The Academy Awards aren't exactly kid-friendly fare—none of the contenders for this year's best picture are anywhere near G-rated. But you can still spark a love of filmmaking by watching our kid-friendly picks from this year's nominees for Best Animated Short Film. It's a great way to get children in on the Oscar fun and hey, it'll be a nice change of pace from reruns of "SpongeBob SquarePants" (no offense, SpongeBob).
Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"
by David Silverman
According to critics, this short stole the show when it played before screenings of "Ice Age: Continental Drift." And while "The Longest Daycare" lacks any dialogue, the music was created by movie score geniuses Hans Zimmer and Jim Dooley. Parents will appreciate the tongue-in-cheek humor typical of "The Simpsons" while kids enjoy watching Maggie out-smarting her unibrowed baby nemesis.
by John Kahrs
Full disclosure: "Paperman" is definitely the favorite to win at the Parenting offices. This short premiered with another Oscar nominee, "Wreck-It Ralph" (see our write-up here). Created with a brand new technology called Meander that blends traditional and computer animation, "Paperman" still manages to be delightfully retro—a classic boy-meets-girl story set in the last century. The movie has already received an Annie Award for Best Animated Short Subject, but will it go home with an Academy Award?
At 1 minute and 45 seconds, "Fresh Guacamole" is the shortest animated short ever nominated by the Academy. It is a follow-up of another animated short, "Western Spaghetti," by director Adam Pesapane, known as PES. "Western Spaghetti" was named TIME Magazine’s #2 Viral Video of the Year in 2008 and currently has close to 11 million views. "Fresh Guacamole" is similar in that it takes an ordinary task like cooking and makes it fantastical with simple switcheroos: a chile pepper is replaced by a green light bulb that turns into a handful of green Monopoly houses when chopped up. It's a feast for the eyes and the palate.
"Head Over Heels"
by Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly
"Head Over Heels" was directed by a pair of students from The National Film And Television School. The two characters, Walter and Madge, are total opposites—literally. After years of marriage, they have grown apart and now Walter lives on the ceiling while Madge lives on the floor. They rarely interact with one another, until Walter decides to rekindle their romance. If you were a fan of the touching first five minutes of "Up," this short is right up your alley. But it may be better appreciated by older kids.
Which of these animated shorts do you think will win? Leave a comment and let us know.