch between live action and computer animation, but the story seems strange.

Full Film


The Final Passage
No trailer, but this is apparently a 28-minute trip through the Chauvet Pont d'Arc cave in France

Fink Forest Friends: The Invisible Honk
The trailer is available on Facebook. I'm not smart enough to know how to embed a video from Facebook.

German Shepherd
No, it's not about a dog like I initially thought it was. Instead it's about a guy talking about the effects of his upbringing to a Holocaust survivor set to animation. Would the Academy still go gaga over the Holocaust?

Grace Under Water
No trailer, but this is apparently a stop motion picture about adventures in a pool filmed in full 3D.

If I Was God
The newest film by Cordell Barker, Oscar nominated director of films such as The Cat Came Back and Strange Invaders, so you know it's going to be weird

Juan y la Nube (Juan and the Cloud)
Stop motion animation of some sort. Interesting use of colors.

Limbo Limbo Travel
Looks like one of the most strangest movies I've seen, something along the line of Michaela Pavlatova, the Oscar nominated director of Reci Reci Reci... and Tram.

And old man carrying a large pile of TVs in a boat. The animation looks lovely, but the story makes it seem like something very esoteric. That seems to be a common theme this year.

The Loneliest Stoplight
The latest film from Bill Plympton, Oscar nominated director of Your Face and Guard Dog. A teaser is available on Entertainment Weekly, but I don't know enough HTML to make sure it gets embedded right.

The Looking Planet
A science fiction film about the figures that created our world. Beautiful animation, but the character design is quite unappealing, kind of like More, but that made up for it with a beautiful story.

Loop Ring Chop Drink
No idea what the title means, but this bizarre film telling the story of four desperate and unhappy people and how their lives intersect is quite fascinating and features some interesting art design.
Full film

Love in the Time of March Madness
This autobiographical film features a former Harvard basketball player turned filmmaker and the life lessons she learned playing the sport. Should be interesting.

The Master
This won the Jury Award at Annecy so it should be something to keep an eye on, especially since it's about a monkey and a dog wreaking havoc.

Messages dans l'Air (Air Mail)
Supposedly it's available on Swiss Films but it seems to be behind a paywall so we'll see. Meanwhile have a trailer, where you can feast your eyes on the impossibly thin waist of the heroine.

My Home
Another film about life as the child of a Holocaust survivor, this time it's an Israeli/German co-production. We'll see how strong that influence will take this. This one does have much more impressive animation.

An Object at Rest
Full film available. It's a cute little film about a mountain that becomes a rock and its futile attempt to get some rest, but the human progress keeps getting in the way. It's nice to have a film that's just plain enjoyable among all of the metaphorical flicks.

Oscar Wilde's The Nightingale and the Rose
It's a film based on a classic short story by Oscar Wilde, but it feels a lot like an acid trip. Featuring the voice work of some pretty big names like Geoffrey Rush (the narrator for the Oscar winning Harvie Krumpet), Mia Wasikowska, and David Wenham.

A film from the Oscar nominated A Single Life. Can they make it two nominations in a row? This one sure seems more substantial.

Pineapple Calamari
A film from the National Film and Television School, alma mater for many great animators. This film looks really strange, although it is said to be very funny.

The Pride of Strathmoor
Full film.

This is the latest film from Richard Williams, Oscar winner for A Christmas Carol and Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Unfortunately the trailer is mostly just him talking about the film.

Sanjay's Super Team
The latest short film from Pixar will be playing before The Good Dinosaur and will be attempting to be the studio's first win in this category since For the Birds in 2001, but Lava didn't even get on the shortlist last year. Can the film about the clash between Indian and modern pop culture reverse the fortune?

Le Sens du Toucher (The Sense of Touch)
Not sure what this film is about. The 2D animation is gorgeous, but the song in the background is kind of annoying.

Looks like symbolic gobbledygook.

Another winner of the Student Academy Award and another film that's been predicted to be a strong contender. The animation is marvelous but not so sure about the story.

One of the co-directors is Shir Wen Sun. She's from Malaysia but her name sure sounds Chinese. She'd be the first winner of Chinese descent since Shaun Tan in The Lost Thing. This film is about a drive-in theater, another lost thing.

Still Born
An animated documentary about giving birth to a baby with a severe birth defect. Interesting mix of animation with live action footage.

The Story of Percival Pilts
An interesting looking fable about a man who wants to live his entire life on stilts.

According to what I can find, this is the first animated short film from Iran to be entered in the Oscar race. Whether or not it's the first is something different, but it's nice to have a multi-cultural competition for the Oscar.

Submarine Sandwich
Full film available. Here is another film by UVA alumni and Oscar nominee PES, whose previous film Fresh Guacamole helped him set a record for shortest film to be nominated for an Oscar. This film has pretty much the same concept, using common household objects to make food. It's got that same gorgeous pixilation and jump cuts, although doesn't feel quite as fresh. Still, is it enough to help him hit gold for a second time?

Taking Flight
The latest film from Brandon Oldenburg and Moonbot Studios, the folks behind the Oscar winning The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. This one features nice animation as you'd expect from the studio with what seems to be a twist at the end of the trailer.

Taking the Plunge
A film about a man that has to take the plunge in more ways than one. Looks interesting.

Tempête sur anorak (Storm Hits Jacket)
Looks like a very strange film, but maybe it'll be funny.

The trailer tells us almost nothing. It's got appealing character design, but the animation looks a bit stilted.

Voodoo Love Story
The story seems interesting, but the animation looks a bit simple, not that that's prevented any film from being good.

Waves '98
This won the Short Film Palm d'Or. I don't think animated films win it very often. If I'm not mistaken the last to do so may have been When the Day Breaks...but it's kind of hard to tell.

We Can't Live Without Cosmos
This film by the Oscar nominated director of Lavatory Lovestory was one of the highly touted films from last year, but apparently it ended up not qualifying until this year. Still from what has been said about it, it could be a strong contender.

World of Tomorrow
The newest film from animator Don Hertzfeldt, Oscar nominated for Rejected. His films get critical praise, but other than Rejected his work has largely been ignored by the Academy. Can this be different? It's available via Vimeo on Demand, but here's the trailer.

It's a bizarre looking stop motion animated film from Mexico.

The film is available online somewhere, but the access is restricted. Meanwhile, have a trailer that's more text than images and includes a typo.

So 60 winner. Ten will move on to the shortlist soon, of which five are guaranteed to be nominated. Which five will they be? Your guess is as good as mine. We should be in for an exciting race, though.


  1. Thanks a lot! But you missed "World of Tomorrow" (and also two others, if I counted right).

    1. Huh. That's weird. Not sure how I missed out on these films