Normally I like to watch the Oscar nominated films before the Academy Awards. But I'm busy, and there are 10 of them now, which makes everything much harder. A friend told me about a local theater is showing all 10 movies for one ticket price the day before the Oscars and if I'm feeling insane then maybe I'll do that. But more likely I'll just watch The King's Speech and call it good.
But last night I found a theater that's showing all the Oscar nominated short films. How cool is that? Who ever gets to see the short films? So Shawty and I grabbed some Greek (with flaming Feta cheese!) and hit the theater. Turns out half the showings were the live action shorts and half were the animated ones, and we were there in time for the animated ones.
The best one was The Lost Thing. It won't win, but it was the best. Whereas a number of the pieces were very heavy-handed or simplistic with their messages, The Lost Thing was a little more subtle. It wasn't exactly obscure, but at least it wasn't patronizing like Let's Pollute!. It had a hint of Douglas Adams to it, with just a hint of snark and a dab of wonder.
The best visuals were Madagascar, A Journey Diary. It was like a living scrapbook. I don't really understand everything that it depicted, but it all looked fantastic. The artistic style changed from second to second, with sketches, watercolors, rotoscopes, CG etc all used to great effect. The whole thing is available online:
Pixar's Day and Night was entered. It'll probably win because the world is infatuated with all things Pixar like a 12 year old Bieber groupie. But, I must say that this was the most interesting thing I've ever seen Pixar do, so I'll rank it third.
I think Shawty's favorite was The Gruffalo. Other than the Pixar contribution this was the biggest production. It features a variety of British actors (Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson, Rob Brydon, James Corden etc) voicing the roles. Evidently this is a popular book among children, and it seems like it's probably an exact adaptation. It was well done, just aimed at 6 year-olds.
We got two bonus films that didn't make it into the top 5, both of which I'd place above the actual 5th choice. One was called URS and was a typically German German film. It was pretty good, if a bit depressing. The other was called The Cow that Wanted to Be a Hamburger, and it was pretty great. I'd include a clip but the only I can find is of a calf sucking on an animated teat, which doesn't do the film justice.
Finally, Let's Pollute! It was fine, just kind of dumb. And not because it was environmentalist, but because it was environmentalist and had nothing to say. Being satirical and saying the opposite of what you mean isn't clever unless you include some actual content.
So rather than see all the Oscar noms, I took the shortcut and just watched the shorts. Maybe next year I'll take the scenic route.