The Academy’s 2015 crop of nominated animated shorts offers a strong five films, though the Highly Commended shorts may offer one entry better than the nominees. The first short, Me and My Moulton, opens the compilation with distinctive wit and personality as a seven-year-old girl pines for a bicycle in 1960s Norway. Disney’s entry, Feast, was the frontrunner, which proved accurate and should surprise no one. It’s a charming effort, whose director, Patrick Osborne, will probably get a shot at a feature very soon. Feast tells the tale of a couple’s life via the food fed his incredibly cute dog, Winston. It’s a true crowd pleaser.
Daisy Jacobs’ The Bigger Picture is the technical marvel. She uses two-meter high painted characters on full size sets to tell a rather bleak story about two sons and their dying mother.
The longest nominee, The Dam Keeper, wears its Studio Ghibli influences well. Gorgeous and thoughtful, it deals with darkness, bullying and friendship. Its over 8000 paintings are a wonder to behold.
The final nominee, A Single Life, telegraphs its amiable gimmick but still earns its laughs. An additional five Highly Commended shorts round out the set, two of which stand out. The gorgeously animated Duet probably should have been nominated and a frontrunner. It has the aura of an updated Fantasia. Canada’s Bus Story, about a young woman who dreams of being a bus driver, is predictable but quite satisfying.