Image copyright © by Marcus Trahan

2019 Animated Short Subject Academy Award Nominees


It’s an oddly lackluster set of animated shorts this year. There’s nothing wrong with any of the films, unlike last year when the perfectly awful Dear Basketball beat out four genuinely good ones. (It should have been subtitled I, Kobe Bryant, Am Just So Damn Wonderful!!!) It’s just that none of them really dazzled me. Here they are, in alphabetical order:

Animal Behavior. (Alison Snowdon and David Fine) (National Film Board of Canada) (14 minutes) So the first one is the best, in my opinion. It’s a hilarious look at a group therapy session for animals. The shrink is a dog, and the clients are a leech, a cat, a praying mantis, a pig, and a bird. They start getting into their problems. The mantis, who spends most of her time on her smart phone, is having trouble meeting men. “Well, I have 1000 children, which can be a turn-off … and I bite the heads off my lovers during sex.” The cat spends most of his time licking his asshole, and then coughs up a hairball. Then are joined by a gorilla who dwarfs them all, and is belligerent and defensive. Can’t really describe more of it, but I highly recommend it. It is available on YouTube, like all the others except “Bao.”

Bao. (Domee Shi) (USA, Canada) (8 minutes) Every year there is a Pixar short nominated, and they are always good. This was released along with The Incredibles 2, which means it will be seen by literally hundreds of times more people than all these others put together. If you have read any of my reviews you will know I am a major Pixar fan … but it hardly seems fair. And this one is not really up to the standard set by comic masterpieces like Presto. It is about a lonely woman who is making some dumplings, and one of them comes alive.

Late Afternoon. (Louise Bagnall) (Ireland) (9 minutes) Like I said, nothing wrong with this one, but nothing to shout about, either. An old woman suffering from dementia and confusion relives parts of her past.

One Small Step. (Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas) (China, USA) (8minutes) Here is my runner-up. A toddler is given a toy space helmet and boots by her cobbler father. She grows up, wanting to become an astronaut. It’s not as easy as she had hoped it would be, but through hard work she accomplishes it, and lands on the Moon.

Weekends. (Trevor Jimenez) (USA) (16 minutes) The artwork is pretty good here. A small boy is shuttled back and forth between his separated parents. I’d put this one in third place.