Indie-mation, Reviews

[Review] Oscar Nominated Shorts: ‘Borrowed Time’

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In our final review of this week’s mini review series of the Academy Award nominated animated shorts, we’re going to discuss Borrowed Time, an independent animated short by Pixar artists Lou Hamou-Lhadj and Andrew Coats. The short tells the heart-wrenching story of a a weathered Sheriff who returns to the remains of an accident he has spent a lifetime trying to forget.

I remember seeing this short for the first time a few months ago when it was available on Vimeo for a limited time and being absolutely in awe. I had been following the team for a little while, but was not sure what to expect from the short. It looked visually very appealing, but also very much like a fun short for all ages – which it didn’t turn out to be.


We can’t talk about Borrowed Time without discussing its story. Short films are a great medium for visual storytelling and this short does a great deal of that. While at first glance this might look like another fun animated short for all ages, that is definitely not the case. Borrowed Time is a beautiful and mature story about loss and finding the strength to move on. The short is very simple yet very powerful. I loved how they managed to get this much emotion and feeling into a six-minute short, as some filmmakers don’t manage to get it done in a 90-minute or so film. I also loved how mature it was and how they managed to combine a more cartoony visual style with such a mature and dark story.

From a visual standpoint this short delivers on every aspect and the visuals definitely enhance the story. From the beautiful lighting to the fantastic animation to the unique designs, the team delivered a incredibly high quality short on all fronts. As someone who loves design, watching this short was a treat. It had some of the best character and set designs I’ve seen in a while (and especially for a short with a limited budget), some of the best lighting that clearly enhanced the emotional beats of the story, and some incredible animation that really brought on every little emotion that they wanted you to feel.


One of my favorite scores of all time is The Last of Us video game score, and to my surprise, Gustavo Santaolalla, who composed that score for The Last of Us, also composed the music for Borrowed Time. The short’s music, and sound mixing, is absolutely fantastic and Santaolalla once again delivers an exciting, original, score that beautifully fits the short. In addition to the score, the wonderful sound mixing brings you right into the short and doesn’t let you out until it’s over.

Borrowed Time is probably my favorite short up for the award this weekend and definitely deserves to win. It delivers on all fronts and doesn’t get boring even after watching it over and over again. The amazing visuals, the fantastic story, the beautiful score, and all these things combined would make this a very much deserved win for sure.

What do you think of Borrowed Time? Should it win the Oscar?

Edited by: Hannah Wilkes

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About Max

Max is an animation addict from The Netherlands. His favorite animated movies are Beauty and the Beast and Ratatouille, and he is a big fan of everything Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks related. He loves reading and collecting art books and one day he hopes to work for a major animation studio. Follow his art blog: