Blind Vaysha (B)
This isn’t so much a narrative short film as it is a life lesson, presenting a parable in which its protagonist can only see the past with her left eye and the future with her right eye. As a result, she is never able to live in and experience the present, and removing one eye would cut her off either from what has happened or what will. It’s thought-provoking but presents more questions in eight minutes than answers.
Borrowed Time (B)
It’s rare to find an animated film, short or feature-length, that’s also a Western. This dramatic piece finds a sheriff grappling with a traumatizing childhood memory that has deeply affected him. There’s not all that much to it, but it does tell a simple and powerful story featuring just two characters and some decent scenery.
Pear Cider and Cigarettes (B+)
This is by far the longest of all the nominees - longer than all the others combined, in fact - and tells a magnetically interesting tale of a man and the way his life was defined by that of his charismatic friend. It's gripping and involving for its full 35 minutes, even if it ends somewhat abruptly.
This one is cool since it tells the story of a car and the family that tours that country using it. It’s a wonderful, whimsical look at formative events in the life of a daughter and her father, all creatively told from the passenger seat of the car. It’s also available to watch in VR, which adds even more dynamism to its perspective.
This is the token entry that played before a popular feature-length animated film - “Finding Dory” in this case - and has therefore been seen by a much wider audience than is normal. This sweet story of a bird who is afraid of the water is enormously entertaining and cute, and will certainly please children if not most adults as well.
Previous winners: Bear Story, Feast, Mr. Hublot, Paperman, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, The Lost Thing, Logorama, Le Maison en Petits Cubes
Who should win: I think I’d choose “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” over “Piper,” both any of these would be fine.
Who will win: I suspect that Pearl will be the winner, but Goldderby odds suggest it has the least likely shot. I’ll stick with it anyway even though the shorts races are notoriously unpredictable.