Review: 2015 Animated Oscar Nominated Short Films


Here's our take on every film in the 2015 Live Action and Animated Oscar Nominated Shorts programs opening today at Keystone Art Cinema.

The Documentary program, which also opens today, includes the brave and excruciating Our Curse, a 2014 Heartland winner about parents/filmmakers trying to keep alive their baby born with a disorder popularly known as Ondine's curse. Named after the mythical water nymph, the all-too-real affliction sounds like something out of a fairy tale: The cursed stop breathing when they fall asleep. Alas, our local Landmark outpost has opted out of screening the Documentary program, also distributed by Shorts HD and playing at other Midwestern theaters; you might ask for it by name at the ticket booth.

The Live Action and Animated shorts are presented in separate, feature-length programs, with, as usual, a few extras added to the Animated program to make it worth the prices of a ticket. Check out Ed's reviews of the Live Action shorts films here; below are the five Animated nominees. The additional films on the Animated bill — presented out of competition, as it were — are Sweet Cocoon, Bill Plympton's Footprints, Duet and Bus Story. —Scott

The Bigger Picture

★★★★1/2 (out of five)

United Kingdom

Dir. Daisy Jacobs and Christopher Hees

Daisy Jacobs wrote, directed and animated this look at two adult brothers bickering about everything, particularly how to best care for their elderly mother. The animation is inventive and impressively textured. The story deals with caregiving and mortality in a no-nonsense, deeply human fashion. Remember Jacobs' name – she has big things ahead for her.

The Dam Keeper


United States

Dir: Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi

Young Pig tends to the wind dam that keeps the poison clouds out of a small town. Pig is bullied by classmates, but a new student – Fox – becomes friends with him. The agreeable tale is crafted out of over 8,000 paintings by artists Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi.



United States

Dir. Patrick Osborne

Disney cartoon about Winston, an adorable Boston Terrier, whose human James feeds him loads of glorious junk food … until he gets a girlfriend and adopts a healthier lifestyle. Is there a way for both man and dog to be happy? The filmmakers pack lots of plot and charm into the feature.

Me and My Moulton



Dir. Torill Kove

A young girl and her two sisters must adjust to their parents, who are loving, smart and not quite in sync with the girls' idea of normal. Norwegian Torill Kove's autobiographical tale is intriguing at first, but everything is so reserved that it's hard to get emotionally invested.

A Single Life



Dir. Joris Oprins

In less than three minutes, “A Single Life” sets up its premise – a woman receives a 45 rpm record, puts it on her record player and soon learns that by moving the needle, she can skip to various points in her lifetime – explores the idea and pops off after a snappy final joke. Excellent cartoon!


Ed Johnson-Ott has been NUVO's lead film critic for more than 20 years.

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