Oscar Tune-Up: Academy Award-Nominated Short Films
5:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday
8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
Oklahoma City Museum of Art
$8 adults, $6 seniors and students
Rounding out its “Oscar Tune-up” series, the Oklahoma City Museum of Art will screen all 10 short films nominated for Academy Awards this weekend, separated among animated and live-action, before Sunday’s Oscar telecast. Here’s a quick look at the short list.
Enjoying a cup of espresso in a French café, a businessman finds his wallet is missing when he reaches to pay his tab. To buy time, he orders another cup, and another and another, while a cavalcade of characters come through the coffee shop. The highly stylized animation here is really appealing here, as is the simple book-by-the-cover storyline, which plays with appearance and true character.
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
A hesitant little girl shivers and cowers in bed while she’s forced to hear Grandma’s twisted version of “Sleeping Beauty,” a rendition rife with elderly angst and an older fairy who’s determined to teach younger, prettier fairies exactly “how it feels to be old and constantly sleepy.” “Granny O’Grimm” is funny, with great voice acting and detailed animation appealingly split between a lush “real world” and the two-dimensional fairy tale world.
The Lady and the Reaper
A lonely old lady awaits death at her rural home. Eager to pass on to see her husband on the other side, she drifts into a dreamy world, only to awaken in a hospital without the sweet death she so craves. A battle with a determined doctor ensues. “The Lady and the Reaper” is poignant and funny, with marvelous colors and gorgeously animated scenes and characters.
Set in a city bedecked in real and imagined brand names and logos, corporate mascots have their lives woven together with a car chase and a hostage situation. Hilariously written and animated like a board game come to life, “Logorama” is led by a maniacal, Joker-esque Ronald McDonald and a pair of Michelin Men who hit the city with the likes of the Jolly Green Giant, Mr. Clean and the mustachioed Pringles man. Consumer commentary meets irreverent action, “Logorama” takes all prisoners; it’s the rare short film with long-lasting appeal.
A Matter of Loaf and Death
Wallace and Gromit have been working as dough deliverymen, making them especially equipped for their latest adventure: getting to the bottom of a killing spree that’s claimed a dozen local bakers. Along the way, Wallace falls for Piella Bakewell, a onetime spokesmodel for the Bake-O-Lite bread company. At just under 30 minutes, “Loaf and Death” is the longest of the animated shorts and originally debuted on TV. It’s a fully conceived story, rather than just a take on a concept (as many shorts are), and boasts a big orchestral score and impressive stop-motion animation.
Working backward to explain why a man on a motorcycle would bother to steal a door, this harrowing short film grimly explores one small family’s suffering from the Chernobyl disaster. Sirens sound and the faint whip of helicopters grow louder, offering a sickening reply to a blaring TV that directs everyone not to panic. Dark and icily filmed by an Irish crew in Kiev, Ukraine, “The Door” is cold, somber and super-effective.
Instead of Abracadabra
Thomas is an awkward adult who owns a cape and still lives with his parents. He wants to be a magician, which doesn’t particularly please his parents, but Thomas is determined to win over everyone with his act, especially a pretty, blond neighbor. Basically a Swedish riff on Will Arnett’s G.O.B. character on “Arrested Development,” “Instead of Abracadabra” is quick and quirky, but really nothing new, unless you’ve never seen “Napoleon Dynamite.”
Some kids go to school; some work. Kavi is among the latter. His entire life is dirt, literally. Conscripted to slave labor by his father’s debt, Kavi and his family toil at a brick kiln somewhere in India and work all day in the hot sun, filling molds with muddy slip and stacking row after row of bricks. Children adorned in clean uniforms play and laugh nearby, and all Kavi wants is to join them and play a game of cricket.
Joe is 8 years old, and today is his birthday. Kids at school give him typical school-yard gifts: grief and incessant teasing. Falling asleep in the nurse’s office, Joe wishes everyone would leave him alone and just go away. When he awakens, it looks as though his wish might have been granted. Heartwarming in a weird way, “Miracle Fish” brings a good mix of childhood fantasy and the real world, which proves to be even more surreal than a child’s imagination.
The New Tenants
No one mentioned murder when Peter (David Rakoff, “Capote”) and Frank (Jamie Harrold, “The Last Winter”) signed their apartment lease. “The New Tenants” just moved in and already they’re in the middle of other people’s lives. A neighbor knocks to borrow a cup of flour, but the pair is soon visited by an estranged husband (Vincent D’Onofrio, TV’s “Law & Order: Criminal Intent”) and a drug dealer (Kevin Corrigan, “Pineapple Express”) looking for his half-kilo of heroin. “The New Tenants” is grimy and strangely funny ” a send-up to love and death in the big city. “Joe Wertz