Neal's Oscar Picks

Animated Shorts

4 stars out of 5

If the 2007 Animated Short Films (and other good short films too) come to your town, go see them. In the meantime, here are my comments on the nominees:

"The Danish Poet" (National Film Board of Canada). If they give the Oscar for art, this should be the winner. Primitive animation, cleverly done, in the service if a brilliant, funny and witty story. I love the drunks, the hikers, the farmers trying to get their cows to the second floor, the shrink--there's something going on every minute in the narration and the visual if you're paying attention, which I was.

"Lifted" (Buena Vista) A Pixar Animation Studios Production--Amusing little piece with the usual spectacular Pixar production values, in the service of a slight anecdote--I'm not sure you could even call it a story.

"The Little Matchgirl" (Buena Vista). Beautiful pretentious claptrap. Make a mass appointment with the shrink for the Academy if this turkey walks off with the Oscar.

"Maestro" (SzimplaFilm): Serves as a reminder of the power of silent film, and why most Disney cartoons from the 1930s have little or no dialog. The soundtrack consists entirely of sound effects and music, yet the film is clever, funny and tells a story. Highly amusing.

"No Time for Nuts" (20th Century Fox). If they give the Oscar for commerce, this should be the winner. Scrat, the squirrel from Ice Age, would be a major star if cartoons still topped every bill at the theater. As it is, I find him a worthy successor to Wile E. Coyote, and wish him a long successful career. Apparently, there are an infinite number of ways for a squirrel to not get a nut.