Discover the 2017 Oscar Short Film Nominees

Printer-friendly versionPrinter-friendly versionE-mail page to friendE-mail page to friendPDF versionPDF version
Average: 5 (1 vote)

Star2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films – Animated

“Blind Vaysha” (Canada, Directed by Theodore Ushev)

Wonderfully symbolic, and visually striking, this entry from the Great White North uses a woodcut art style to animate what seems like an old folk tale. Vaysha is a girl who is born with a different vision in each eye, the left one sees only the past, and the right one sees only the future. Considered blind by her village, the girl grows into womanhood frustrated by these two opposing sights. I first saw this at the Chicago International Film Festival as a member of their Short Animation jury, and it had the same power upon further review.

A Frame from the Animated Short ‘Blind Vashya’
Photo credit: Shorts HD/Magnolia Pictures

“Pearl” (USA, Directed by Patrick Osborne)

Creatively set only in motor vehicles, the story of a little girl who grows into a musician – inspired by her itinerant father – is touching and modern. In a scant six minutes, director Osborne tells this story, set against the landscape of the American dream. It also is a lesson of being who you are, but also landing upon the responsibilities of parenthood and its rewards. The combination of emotions and modern animation make this a must see.

“Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (UK/Canada, Directed by Robert Valley and Cara Speller)

This is the longest short (great oxymoron) at 35 minutes, and is an epic tale of two countries, a long-time friendship and an unforgettable character who influences everything. The story of Techno and his friend Robert unfolds over many years in Canada and eventually China, where Techno awaits a liver transplant after years of a hard life and harder drinking. As his fate is revealed, his life becomes a centerpiece of analysis, in which nothing stands in Techno’s way, until it does. Beautifully rendered, and touchingly real, despite the animated nature of the characters.

“Borrowed Time” (Canada, Directed by Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj)

Canada seems to be in the midst of an animation revolution, as this third nominee comes from that particular mix of cultures. This is actually American in legend, set in the late 1800s West, as a typical lawman of the era makes a journey to the point where his life changed forever. The film uses its distinctive character design to full measure, evoking the lost era in the story of a father and son at the edge of their destiny.

“Piper” (USA, Directed by Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer)

The entry from Walt Disney Studios and Pixar Animation was actually shown, old fashion style, before the feature film “Moana.” Exquisite in character design, it tells the story of a just-born sandpiper bird, learning the ways of the cruel but inviting world. Created by the top animators in the country, with the full support of a strong studio, the art of realism is so present that nature is now getting true competition. This is truly sumptuous on the big screen.

The 2017 Oscar Nominated Short Films – split into Live Action and Animated presentations – are currently at the Landmark Century Centre Cinema, 2828 North Clark Street, Chicago. See local listings for additional theaters and show times. For more Chicago information, click here. Not rated, although the animated “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” would be an “R” rating if it was so judged. senior staff writer Patrick McDonald

Writer, Editorial Coordinator

© 2017 Patrick McDonald,

User Login

Free Giveaway Mailing


  • Manhunt

    CHICAGO – Patrick McDonald of appears on “The Morning Mess” with Dan Baker on WBGR-FM (Monroe, Wisconsin) on March 21st, 2024, reviewing the new streaming series “Manhunt” – based on the bestseller by James L. Swanson – currently streaming on Apple TV+.

  • Topdog/Underdog, Invictus Theatre

    CHICAGO – When two brothers confront the sins of each other and it expands into a psychology of an entire race, it’s at a stage play found in Chicago’s Invictus Theatre Company production of “Topdog/Underdog,” now at their new home at the Windy City Playhouse through March 31st, 2024. Click TD/UD for tickets/info.

Advertisement on Twitter

archive Top Ten Discussions