Oscars-nominated animated short films tackle tough topics like war, incest

ByGeorge Pennacchio OTRC logo
Thursday, March 7, 2024
Oscars' animated shorts tackle tough topics like war, incest
The animated short films up for this year's Oscars tackle some tough topics, like Sean Lennon's use of his father's music to examine war.

LOS ANGELES -- Most of us are fairly well informed about the more high-profile categories at the Oscars. It's often harder to find some of the other films being celebrated.

So to help get you Oscar ready, here's a little love to the films up for Best Animated Short.

"Letter to a Pig" involves a Holocaust survivor sharing his traumatic story with students and how hearing what happened to him affects one of the kids in the class.

"This is a unique mixed media that I developed for this film that integrates segments of live action with hand-drawn animation on paper, frame by frame," said writer/director Tal Kantor. "So we did film actors in a green screen studio. It's just two films in one film, basically."

War is also a theme in "War is Over!" inspired by the music of John Lennon and Yoko Ono. Their son Sean is one of the executive producers.

"The idea was to re-frame a song that was fairly famous, that most people knew already, so it was actually hard to figure out how to bring a new element to it with the film," said Sean Lennon. "And then when the song comes, it's sort of re-framed in a new context. So we hope that it succeeded. And it seems that it has."

The story is told as two soldiers on opposite sides of a conflict play chess, with the help of a carrier pigeon. Neither soldier has any idea who he's playing.

"At the end of the film, we hope people are left with this idea that no matter how much you think you're an enemy of another person, that maybe there's a path to peace," said writer/director Dave Mullins.

"Pachyderme" takes on the harrowing subjects of incest and abuse and how a little girl copes with the pain. Its filmmakers say their movie deals with the monsters of everyday life and childhoods stolen.

"Ninety-Five Senses" looks back on one elderly man recalling each of his senses with the little time he has left to still enjoy them. This was made by the people behind "Napoleon Dynamite."

"I think you're expecting 'Napoleon Dynamite' and then you're getting something so different. And that's the surprise and the twist. And Chris, our writer, created this beautiful screenplay that's so poignant and human," said co-director Jerusha Hess.

DON'T MISS the 2024 Oscars live Sunday on ABC! Red carpet coverage starts at 1 p.m. ET | 10 a.m. PT with "Countdown to Oscars: On The Red Carpet Live." At 4 p.m. ET | 1 p.m. PT, live coverage continues with "On The Red Carpet at the Oscars," hosted by George Pennacchio with Roshumba Williams, Leslie Lopez and Rachel Brown.

The 96th Oscars, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel, begins at 7 p.m. ET | 4 p.m. PT, an hour earlier than past years, followed by an all-new episode of "Abbott Elementary."