Oscar drops his shorts | Movie Sidebar | Chicago Reader

Oscar drops his shorts 

This year's nominees for best animated and live-action short films

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Reviewing shorts in these pages has always been a compromise, so all this week on the Bleader I'm posting individual reviews of the five animations and five live-action shorts in contention for the Academy Award. Like the Best Picture nominees, they're a mixed bag, though the best ones are well worth seeing; unlike the Best Picture nominees, whose "foreign" entries consist of a Woody Allen comedy (Midnight in Paris) and a silent film set in Hollywood (The Artist), the shorts are truly international. My favorites, in no particular order, include Patrick Doyon's French Canadian cartoon Dimanche, which uses 2-D line drawings to render a little boy and the creepy crows who follow him around; Hallvar Witzø's Norwegian live-action black comedy Tuba Atlantic, about a solitary old man who learns he has six days to live and the goofy teenage Christian who becomes his home caregiver; Terry George's Irish live-action drama The Shore, with Ciaran Hinds as an expatriate Irishman returning home and mending fences; and, from Shreveport, Louisiana, William Joyce and Brandon Oldenberg's computer-animated The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, whose frankly Keaton-esque hero is whisked away by a hurricane to a land where books fly around like gentle birds. The shorts screen by genre, in two programs with separate admissions. —J.R. Jones

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