1) BEAR STORY (CGI) Chile - Directed by Gabriel Osorio. A lonely bear remembering his formerly happy life is an allegory for Chile’s brutal political past. Oscar winner
2) PROLOGUE (2D) UK – from the master, Richard Williams, is a showcase for his formidable talents to raise money for the feature. It will be, he says, “graphic realism, these things are obviously drawings, but it will go into adult territory and will combine different styles. I want something that will be grim, but also funny and salacious and sexy.”
At last, more Animation for adults and who better to do it than Dick Williams.
3) SANJAY’S SUPER TEAM CGI) US – Directed by Pixar animator Sanjay Patel. Dialogue-free (i.e. international) episodes of family life and culture clashes. The design leaves a lot to be desired.
4) WE CAN’T LIVE WITHOUT COSMOS (2D) Russia. Written, directed and animated by Konstantin Bronzit. Two friends training to be cosmonauts. Very charming and sweet. My eyes did a little dance of delight at the sight of line animation.
5) WORLD OF TOMORROW (CGI) US - Written, animated and directed by Don Hertzfeldt. A little girl stick figure visits her future with many, many special effects, including a clone of herself. Science-fictiony and quite dark.
But animated stick figures? Really? Animation is so much work, why not design proper characters while you're at it?
1) ANOMALISA (stop-motion) US, Paramount - Written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, animated by Duke Johnson. More and more I’m thinking stop-motion should have its own category. It’s a very different form of animation. This particular example has chosen to use ultra realism (faces of real people) and the result is ultra-creepy. This, combined with the jerky, stylised movements makes it painful to watch and distracts enormously from the dialogue and story. I applaud the use of animation as a medium to tell an adult story, though.
2) BOY AND THE WORLD (mixed-media: crayon, cutouts, Photoshop) Brazil, GKIDS – Written and directed by Alê Abreu. A country boy goes to find his father in the big city with wordless social commentary. Fabulous music.
3) INSIDE OUT (CGI) from Pixar, US. Co-written and directed by Pete Docter and Ronnie del Carmen. A young girl’s personified emotions help her adjust to adolescence and social upheaval. Brilliant character animation. Hilarious dialogue and editing. Could this possibly not win? Oscar winner.
4) SHAUN THE SHEEP MOVIE (stop-motion) Aardman Animations, UK - Written and directed by Mark Barton and Richard Starzak. Shaun and his flock’s wordless adventures in the big city. Aardman’s characters have a uniquely goofy look and nobody does stop-motion dialogue like they do. Even when there isn't any.
5) WHEN MARNIE WAS THERE (2D) Japan, Studio Ghibli - Directed by Hiromasa Yonebayashi and based on the novel by Joan Robinson. Anna, a 12-year-old Japanese girl’s adventures in the country with blonde, blue-eyed Marnie. Beautiful camera angles and animation but the formulaic eyes and mouths are distracting.
ANIMATION, 2D, 3D, CGI, STOP-MOTION, MIXED MEDIA