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The Oscars: best animated short film

February 11, 2019

As UW-River Falls students enter the 2019 spring semester with far below zero temperatures, they also enter another season: the Oscars. The Oscar is a tiny golden statue that is given out as an Academy Award. This year will mark the 91st year of presenting these statues to various celebrities. Whether it is for being the best actress/actor or having the best picture, there is a statue for the most notable individuals in the industry annually.

One category of the Oscars is the best animated short film. An animated short is another way of saying a brief video that is created using animations. The nominees for the best animated shorts of this year are: “Animal Behaviour” by Alison Snowden and David Fine, “Bao” by Domee Shi, “Late Afternoon” by Louise Bagnall, “One Small Step” by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, and “Weekends” by Trevor Jimenez. If none of these sound familiar, do not fret, clarity is on the way.

“Animal Behavior” is an animated short written and directed by Alison Snowden and David Fine. This short film consists of characters who are seen in a group therapy setting. Each character is welcomed into a weekly group which is conducted by Dr. Clement, a dog psychotherapist. Each week, the group meets to discuss each one of their individual anxiety’s.

One of the characters in this short film is a pig who suffers from an eating disorder. Another is a praying mantis who can not hold a steady relationship with a man. There is also a leech who is experiencing bouts of separation anxiety, a feline who suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder and lastly, a bird who experiences issues with guilt.

The short film is a light-hearted approach to difficult topics. Comedy is incorporated, and perhaps this comedic relief of some real-life issues is the reason this animated short is nominated for an Oscar.

A second animated short that was nominated this year called “Bao,” which was written and directed by Domee Shi. This short film may sound familiar because it was produced by Pixar Animation Studios, and also released with the movie “Incredibles 2.”

This animated short ties in experiences of loneliness a mother feels while she is suffering from empty-nest syndrome. Empty-nest syndrome comes about when all the children have left for college, or are  living on their own and no longer are in need of the constant care and attention.

“Bao” follows a Chinese mother who is suffering from empty-nest syndrome, when all of a sudden, one of her dumplings she has made for a meal sprung to life as a little dumpling child.  As the dumpling child grows older, the mother and him butt heads. Eventually, she eats the dumpling child during a fit of anger. The mother’s real son visits and upsets his mother by explaining to her that it was all just a dream. The mother is now upset at her son and ignores him, and the father demands the son apologizes for what he has said. Shortly after, the whole family, including the son’s fiancee, forgive one another and sit around and cook dumplings together and sit at the kitchen table to eat and watch the television.

“Late Afternoon” by Louise Bagnall follows an elderly woman, Emily, through time as she recalls her past memories. Emily is unhappy and feels detached  with the current state of the world around her, so she decided she must drift through her happier memories in order to fully appreciate the present.

The short film, “One Small Step” by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas features a young Chinese-American girl named Luna. Luna dreams of becoming an astronaut some day. Luna uncovers this desire while she watches a rocket shooting into space on the television.

Luna is lives in a large city with her father, Chu, who runs a very small shoe repair business out of his own garage. Despite Luna’s challenges while growing up, she remains determined to stay on the path of one day going into space.

The final short film that is short-listed for the Oscars is “Weekends” by Trevor Jimenez. This short film pursues the trek of a young boy with divorced parents. Like many children with parents who are seperated, the young boy is having problems seeing both of his parents finding their own bliss without one another.

Dreams interrupt reality in this short film. As the boy dreams of closeness within his broken family, he is anxious of others coming into his family picture. Although this boy is not able to control what is happening in his reality, he finds a way to manipulate his dreams to create the family picture he longs for.

Of all of these films that are shortlisted for “Best Animated Short Film,” only one will receive the title. Watch to see which of your favorite films, actors, scenes, etc. get chosen on February 24 at 7 p.m. CST.



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