A strong section for animation this year with THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE coming as a sure shoo-in as the winner.  Canada has THE FLYING SAILOR in competition.


Directed by Peter Baynton and Charlie Mackesy


This marvellously animated short is a story of kindness, courage, and hope in traditional hand-drawn animation, following the unlikely friendship of the title characters as they journey together, in the boy’s search for home.   Nothing beats kindness, says the mole.  It sits quietly among all things.  The short is set in the winter and has the feel of a fairy tale like LE PETIT PRINCE when the landscape is all white and pure.  The short is based on director Charlie Mackesy’s internationally bestselling book, THE BOY, THE MOLE, THE FOX AND THE HORSE, that was published in October 2019 and holds the record for the most consecutive weeks in the Sunday Times Non-Fiction Chart across all formats as well as being the longest running Sunday Times Non-Fiction Number One of all time.  The book has been translated into over 40 different languages and dialects.  The book and this animated short is nothing short of a minor masterpiece. Definitely the best of all the shorts and my bet for a shoo-in win.  The short soars to magnificent heights ever so often just as the horse soars as it reveals a secret at the end that he can fly.


THE FLYING SAILOR (Canada 2022) ***1/2

Directed by Amanda Forbis, Wendy Tilby 


THE FLYING SAILOR is animated from a true story involving a huge explosion at the Halifax harbour in  1917 in which two ships collided, one carrying large amounts of explosives. This is the remarkable account of a sailor who, blown skyward from the docks, flew a distance of two kilometres before landing uphill, naked and unharmed. The Flying Sailor is a contemplation of his journey.  Nothing much happens but the animation is excellent from the smoke emitting from the steam ships to the water in the harbour.  It is only 7 minutes long and is from the NFB (National Film Board of Canada.


ICE MERCHANTS (Portugal/France 2022) ***1/2

Directed by João Gonzalez


Every day, a father and his son jump with a parachute from their vertiginous cold house, attached to a cliff of an ice covered mountain, to go to the village on the ground, far away where they sell the ice they produce daily.  Trouble in paradise begins with global warming and the ice that they sell turns into water.  Worst still, their house grounded in the ice on the side of the mountain starts giving way.  Their lives are threatened.  The animation is seen as if shot from different cameras giving the film a realism seldom seen in animation.  The ice and snow and landscapes are also stunningly captured by director Gonzalez’s animation which makes this short totally magnificent.



Directed by Sara Gunnarsdóttir

Written by Pamela Ribon and directed by Sara Gunnarsdóttir , MY YEAR OF DICKS is the only animated short unsuitable for children for it is about losing a girl’s virginity.  It is likely chosen for the Oscar owing to its ‘special’ title and material.  The short is told in 3 chapters and it does not take a genius to guess when the girl loses her virginity.  It tells of a fifteen year-old stubbornly determined to lose her virginity despite the pathetic pickings in the outskirts of Houston in the early 90’s.  This is an adaptation of her mortifying memoir NOTES TO BOYS (AND OTHER THINGS I SHOULD NOT SHARE IN PUBLIC), which is not really very funny or enlightening.



(Australia 2022) **** 

Directed by Lachlan Pendragon 


Running at only 11 minutes and hilarious as hell, this is one animated short that one would not want to end, but it does just as the telemarketer’s world has come to an end.  If one recalls the premise of THE MATRIX where it is revealed that all mankind are nothing but computer generated beings being designed by some higher power human, the similar premise is used in this film with the long preposterous title of AN OSTRICH TOLD ME THE WORLD IS FAKE AND I THINK I BELIEVE IT.   A young telemarketer is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich, he learns that the universe is stop motion animation.  Funnier is that he has to put his current problems aside - his dwindling toaster sales and focus on convincing his colleagues of his terrifying discovery.   Sharp animation and even sharper humour make this my vote for second Best Animated Short!


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