KE’s official ranking of nominees for Best Animated Short Films

This year, the Academy Award for “Best Animated Short” went to the emotional claymation short “Bear Story.” However, after seeing a compilation of all of the Oscar nominated shorts annually shown in AMC theaters, KE has concocted a far more comprehensive evaluation by ranking the nominees, each of a different length, style, and theme.


Photo Courtesy of ABC Entertainment

The race for the most coveted award of the night—Best Animated Short Film—was tighter than ever for the 88th Academy Awards.

1: World of Tomorrow

The most creative and artistically done short, without a doubt, was  “World of Tomorrow.” In the short, a young girl named Emily comes across a computer. Without knowing how to use it, she panics and accidentally presses too many buttons. A woman from the future appears on the screen, and tells Emily that she will transport her into a futuristic world. She brings Emily into the future and takes her on a tour meanwhile describing the future and the existence of new cloning abilities. This was by far the best short because of its humor, storyline,and  exquisite use of stick figures and a vibrant two-dimensional background throughout the short.

2: We Can’t Live Without Cosmos

My second favorite short, “We Can’t Live Without Cosmos,” was an original and heartwarming story about two astronauts who are best friends. When the astronauts get the chance to return to earth, they find out that there’s only enough room in the spaceship to send one of them home at a time. Towards the end, the ship that one astronaut flew home on had a complication, making for the central conflict of the story. The animation was a typical cartoon style, and the plot was easy to follow even with the lack of dialogue. Music, sound effects, and facial expressions played a significant part in the storytelling, and conveying the character’s emotions.

3: Bear Story

Robotic-looking claymation may have one “Bear Story” the Oscar, but this short wasn’t anything special. The main bear was a street performer, who had made a contraption allowing people to watch the story of how he was separated from his family during a political regime. The machine he had built was a clockwork diorama that put on the show using mechanically designed dolls. With no dialogue whatsoever, the plot became quite confusing at times.

4: Prologue

Next is the short “Prologue,” a story from two thousand years ago, which contained the most unexpected content, having both violence and nudity. Children were asked to leave the theater prior to the short being played. A gory fight took place for the majority of the six minute film. The people in the fight were four men, each from a separate indigenous tribe, fought, using swords, bows and arrows, and shields.  There was no background music, only the sound effects of the clashing swords and the men grunting. The animation consisted of realistic pencil drawings on paper, rather than typical cartoons, and was fascinating to watch. Overall, a little strange, but solid animation.

5: Sanjay’s Super Team

In dead last, “Sanjay’s Super Team” begins with an Indian father and his son. Sanjay is a little boy, who has three favorite action figures whom he plays with, draws, and even watches the television show about them. While Sanjay is watching TV, his father invites him to come pray. Annoyed, Sanjay hesitantly marches over to join him. His father performs traditional Hindu rituals, and begins praying, but Sanjay is distracted by his action figures. He begins to imagine them as if they were the Hindu gods. In his imagination, he helps his action figures fight off evil, and gains a new appreciation for his father’s rituals. The premise of the story was too typical—a boy playing with his superheroes—but the deeper meaning made the film a little entertaining and gave the audience something to think about.