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La Maison En Petits Cubes (#110 of 2)

Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions Animated Short

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Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Animated Short
Oscar 2013 Winner Predictions: Animated Short

If there’s any consensus among the Slant staffers who’ve spent way too much time trying to peg the winner in this category, it’s that only two nominees can be safely ruled out. PES’s Fresh Guacamole, which has amassed almost seven million views on YouTube since May of last year, is a conceptual dazzler that, not unlike one of our favorite music videos of last year, Benga’s “I Will Never Change,” feels entirely too circumscribed by its very conceptuality to register as anything beyond a cleverly executed (and all-too-brief) stunt. A nay as well to Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”, a charming and ultimately touching tale about the youngest Simpson, upon being denied entrance into a daycare’s gifted section, using all her chutzpah to save a butterfly from her famous unibrowed archnemesis. That the effectiveness of the short almost hinges on the audience’s familiarity with The Simpsons (Maggie Simpson has a unibrowed archnemesis?) may be as much of a detriment as its guilt-by-association corporate-ness, having played in theaters prior to Ice Age: Continental Drift.

Oscar 2009 Winner Predictions Animated Short

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Oscar 2009 Winner Predictions: Animated Short
Oscar 2009 Winner Predictions: Animated Short

Strange that the only time Pixar won here was the same year it lost—and tragically so—in the race for Animated Feature. Nine years later, it seems doubtful that Presto, which accompanied WALL-E throughout its theatrical run, will end what’s slowly becoming a Susan Lucci-esque losing streak: The story of a bunny who takes vengeance on the magician who denies him a carrot, the short is adorably feisty but forgettable. If you spend much of the film wondering what Chuck Jones could have done with it, you’ll likely balk at Oktapoid, in which two octopi struggle to escape from the clutches of a delivery man, for seeming too much like an audition on the part of its six directors for a job at, yes, Pixar. Like Presto, Oktapoid lacks for poignancy, but neither film is as flippant as This Way Up, the story of two glum undertakers whose attempt to bury an old woman is constantly and inexplicably thwarted by the world around them. If This Way Up trivializes death, Lavatory Lovestory cutely celebrates the possibility of love blossoming in unexpected places, but Konstantin Bronstin’s memorable short doesn’t hold a candle to the only other 2D short in the category, La Maison en Petits Cubes. The strange account of an old man who builds his house up toward the heavens as the water that drowns the world continues to rise, Kunito Kato’s production initially cries out for context, until the old man loses his pipe and his attempt to retrieve it from the lower levels of his home literally opens the floodgates of memory. The Triplets of Belleville cult will go nuts for Kato’s expressionistic drawings and his intuitive evocation of loss and loneliness.

Will Win: La Maison en Petits Cubes

Should Win: La Maison en Petits Cubes