The 2022 Oscars will get Animated Shortly…

Once again, ShortsTV has brought this year’s batch of Oscar nominated Live Action, Documentary, and Animated Short Films to a global audience.  Here’s our rundown of the Documentary selections.

Contributing reviewers are Erik Yates and Paul Hibbard.  Get an edge in your Oscar pool, and more importantly, be informed about some solid, if short, cinema that is being celebrated:

An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It


Charlie Kaufman meets The Matrix meets Wallace and Gromit meets Office Space meets Fight Club meets one the most inventive and intriguing animated shorts you will ever see.

– Paul Hibbard

My Year of Dicks


Hilarious animated film with brilliantly sharp comedy and perfect timing. The way it uses genre only adds to both the style and comedy. This feels unique and not a style that can be easily categorized.

– Paul Hibbard

Ice Merchants



Ice Merchants observes a father and son who live on the side of a mountain that overlooks a town.  Each day, the father takes the ice he has made in the cooler and straps he and his son into a parachute where they free fall from their house towards the town below, always losing their hats in the process.  They sell their ice and return to the home via a pulley.  Once home they fill the cooler with water to freeze overnight, eat their food, and enjoy their warm drink.  This continues day in and day out until one day the water in the cooler doesn’t freeze.  Summer is upon them.  When an avalanche of melting snow that breaks away from the mountain top above them knocks their ill-located home from its supports, they go freefalling without their parachute towards the town below.  

What happens after this is a subtle nod to the power of observation throughout the short run time.  The colors of the hats they wear match the color of the mugs they drink their warm liquid from.  It is obvious that the mug they never use has a color that they never wear on their hats.  It is the color of one they have lost before we encounter their daily ritual.  It is also the arms that wrap them up as they plunge towards earth.  What is waiting for them when they land also hints at the legacies of their lives based on the colors you have observed over time on both the hats they wear and the mugs they use.  An interesting use of color permeates this short, animated film as does the effect of grief, as it even mutes the exhilarating rush that these characters experience every day when they leap from their home to the town below.

– Erik Yates

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse


The AppleTV+ platform has produced some great content in its short streaming life.  This past year, their 2022 animated short film The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse emerges as the strongest entry in this year’s Oscar nominated list, and one of AppleTV+’s greatest offerings.  The short is based on a book of the same name by director Charlie Mackesy which he adapted with Jon Croker.  Upon watching this short film, I immediately felt the DNA of three unique and diverse projects including the animation of The Snowman (1982), the camaraderie and journey amongst the creatures of The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977), and the wisdom of Mr. Roger’s Neighborhood (1968-2001).  The film follows a boy (Jude Coward) who is sitting desiring to find a home.  He encounters a mole (Tom Hollander) who befriends him, and immediately serves as a kind and supportive voice in the boy’s life.  Together they set out on a journey for a home…and cake.  As in life, trials and danger come.  For the boy and mole, this is encapsulated by their encounter with the fox (Idris Elba).  Eventually, they will meet the horse (Gabriel Byrne).  Through this animated film, in its short run time, there are more profound takeaways than I could count that would truly change our culture, and even our planet, if they were truly taken to heart and lived out.  While perfectly appropriate for all ages, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse, like all good animated films, resonates even more powerfully for the adults who view this tender story.  It never shies away from the darker sides of life and its journey but provides a perspective that encourages all to face it squarely and soberly.  Even enemies to our journey and happiness can be turned into friends through actions that encapsulate the values Fred Rogers espoused, like kindness, bravery, and love.  In short, this is a subtle and subversive animated short film that leaves its viewers completely changed along the journey.  The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse is simply a delight and an animated short film that should not be missed. 

– Erik Yates

The Flying Sailor


The Flying Sailor takes a bit of Canadian history, and animates the rather fantastical story that emerged from it, to create a fever-dream suggestion of what might have been experienced by the protagonist at the heart of this story.  On December 6, 1917, a French cargo ship collided with a Norwegian ship resulting in an explosion in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.  The explosion came from the French ship carrying TNT and other flammables.  This film is dedicated to “Charlie Mayers-A sailor who, in the Halifax Explosion of 1917, flew over 2 kilometers and lived to tell about it. In this film, we get an animated visual of this man being blown off the docks and floating the 1.2 miles he is said to have flown, naked, before eventually landing.  The animated film creates the “life flashing before your eyes” effect in our protagonist as he sails whimsically through the air.  While the animated short film is a work of fiction, it is firmly rooted in a defining tragic moment of Canada’s history.

Erik Yates