Depending on where you live, some combination of the Oscar-nominated shorts (animated, live action and documentary) may be playing in a theater near you, thanks to Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures (trailer, clips and detailed release info below). Four out of five of the animated shorts are quite strong.
Here are my Oscar picks:
1. The Lost Thing is a beautifully designed and imagined magical steam punk Australian short about a guy who finds a "lost thing" and tries to take it home (no go). Here's a clip.
2. Pixar's high-concept Day & Night is brilliant, witty and fun. Here's a clip.
3. Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage is animated out of the pages of a travel diary, using a variety of forms: water color, pencil drawings, paintings, etc. It's gorgeous but lacks narrative drive. Here's a clip.
4. The Gruffalo features some of Britain's top actors (Helena Bonham Carter, Tom Wilkinson. Robbie Coltrane) in a delightful family fable. Nothing much new here. Here's a clip.
5. Let's Pollute carries an environmental message in a vintage animated infomercial package with booming voiceover. Here's a clip.
Live Action – 106 mins
Animation – 85 mins (includes two bonus films – The Cow That Wanted to be a Hamburger and Urs)
Documentary – 197 mins (plus a 10 mins intermission)
Los Angeles Release Date: February 11, 2011 Animation and Live Action at Landmark’s The Nuart Theatre, West LA and Regency Theatres’ South Coast Plaza, Santa Ana
Los Angeles Release Date: February 18, 2011 Documentary Shorts at Laemmle’s Sunset 5, West Hollywood. Animation and Live Action at Laemmle’s Town Center 5, Encino and Laemmle’s Pasadena Playouse 7, Pasadena
New York Release Date: February 11, 2011 Animation, Live Action and Documentary