The 2020 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Animated

It’s a somber cartoon cavalcade with this year’s selection of Oscar-nominated shorts, but there’s also plenty of beauty amidst some emotional bombshells. The crude rendering of Dcera (Daughter) adds to the chaotic sadness of a woman recalling a childhood trauma during her father’s final hours. Hair Love isn’t a particularly ambitious production, but the colors flow fast and furious in a jovial Nick Jr. style that still sets up an abruptly sobering and touching final scene. Kitbull is a brutally drawn short which (thanks to its Pixar pedigree) insists on a happy ending for two outcast animals forming a friendship. Mémorable is the collection’s standout as crazed stop-motion that explores an artist’s fading romance with his wife as he struggles with dementia. Then there’s Sister as the most shocking story on the bill. A series of touching memories leads to a tragic ending that somehow didn’t get boycotted by Hollywood – but there’s a reason some critics just choose to ignore this Chinese/USA entry. The film’s running time then adds four additional “Highly Commended” shorts that deserve their accolades. Those include Hors Piste as an unexpectedly comic accounting of a mountain rescue gone wrong. The style is mainstream Aardman Animation, but the slapstick comedy is reminiscent of MAD magazine’s Don Martin.