The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2011: Animation | Chicago Reader

The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2011: Animation

This year's nominees for best animated short are strong but could hardly be described as various; all are colorful, cartoonish, and suitable for children, and most are highly sophisticated digital work. Pixar produced Teddy Newton's Day & Night, a novel combo of classic Disney 2-D (two blobby characters rendered against a black background as they engage in a slapstick battle) and modern 3-D (the characters' forms serve as windows onto a colorful landscape that provides ironic commentary on their feud). The stylistic outlier is Bastien Dubois's lovely French entry Madagascar, a Journey Diary, whose piquant tour of the title island transpires in delicate pencil-and-pastel imagery. Max Lang and Jakob Schuh get the celebrity voice talent award for The Gruffalo; its Tim Burton-style woodland fantasy features Helena Bonham Carter, John Hurt, Tom Wilkinson, and Robbie Coltrane. But the best of the bunch is Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann's Australian entry The Lost Thing, about a young beachcomber who befriends a giant, rust-colored iron bulb with crab legs; droll, lyrical, and sometimes haunting, it benefits from Tim Minchin's deadpan, musically accented narration and digital backgrounds that render the hero's city in knowing detail as he leads the creature home.

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