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English speaking countries dominate 2014 animated short film Oscar nominees

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The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014

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Of the five films nominated for the Animated Short Film Academy Award, one was produced in the U.K. and two in the U.S. Like most short film competitions, the films range from light and whimsical to dark and brooding.

Capsule reviews of the five 2014 nominees follow.

Related article: 86th Academy Awards: Who will win, should win – and does Oscar need a makeover?

“Get a Horse!”

Directors: Lauren MacMullan and Dorothy McKim, U.S.A. Mickey Mouse and his friends are enjoying a wagon ride, until Peg-Leg Pete shows up with plans to ruin their day.

“Get a Horse” starts out like old-school black-and-white Disney, but then Mickey Mouse pops out of the screen in wondrous color and into the theater. Can a famous rodent with the high-pitched voice straddle between dimensions and save the day?

Fourth-wall-bursting fun.

4 Stars (out of five)

“Mr. Hublot”

Directors: Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, Luxembourg/France. Witz and Espigares have extrapolated a futuristic, mechanized world from a 19th century perspective – digital-free and devoid of silicon-based technology. Mr. Hublot’s eyewear, for example, looks like a Google Glass contraption as envisioned by Jules Verne.

One day a persistent but lovable robo-puppy scampers and flops into the lap of his reluctant, obsessive-compulsive master.

Problems escalate over time in direct proportion to the canine’s transition from pup to full-grown, tractor-size dog.

4 Stars (out of five)

“Feral”

Directors Daniel Sousa and Dan Golden, U.S.A. A rich-textured soundtrack supports the dialogue-free narrative about a wild boy who has grown up in the woods, found by a hunter and returned to civilization.

Water-color and ink-inspired renderings range from black to white with occasional splotches of color, although the highly imaginative cinematic style of “Feral” overshadows its content.

3 ½ Stars (out of five)

“Possessions”

Director: Shuhei Morita, Japan. Based on Japanese folklore, “Possessions” tells a tale of mischievous scarves, umbrellas and a host of other inanimate tools and utensils that befuddle a man seeking shelter in an abandoned shrine.

A graphic at the beginning of the movie states that after 100 years of service, tools and instruments become Tsukumogami – they attain souls and behave impishly.

Like “Feral," "Possessions" offers more style than content.

3 ½ Stars (out of five)

Room on the Broom”

Directors: Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, U.K. “Room on the Broom” is based on the children’s book by Julia Donaldson (author) and Axel Scheffler (illustrator). A dog, a bird (voiced by Sally Hawkins) and a frog hitch rides on the broomstick of a benevolent, good natured witch and her less affable cat.

The motley menagerie set off on an adventure, threatened by what appears to be a winged, fire-breathing triceratops with evil intentions. Can magical mushrooms save the day?

Simon Pegg's rhyming voiceover brings just the right tone to the proceedings.

4 ½ Stars (out of five)

See playdates and locations for “Oscar Nominated Short Films 2014: Animated” HERE. Under “All Film Types,” choose “Annimation.”

Also see: Best live-action Oscar shorts diverse in style and content, if not geography

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