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Oscar 2022 Nominations: Animated Shorts Ranked and Where to Watch

The Oscar 2022 nominations were announced in early February. Each year I attempt to watch all the nominations and utterly fail -- partially because it's not always easy to find the nominations in some of the categories. Animated shorts is one of the categories I always neglect. Not this year!

Below find my take on all the 2022 nominated animated shorts, ranked from my least to most favorite. As part of the list, I include a link to watch, if available. Alternatively, you can find a theater showing all the shorts here. The Oscars will air on March 27, 2022 on ABC.

Affairs of the Art, directed by Joanna Quinn 

Joanna Quinn has created multiple shorts featuring Beryl, a Welsh housewife with artistic proclivities. In this chapter, Beryl introduces us to her oddball family. Maybe if I had seen some of Beryl's earlier exploits, I would have been more charmed by this grotesque and alienating dump. I don't enjoy crude humor. I appreciate the concept of entering into the life of an oddball, but as a standalone chapter, Quinn added no material to help us enter into Beryl's world. I felt repulsed by the narrative and the hand-drawn animation style, and there was quite a bit of animal cruelty involved that was played off for laughs. This was not for me at all. Watch here.

The Windshield Wiper, directed by Alberto Mielgo

A man in a cafe asks, "What is love?" A series of images show different stages of romance as an answer. The visuals on this short animation are astounding but I found the storytelling itself to be tiresome and draining. Yes yes, in an era of social media and lazy swiping, we fail to make meaningful connections. I hope this artist can use this amazing style on a more unique story in the future. Watch here.

Robin Robin, directed by Dan Ojari and Mikey Please

In this adorable and sweet stop-motion animation, an abandoned robin is taken in and raised by a family of mice. Mice are good at sneaking, but Robin's attempts to sneak prove unsuccessful. Robin's desire to prove himself sets him on a grand adventure that will involve a magpie with a broken wing, a Christmas star, and a cat with an appetite. The felted animal characters present a message of inclusivity and appreciation for differences. The engaging characters and well-crafted writing keep this Ugly Duckling reboot from feeling too familiar. This is the only short on this list that is accessible for the whole family. Watch on Netflix.

Bestia, directed by Hugo Covarrubias

Still trying to wrap my ahead around this powerful wordless short. A woman on a plane thinks back to her past life in Chile. None of this is explained, but it's the true story of Ingrid Olderock, a secret police agent who lived during the military dictatorship in 1970s Chile. The story begins simply: a woman plays with her dog and travels back and forth to a mysterious house. As the story begins, we begin to sense that Ingrid's daily rituals reveal something sinister about her job. The story packs quite a punch with its series of images, like thoughts of a fractured mind. Your mind fights to understand what you are seeing to fill in the blanks. Director Covarrubias brings to light crimes and atrocities that have gone unpunished in his country. While it's not a pretty story, it's a powerful unforgettable visual experience. A written epilogue for context would have been helpful for viewers not familiar with Chilean history. Watch here

Boxballet, directed by Anton Dyakov

A sweet opposites attract story to set your cynical heart ablaze. The animation style takes on the exaggerated, rather than using a picturesque approach. A ballerina and boxer meet cute in the subway. Although they don't seem like a good fit, it turns out they are better together than apart. Watch here