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maryann johanson, striking from a hidden base

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2019 (91st Academy Awards) review

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2019 green light Bao

MaryAnn’s quick take…

My pick: The animated short of the year surely must be Domee Shi’s “Bao,” a bittersweet reverie on motherhood that features one of the most hilariously shocking moments onscreen this year.tweet
I’m “biast” (pro): nothing
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)

The animated short of the year surely must be Domee Shi’s “Bao” [IMDb|official site], a by turns bittersweet and startling reverie on motherhood that features one of the most hilariously shocking moments onscreen this year. When a Chinese woman’s handmade dumpling, or bao, sprouts a face and a little body, she raises it as her own child, only to face the usual chagrin when her little friend begins to assert his independence and individuality. I’d be delighted if it won the Oscar… and I think it will. [watch at Amazon US|iTunes US|iTunes Can]

The other nominees:

• “Weekends” [IMDb|official site], by Trevor Jimenez, a dreamlike and occasionally outright nightmarish stream-of-consciousness look at one year in the life of a child of divorce bouncing between two homes and two parents with their own diverging lives. [watch at Amazon US|Amazon UK|iTunes US|iTunes Can|iTunes UK|Kanopy]

• “Late Afternoon” [IMDb|official site], by Louise Bagnall, an impressionistic reverie in which an elderly woman with Alzheimer’s gets lost in memories only to find her way back to the present.

• “One Small Step” [IMDb|official site] by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, a lovely ode to a young girl’s losing faith in her dream of becoming an astronaut, and finding it again when reminded of how totally supportive her father was of her ambitions. [watch at Amazon US|Amazon UK|iTunes US|iTunes Can|iTunes UK]

• “Animal Behaviour” [IMDb|official site], by Alison Snowden and David Fine, a rather obvious peek in on a group therapy session in which various mammals and insects discuss their personal problems… which are their defining characteristics as animals (a praying mantis can’t get a date because she eats her partners after sex; a cat is obsessed with self-grooming); I kept expecting a punchline or a twist that never came.


see also:
Oscar Nominated Documentary Shorts 2019 (91st Academy Awards) review
Oscar Nominated Live Action Shorts 2019 (91st Academy Awards) review


Click here for my ranking of this and 2019’s other releases.



green light 3.5 stars

Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2019 (91st Academy Awards) (2019) | directed by Domee Shi, Trevor Jimenez, Louise Bagnall, Andrew Chesworth, Bobby Pontillas, Alison Snowden, David Fine
US/Can release: Feb 08 2019
UK/Ire release: direct to VOD

MPAA: not rated
BBFC: not rated

viewed at home on PR-supplied physical media or screening link

official site | IMDb | trailer
more reviews: Movie Review Query Engine | Rotten Tomatoes

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