Cumulatively clocking in at a brisk 40 minutes, this year's Oscar-nominated animated shorts are a uniformly charming bunch. The briefest is the 2-minute, stop-motion Fresh Guacamole, in which inedible objects—a grenade, a pincushion, a baseball—become a bowl of tasty dip. In Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare," Homer and Marge's infant daughter is dropped off at the Ayn Rand School for Tots. The short harks back to the dense wit of The Simpsons' earlier days—in 5 minutes, it packs a surfeit of mordant and clever images: Maggie wearing a caterpillar in a Frida Kahlo-style unibrow, a pot of paint labeled "bleakest black" and freaky Raggedy Ayn dolls. Adam and Dog is a lushly illustrated tale about man's best friend, while the dizzy-making Head Over Heels finds a long-married couple that has grown literally apart, with the husband living on the floor and the wife on the ceiling. But the most delightful of all might be Paperman, a 7-minute wisp that blends hand-drawn and computer-generated animation to tell the story of a missed connection in midcentury New York City. With its playful sound design, elegant black-and-white palette and bouncy paper-airplane choreography, Paperman delivers.
- Showing at: Hollywood.
- Best paired with: Anthem Pear Cider.
- Also showing: Promised Land (Academy, Laurelhurst).