2017 Oscar Nominees for Short Film (Animated)
1. “Piper” is my choice to win Best Animated Short. From the moment that it begins, you will be questioning whether the water is computer animated or real. The birds may be the most lifelike creatures ever animated with detailed feathers and facial expressions that feel like watching a nature documentary. I always favor a family friendly film in this category and Pixar has managed to create a visual experience that can be enjoyed by all. Dialogue is not necessary as the musical score takes care of the storytelling. “Piper” will win if the voters are looking at the highest quality of animation amongst the nominees. If they are going for storytelling, the award will likely go to #2 on my list.
2. “Borrowed Time” is a Western Short Film (not to be confused with a short Western film, because those don't exist). This is the most emotional of the nominees. It tells a heartwrenching story through its great musical score, inexplicable twist, and very little dialogue. This is my favorite Short of 2016, though the animation quality falls short of “Piper.”
3. “Blind Vaysha” gets all of the style points for this year’s group of nominees. It’s theme of duality is brought to life through frequent use of split screen and the animation style has an ancient Mayan feel to it. The story is a big downer but leaves us with the question of which we’d rather live in, the past or the future?
4. “Pearl” is an innovative Animated Short that makes use of trending virtual reality technology. I was not able to view the short in this way, but it is easy to imagine how cool it would be to watch this story unfold with a 360-degree view from the passenger seat of the car. The story is driven by a song sung by a father and his daughter as they chase their dreams. The quality of the animation is very choppy but it is to be expected with the use of virtual reality. In the end, this is a journey that is worth taking.
5. “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” is my least favorite short of the year. It is a cross between a graphic novel, an acid trip, and a film noir. It tells the true story of Techno Stypes, a young man who lives life on the edge and gladly takes the consequences that come with the lifestyle. This edgy character comes with edgy content. When watching a package of the five nominees, the short even came with a warning about its adult content. Its main redeeming quality is that it paints an undesirable picture of Techno's immoral lifestyle. In the end, I just didn’t enjoy watching this graphic novel unfold with so much strong language.