Animated Conversations

Animated Conversations December 4, 2012

The Pre-Oscars — Hollywood’s  own special brand of election in(s)anity — have begun in earnest. The big day (February 24th) feels interminably distant, and the next few months will doubtless prove as relentlessness in their demands “for your consideration” as ever.

On the other hand, the Cinematic Silly Season — read that out loud; it sounds funnier than it looks — provides me with one of my favorite opportunities: the chance to think about the Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short candidates.

That last genre, in particular, is near and dear to my heart. And the quick glimpses in the aforelinked “Film School Rejects” post have whetted my appetite once again — or perhaps just reminded me that my appetite for animated shorts is well and perpetually whetted.

This year’s shortlist for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film is an esoteric bunch, as always. The spread is international, including work from Japan, France, the Czech Republic and the United Kingdom, alongside domestic productions. A number of the directors are relative newcomers, some of them selected for their graduation films. On the other end of the spectrum, a few of these animators have worked on Oscar-nominated films in the past and are veterans of the industry. There’s the usual mix of hand-drawn, CG and stop motion styles, and at least one film that tries blending two of these forms together. If not fully representative of everything going on in the world of animation, the Academy definitely highlights some of the more exciting projects.

The “Feature” category has been Pixar-dominated since its inception, and the good folks at GoldDerby see no reason to buck that trend. But this year’s “Short” category lacks an Emeryville entry — La Luna was eligible last year — and Pixar has been less than bullet-proof there, anyway.

My money (if I had any) would be on John Kahrs’ Paperman. Beautiful stuff. But I’ve always loved frontrunners. And sentient paper airplanes.

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