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Going into this awards season, I figured GET A HORSE! was a lock in this category but after seeing the four other films that are nominated for the Best Short Film – Animated Oscar, I have to say that Oscar voters have their work cut out for them. All five of these films are just spectacular.



Daniel Sousa’s FERAL may tell the story of a young boy who is one day discovered amongst the wolves in a forest, feral for having lived there for an undetermined amount of time, but all the same it fosters a tone of surrendered empathy throughout. We may not be able to identify with the boy’s plight specifically but what person has never felt like they don’t fit in anywhere. The style is hurried but oddly soothing and always mesmerizing as the boy shifts his shape from beast to boy and back again. He is found in the forest and brought to a small town by a man who enrols him in a school. The animation itself always lends to the narrative, with buildings coming together in rigid fashion and shoelaces and ties tying themselves and binding him to his new surroundings. The boy searches for acceptance, something he didn’t have with the wolves prior, and finds that people show their teeth almost more than wolves do. FERAL is an impressive piece of work that haunts the viewer long after it ends.



Mickey Mouse’s first theatrical short film in nearly 20 years is an unforgettable and insatiable instant classic. It is a mix between hand drawn animation that mimics the original Walt Disney style of the 1930’s and colour, computer animation that extends into brilliant 3D at just the right moments. Directed by Lauren MacMullan, who is, believe it or not, the first woman to solo direct a Disney animated film, GET A HORSE! captures the jubilant spirit of Mickey’s yesteryear and delights in it in every frame as that period is thrown into the present. Mickey and Minnie are having a perfectly lovely day, taking a casual ride on their horse and carriage, when an impatient Peg-leg Pete drives up behind them in his car and tries to run them off the road. What ensues is unbridled zaniness that is both incredibly exciting and remarkably imaginative to behold. And despite all it has going for itself, perhaps its most impressive feat is that sound engineers spliced together archival recordings of Walt Disney’s actual voice to form Mickey’s dialogue. GET A HORSE! is a pure treat!



Poor Mr. Hublot. He is such a lonely man. He has nothing but a cramped little apartment and some serious obsessive compulsive disorder to keep him company while he goes through the same motions day after day after day. He has withdrawn from society but this is mostly because he fears what is waiting for him outside his apartment. And then one day, something drives him outside. He fears that a dog, or at least a robot version of a dog because, you see, Mr. Hublot lives in some sort of futuristic world where everything is somewhat mechanized, is going to be killed. He forsakes his OCD and saves the dog and then invites him in his home to live with him. This of course throws Mr. Hublot’s routine off significantly. Will it push him to the brink of full mental collapse or is this perhaps exactly what he needed to shake him out of complacency. MR. HUBLOT, from directors, Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, is a wonderful short that is as imaginative as it is charming. We’ve all got a little of Mr. Hublot in us and we could all use something to come along and shake things up.



Japanese director, Shuhei Morita, gives us some striking imagery in his fourth short film, POSSESSIONS, but I’m not certain he instills it with any truly clear direction. I’m also not sure that this matters in the least. One particularly rainy night, a rather large Japanese traveler gets lost in the forest and seeks refuge in a tiny shack he comes across. Once inside, it is clear that this shack is anything but tiny and is cluttered with things that have been worn out from time and cast aside. Colourful umbrellas and silk panels that were once prized possessions are now just discarded items that have lost all their meaning. The traveler takes it upon himself to take the time and restore some of these things back to their original beauty and therefore giving purpose back to them. At this point though, it is hard to tell whether the point of the film is to preach on the perils of owning too much or to condemn society for simply throwing things away at the first sight of wear when so much could so easily be repaired. Whatever the point is though, POSSESSIONS is, just like the items our traveler encounters, a great work of art.


Room On The Broom

Clocking in at around 27 minutes, ROOM ON THE BROOM, based on a popular children’s book, is the longest of this year’s animated shorts but that doesn’t make it any less enchanting. And with the exception of GET A HORSE!, it is also the film with the biggest pedigree behind it. The voice cast alone is staggering, from Gillian Anderson as the witch who makes room on her broom for a cat, a dog, a bird and a frog while flying around the forest to Simon Pegg, who narrates the rhyming story with great exuberance. Themes of acceptance and non-traditional families run throughout and alongside them, charming wit and endearing humour. Co-directed by Jan Lachauer and Max Lang, who nabs his second Oscar nod Best Animated Short Film after his first nomination in THE GRUFFALO in 2009, ROOM ON THE BROOM may stand the best chance of nabbing the win from Mickey and friends due to its simple but highly effective story. It is near impossible to resist.

You can see all five Oscar nominated short animated films at select theatres now, including TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. For more information, visit

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