Reviewing the 2022 Animated Short Nominees

The wonderful thing about this generation is the availability of nominees in the Best Animated Short category.  Just because the films are animated, doesn’t mean they are actually for children.  These five nominees are an eclectic group.  Check them out below.

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse

Nominees Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud
Watch on AppleTV+

A young boy is lost in the wild with no idea how to get back home. With the help of a talkative mole, a vicious but shy fox, and a wisely quiet horse, the boy attempts to a home and learn a little bit along the way.

Tries desperately to be as precious as humanly possible. If it would have loosened up a bit, it might have gotten the point across better. The watercolor animation is beautifully rendered, but it plays much more like an after-school special than a fully-realized film. It’s all just trying far too hard.

The Flying Sailor

Nominees Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis
Watch on YouTube

Based on the 1917 Halifax Explosion, an explosion blows a sailor into the sky. He views various aspects of his life as he hurdles through the air.

There is so much interesting information on the Halifax Explosion, I was hoping the short would dig into that. Unfortunately, it’s just a story of a brief aside from that disaster. I’m sure it has something bigger to say that I don’t understand, but it’s essentially just a guy flying through the air for a few minutes remembering snippets of his life. I don’t understand why I should care.

Ice Merchants

Nominees João Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano
Watch on YouTube

A man and his son live on the side of the mountain as ice merchants for the town below. Their repetitive existence is tempered by routine and comfort, but also tinged with loss.

One of my absolute favorites in years. With no actual dialogue, it’s the gold standard for “show, don’t tell” filmmaking. The minimalist animation is a feature and not a bug. There is a real sense of environment and atmosphere that permeates the entire experience. The best possible ending as well. A real treasure of a short. I am really rooting for it to win.

My Year of Dicks

Nominees Sara Gunnarsdottir and Pamela Ribon
Watch on Vimeo

A young woman spends her late teenage years drifting through life. In five awkward episodes, she recalls her attempts to lose her virginity.

Despite a 25-minute runtime, the five separate episodes make the whole fly by. Despite the film focusing on a female quest for sex, the underlying message zeroes in on how uninterested men are in female pleasure. There is a clear humor in how ridiculous everything is, and that self-awareness is greatly beneficial.

An Ostrich Told Me the World is Fake and I Think I Believe It

Nominee Lachlan Pendragon
Watch here

A man working in a sales office begins to question the reality of his situation. The sudden appearance of an ostrich confounds and pushes him even further.

This is a fun little bit of meta-storytelling. When the short started, I was thinking I was watching some behind-the-scenes piece, but then I realized what the film was actually up to. It’s cute and smart with a nice little ending to tie it all together. Much more of a technical achievement than anything else. You could describe it as The Matrix in claymation.

Ranking the 2022 Live Action Short Nominees
Reviewing the 2021 Animated Short Nominees

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