Sampling Short Films: Oscar Nominees Hit Hamilton

Sampling Short Films: Oscar Nominees Hit Hamilton

Bridget Sheppard

Let’s face it: practically no one tunes in for the Academy Awards because they’re terribly anxious about the category of Animated Short Films. Besides the family and friends of the directors and actors who provided their voices, there is no one watching at home desperately eager to see who clinches this particular Oscar. We all comment on the red carpet outfits, judge the host’s jokes and await the big awards. Animated Shorts, to us, are just another time-consuming presentation to prolong the ceremony and increase the suspense for the later Oscars – Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Film, Best Director. Yet, while we continue to ignore these shorts, they are screaming at us for attention and, if you listen for once, you’ll discover they are actually worth your time.

This year’s nominated and highly commended shorts come from across the globe: France, Spain, Ireland, the United Kingdom, Poland, Canada and even the United States. As well as having a wide range of countries represented in the category, the films also vary from light comedies, such as the U.K.’s “A Matter of Loaf and Death,” starring the lovable pair Wallace and Gromit, to the touching and tragic, like Poland’s commended, “The Kinematograph.”

Several of the films contained dark humor. Ireland’s, “Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty” featured a grandmother who twists the classic fairytale into a haunting bedtime story that frightens her granddaughter, but at the same time that the audience realizes how awful this story is for a child, they can’t help but laugh at it, too. “The Lady and the Reaper,” Spain’s short, even allows us to find humor in an old woman’s death as the grim reaper and the doctors fight over her soul.

The highly commended Disney-Pixar film, “Partly Cloudy,” and France’s “French Roast” provide the most uplifting, inspiring stories, as Disney-Pixar demonstrates the bond of friendship between a stork who delivers dangerous animals’ babies and his cloud that magically forms these creatures. Meanwhile, “French Roast” follows a man without his wallet at a café as he frantically worries about what to do, until the person he least expects to rescue him does just that.

The grimmest of the tales were Canada’s, “Runaway,” also only highly commended, not nominated, where a train rapidly accelerating and out of control forces its passengers to resort to fending for themselves in order to survive. The last film presented in the Hamilton Movie Theater’s showing of these animations was France’s second short, entitled “Logorama,” and a warning for its explicit language and violence preceded it. This piece enters a world in which everything is represented by a logo; the characters are all icons and mascots: Mr. Clean, the Pillsbury Doughboy, M&Ms and the MGM lion, among others.

The main storyline concerned the Michelin men, the police force, as they faced off with the criminal Ronald McDonald. While this short confronts us harshly with blood and profanity, through this it conveys its message about our commercialism, our waste and our world. “Logorama” may get in your face, but, after all, that’s how it grabs your attention.

Oscar animated shorts rarely ever receive any real attention, but they deserve to be recognized and appreciated. All they want is for someone to shout insanely at the television over the victor of this Academy Award, or someone to gasp in anticipation before the winner is announced; they just wish for someone to care. So, rather than forgetting about the shorts one more time this year, try viewing them, and you’ll find that despite so many years of not being listened to, they still have so much to say.