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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions Animated Short

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Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Animated Short

Magic Light Pictures

Oscar 2018 Winner Predictions: Animated Short

We’re barely out of the gate and already we’re scrambling to figure out if success this year in Oscar’s three shorts categories will be determined by just how well—cannily, slyly, opportunistically, or otherwise—a film co-opts some aspect of our culture wars. Case in point: Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon’s Garden Party, which Slant’s gurus of gold agree has set a new bar for photorealism in animation—a bar so high that it makes Pixar’s Oscar-winning Piper from last year seem like it crawled out of the primordial muck.

Indeed, we were slack-jawed with awe for the better part of the short’s seven-minute running time, during which a series of frogs delightfully, mischievously turn a curiously deserted mansion into their gluttonous playground. And then the reason for why the manse is in ruins literally rises to the surface and none of us could agree on just how much the Trumpian overtones of the short were intended by the filmmakers as a wish-fulfillment fantasy.

Farber/Hawks

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Farber/Hawks
Farber/Hawks

[Editor’s Note: Howard Hawks’ His Girl Friday and Scarface play this weekend as part of the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s tribute to Manny Farber. Click here (and on the film titles in the article) for more details.]

The auteurist debate is no longer a matter of dispute; the question critics should be asking is not if a director “writes” the film in cinematic terms, but how. Does he create a film in a way that can be told only through cinema, with many conflicting truths happening simultaneously? Or does he film a script, making a linear collection of words into something visible, connecting the dots with a standardized grammar of cinema that was developed in previous films? In the latter situation, one message is illustrated. However interesting this message may be, this is a waste of cinema. (Print conveys one voice in a linear order much less expensively.)

Manny Farber explained the elevated species of this second scenario more explicitly, under the banner of “masterpiece art” or “white elephant art.”