Of the twenty-four categories, The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences devotes three categories to honor achievement in a short subject: Animation, Documentary, and Live Action. Submissions must be less than 40 minutes in length and have held a seven-day theatrical run in either Los Angeles County or the Borough of Manhattan during the eligibility period (Oct. 1, 2012–Sept. 30, 2013 for Animation and Live Action, Sept. 1, 2012–Aug. 31, 2013 for Documentary). The Academy has presented an Oscar for the Animated Short Film since 1932.
Shorts HD TV have done an excellent job making these shorts more and more available to the movie going public. Each category collects and exhibits all five nominees for the price of one feature-length movie. If a trip to the theater doesn’t excite you, then all will be available via iTunes, Amazon Instant, Xfinty, VOD, and the usual rental suspects. Click here to see where you can find the nominated short subjects in theater near you, and here for download and streaming options.
Get a Horse! Mickey and Minnie Mouse are out and about with their band of merry makers (including Clarabelle Cow and Hoarce Horsecollar) when Peg-Leg Pete shows up and angrily captures Minnie. To make matters worse, Mickey is stuck on the outside of the movie screen and has to figure a way to rescue Minnie who is trapped inside. He very cleverly finds a way to manipulate the medium of cinema and animation to rescue his girlfriend, punish Pete and save the day. A return to the classic mischief of Mickey Mouse (who is once again voiced by Walt Disney) and an excellent send-up of Buster Keaton’s classic Sherlock Jr. Get a Horse! displays a wonderful joie de vivre and a love for cinema. Easily the best of the bunch.
Directed By: Lauren MacMullan Running Time: 6 minutes
Mr. Hublot Mr. Hublot is a small man living alone in a very meticulous and well-maintained apartment in the middle of a very busy and bustling industrial city. The reason that Hublot lives alone is because he suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, which is not immediately obvious. At first, Hublot seems to be a tad tidy and orderly, but when he is called to action, he is momentarily tripped up by that wretched light switch which must be flipped three times before Hublot is certain that it is off. What calls him to action is an abandoned robot dog that lives on the streets. Hublot adopts the dog and allows him to live in his apartment, but the robot-dog grows to enormous size and constantly disrupts Hublot’s well-organized apartment. If Hublot and his new companion are going to make it, then Hublot is going to have to put some of his neurosis to the side. Not all, but a few. The animation of Mr. Hublot, the dog, and the world are meticulously crafted with immense detail. I would not be surprised if the creators happened to share a particular trait with Mr. Hublot.
Directed By: Laurent Witz & Alexandre Espigares Running Time: 11 minutes
Feral A young boy lives alone in the woods. Wolves did not raise him, but he watched them closely and mimics their behavior. One day, a hunter shows up and takes the wild boy home with him, cleans him, preps him for civilization and turns him loose in a prep school. You can take the boy out of the wild, but you can’t take the wild out of the boy, and he interacts with people using the same techniques he used to survive in the woods. He is laughed at and mocked and he decides to return to the woods, where he belonged all along. Animated using expressionless faces and void of dialog, Feral invokes Truffaut’s The Wild Child, but any emotional revelation will be completely up to the audience.
Directed By: Daniel Sousa Running Time: 13 minutes
Possessions A man is wandering through the woods when a storm forces him to seek shelter in a small house. According to legend, any object that has survived for over a hundred years will develop a soul and become a trickster. The man encounters these tricksters and uses his skills to mend the umbrellas, darn the drapes, and fix the house. The objects return the favor the following morning. Using current anime style, this short is fun and light with a Japanese eye for the past.
Director: Shuhei Morita Running Time: 14 minutes
Room on the Broom Adapted from the children’s book by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, this short tells the most complete story of the bunch. A Witch (voiced by Gillian Anderson) and her Cat (Rob Brydon) are getting along swimmingly until the Witch’s hat blows off and is recovered by a lone Dog (Martin Clunes) who will give back the hat in exchange for a spot on the broom. The Cat isn’t thrilled about having to share his space or his Witch, but the Witch has a full heart and lets him join the fun. She also looses her hair-tie and wand, which results in a Frog (David Williams) and a Bird (Sally Hawkins) joining the broom, which breaks under their weight. Bad timing considering that a Dragon (Timothy Spall) has finally caught up with them and is hungry for Witch & Chips. Narrated by Simon Pegg, this children’s book becomes a delightful animated short for children and adults alike.
Directed By: Jan Lachauer & Max Lang Running Time: 25 minutes