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Feb 20, 2009

The award for best animated short film has been a staple of the Oscars for over 75 years. This year’s nominees continue the tradition.

By Drew Stoga

Originally known as the category “Short Subjects, Cartoons,” the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences first began presenting the award for best animated short film in 1932 at the Fifth Annual Academy Awards. This long history makes the category 70 years older than the better-known award for best animated feature.
While the feature-length nominees are often household names like Kung Fu Panda and WALL-E (which are up for awards this year), the shorts are created on comparatively small budgets. However, they are filled with some of the most creative and unique work being done in the industry.
As is usually the case, the nominated shorts for this year’s Oscar cover a spectrum of topics from bleak to humorous, and feature a wide variety of animation styles. They also star some truly unique and unforgettable characters, from a pair of love-struck octopuses to an old man reflecting on a life passed by.


This Way Up: Directed by Adam Foulkes and Alan Smith, This Way Up follows the misadventures of a pair of undertakers who are trying to lay the recently deceased to rest. Dark slapstick humor makes this short—which is highlighted by a quick trip to Hades—a pleasure to watch. London’s Nexus Studios (which is best known for their work in commercials and music videos) handled the animation.

Lavatory—Lovestory: Simple black-and-white animation is used to tell the story of a lonely female bathroom attendant with a secret admirer. Created by renowned Russian animator Konstantin Bronzit, the film is a surprisingly humorous reminder that love can always find a way. 

Oktapodi: Love is in the air—and the water—in the beautiful, computer-animated French short, Oktapodi. The film follows a pair of love struck octopuses who find themselves separated and must overcome seemingly insurmountable odds to reunite—and avoid becoming someone’s dinner. Oktapodi originated as a graduate student project from Gobelins L’Ecole de L’Image and features a score by Kenny Wood.

Presto: In Presto, a Pixar short that had the good fortune to accompany the smash hit WALL-E in theaters and on DVD, magician Presto DiGotagione battles his mischievous rabbit, Alec Azam, on stage. While the film has the stunning-yet-familiar Pixar look, the slapstick humor is a throwback to such cartoons classics as “Tom & Jerry” and the many reincarnations of Bugs Bunny.

La Maison en Petits Cubes: With animation reminiscent of American icon Bill Plympton, the Japanese short La Maison en Petits Cubes tells the story of an old man reflecting on his passing life. The emotionally touching, visually rich short is bolstered by a beautiful, sparse soundtrack.

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Very enjoyable…brought a smile to myface…thanks!

George Carroll
Feb 21, 2009

all the pictures are excellent

Victor Avalo
Feb 21, 2009

Lavatory-lovestory is the winner

Victor Avalo
Feb 21, 2009

the winner is octipedia

T. Novick
Feb 21, 2009