Film review: Oscar-nominated Short Films for 2023 — Animation
We saw this film at the in-town theater that plays this feature every winter. There used to be non-Oscar variants of animation collections that would show up in art house theaters maybe once or twice a year, and those were fun (in the pre-Pixar era). Seeing this each year reminds me of those early features. This year’s version was somewhat uneven.
My favorite this year was the first segment (a stop-motion story where the characters become aware of the animation). They used interesting techniques to never quite let you forget the production side of the stop motion, which ultimately made you more connected to the main character as he starts to understand the scenario. It was cute.
The second segment was somewhat pointless. It was apparently based on an actual incident involving the Halifax explosion circa 1917. They have a couple of sentences about the original incident at the end, and it seems much more interesting than the animation you just watched.
The third segment was a more cohesive story, though definitely unusual. I’m not sure if they were trying to work in a climate change angle, or if they were making some point against mindless consumerism, or if it was just a somewhat oddball whimsical story. There were several aspects that I liked about it, though a discussion would be somewhat of a spoiler.
The fourth segment had the best artwork but was my least favorite too. All the dialog sounded like it came from a third-tier fortune cookie. Imagine an alternate universe version of Winnie the Pooh, but with a heaping helping of pretentiousness. And this was apparently made by Apple, and featured recognizable (at least by name, if not by sound) actors in some of the voice work.
The final one (for adults only) was better than I’d anticipated — it had some genuinely amusing bits, but I wasn’t sure why it was nominated, to be honest. However, it appeared to be the U.S.’s submission. Did Pixar or DreamWorks just stop doing entries for this category?