Ranking the Oscar-Nominated Animated Short Films

It’s hard to say how one should rate animated short films… after all, these movies are often made not for the experience they deliver but as a showcase for the artistic vision the filmmakers have executed. But I’ll be damned… I’d rather watch an entertaining, engaging cartoon made with stick figures ten times over before watching something visually imaginative but incredibly dry.

5. The Bigger Picture

The Bigger Picture unfortunately falls into the latter category. Here’s a movie that is incredibly unique in many ways, the “animation” appearing as if the characters are painted on walls (actually, I don’t know how to explain it), but the story, about two brothers who have to deal with an elderly mother, is both depressing and dull. I would not want to watch this movie again, even if I respect the artistic talent of the people behind it.

4. The Dam Keeper

I’m still confused by The Dam Keeper. While artistically sound, even visually enthralling, the movie is about a pig who is bullied at school, then befriended by a popular kid (fox?), then made fun of by the same kid. And then a black, toxic cloud breaks over the dam that overlooks the town. I don’t get it.

3. Me and My Moulton

The most visually simple title in this list takes a while to get going, but slowly draws you into the lives of three girls who are ashamed of their parents, their father in particular, because he’s an odd duck. But as the movie goes, they learn that having a weird father is not the worse thing that could happen to them. I didn’t love Me and My Moulton, but it has qualities that work more than the previous entries on this list.

2. Feast

This adorable short film is about “a young man and the stray puppy he takes in,” all “told through the food the dog receives.” Shown before Big Hero 6, Feast does rely heavily on cute puppy factor, but still manages to evoke an emotional response. While no where close to being the best Disney short, Feast is a clever, fun little flick nonetheless.

1. A Single Life

I was delighted to discover that A Single Life is only two minutes long, which instantaneously gave it bonus points (there’s nothing worse than a long short film). But the story, about a single chick who discovers that she can travel through time with the help of a magical record player, is a lot of fun, and the surprising ending had me laughing out loud. Easily the best of the five.

This list of the 2015 Oscar-nominated animated shorts is by no means a prediction of which short film will win–I have no clue, but I’ll go with Feast–but there is only one obvious select that deserves to.

By Erik Samdahl
Related categories: Animated Movies, Awards & Oscars