With only a few more days left until the 87th Annual Academy Awards, it’s time for us Rotoscopers to take a look at everything animation-related that is nominated for an award this year. Of course we’ve already discussed a lot of the nominated animated feature films like The Lego Movie snub but we haven’t really been able to focus on the nominated animated shorts of this year yet. That is why we are going to celebrate all the nominated animated shorts and their incredibly talented makers throughout this week. Starting today, we’re going to review one of the nominated animated shorts each day. We’re going to talk about what we liked and disliked about the short and why we think the short is Oscar-worthy. On Saturday we will recap all the nominated shorts and some of our writers will discuss their favorite short and why they think that particular short deserves the Oscar most.
First up is the quick but rather clever Dutch animated short, A Single Life, created by Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins, and Job Roggeveen. At only 2 minutes and 18 seconds, it’s the shortest animated piece nominated in this category for this year, but it packs a huge comedic and emotional punch given its brisk run time.
The film starts with a young woman, presumably in her late 20’s based on the events of the short, just sitting down and enjoying a pizza while playing a record. By accident, the young woman finds out that by moving the needle around on her record player (which is playing a song called, “The Single Life”), she can move to different points in her life, in both the past and the future. She starts by only moving the record a little bit, playing with time so that the pizza she ate becomes whole and then making it go back again. However, she starts getting a little more adventurous and eventually goes further into the future to a time where she is pregnant and to a time when she is elderly and wheelchair bound. She manipulates her life span many times to see what her life is, was, and will be. While this may sound like a dream to many people, eventually, a song will end and that’s what the young woman in this short comes to realize.
Of course, the lifeblood of most animated shorts is humour and that is no different here. While the jokes revolve around the record player and its time-skipping ability, they are funny and never out stay their welcome, which is saying a lot considering how short this film is. The CG animation here also works well, making everything look funny and cute. The ending of the short, while not funny like the rest of the piece, still packs a comedic punch while adding a healthy dose of morbidity. Each viewer’s reaction to the ending will definitely depend on their ability to take some black humour.
Originally, based on only the title of the short and a solitary picture, I thought this film would be about how many women were living ‘the single life’ and how hard it is to date and drink wine, but boy was I wrong. In reality, A Single Life is about, well, how each person gets a single life! We only have one life to live and it is our job on this earth to live it. There is no need to speed up time, just let it take its course and enjoy every minute you have. It is such a simple message but A Single Life presents it in such a way that I didn’t get it until the very last scene. So, it’s because of the clever jokes, cute animation, and simple premise and theme that A Single Life gets my vote for the Best Animated Short Subject in this year’s Academy Awards! Now, unlike the poor, poor unnamed girl, let’s ignore any time-skipping record players we see, alright?
Special thanks to shorts.tv who provided review copies of the nominated shorts.
Come back tomorrow for our review of Disney’s Feast!
Your opinions on A Single Life? Funny? Morbid? Both?
Edited by: Kelly Conley