Old favorite best in Oscar nominated animated shorts

Grannymation? Did someone say Grannymation?

This year, three of the five Oscar-contending animated shorts involve women of a certain age and uncertain life-span. Respectively, they spook a grandchild ("Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty"), unintentionally elude Death ("The Lady and the Reaper"); and are the soul of charity ("French Roast"). Who says there are no movie roles for women over 80?

The 2010 Academy Award-Nominated Animated Short Films (dare you to say that in one breath) are in town, and they're a delight.

Among the charming entries from France, Ireland, Spain, and the United Kingdom, my favorite is "A Matter of Loaf and Death," Nick Park's mystery starring Wallace & Gromit.

For those unfamiliar with the clay-animation heroes and multiple Oscar winners, Wallace is a veddy English gentleman with an eye for the ladies and a tummy for bread and cheese, and Gromit is his beagle-ish sidekick, the brains of the outfit.

In this 30-minute gem, the funniest movie duo since Laurel & Hardy have converted their home into a successful granary/bakery. They're making a nice living, but Gromit is mildly concerned that there is, shall we say, a "cereal killer" doing away with bakers.

While his master gets dough-eyed for a gal named Piella, Gromit solves London's greatest murder mystery since Jack the Ripper. Put an X next to this on your Oscar ballot.

That's the best, here's the rest.

From Ireland comes "Granny O'Grimm's Sleeping Beauty," Nicky Phelan's fractured fairy tale about a decidedly uncuddly Gran. She tells her daughter's daughter a comically frightening, and not entirely coherent, version of the legend in which the heroine is an older woman taking her revenge on young beauties. Interesting use of both 3-D CGI animation and 2-D hand-painted sequences.

France has two nominated entries. "Logorama," set in a Los Angeles made entirely of corporate logos, is the more inventive. A send-up of both heist films and corporate branding, Logorama is a world where a deranged Ronald McDonald stalks the Michelin Man.

Set in a Parisian cafe, "French Roast" is a beautifully rendered short, but its artistry is better developed than its story. Its use of mirrors and fixed perspective is very compelling; its story about a man who lost his wallet and a beggar demanding money less so.

Produced by Antonio Banderas, Spain's "The Lady and the Reaper" is a charming tale of a widow who would like to join her husband in the hereafter and the surgeon determined to save her life, despite the Grim Reaper's best efforts.


Contact movie critic Carrie Rickey

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Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts

Parent's guide: Unrated ().