The 2016 Oscar-Nominated Animated Shorts, Ranked

It’s always hard to rate the Oscar-nominated shorts. Do you rate them on their artistic creativity, or their storytelling ability? The 2016 nominees force such a question. All five nominees have their charm, though ultimately some are more memorable than others.

5. We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

A cute if somber tale about two brothers who have grown up doing everything together, including training to become astronauts. As hard as they work to be the best, more than anything they love to have fun… that is until tragedy strikes. The short is entertaining to watch, but its animation is ordinary and its story merely passable. I didn’t really understand the point, and for that, it gets fifth.

4. Sanjay’s Super Team

2015 was not the year for Pixar shorts. While the not-so-good Lava thankfully didn’t get nominated, Sanjay’s Super Team–about a boy whose imagination blends his favorite superheroes with his father’s Hindu gods–is an entertaining but lackluster affair that tries just a little too hard to have a moral message. In the end, it just feels a bit too Disney; there isn’t anything edgy about it.

3. Prologue

This short animated flick, about four ancient soldiers who fight to the death, looks like it was drawn from a high school sketchbook, but its ability to turn rough drawings into beautifully, anatomically accurate animation with impressive and always-shifting perspective is oddly alluring. The film doesn’t have a lot of staying power, but it’s a fascinating watch.

2. Bear Story

Bear Story is the perfect amalgam of beautiful visuals and powerful storytelling, in which an old bear creates a mechanical diorama that tells the story of a circus bear longing to return home to his family. The film uses the diorama to tell its story, and only falls short when the directors cheat by abandoning the rules of the concept.

1. World of Tomorrow

Hardening back to the questions raised above, World of Tomorrow looks like it could have been drawn by a five-year-old and yet the movie is about as engrossing as animated films can be. About a little girl who is transported into the surreal future by her clone, World of Tomorrow is super strange yet both creative and funny.

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