Went last week to see the five short animated films nominated for an Oscar. Figured it might help me win the workplace Academy Awards contest. Looked later and saw that the contest doesn’t include that category. Oh, well.

Even so, the five films were fun to see. Which one will win?

Short answer: Don’t know.

It depends on whether Oscar voters pick the film with the most intriguing art work, the big message, the cute idea or the best story.

“Madagascar, a Journey Diary,” captivated me with its different styles of animation and its scenes of another world.

“Let’s Pollute” had the big message, packaged in absurdity.

And “Day & Night” was cute in the way we’ve come to expect from the folks at Pixar.

But if voters go for story, my guess is they’ll choose “The Gruffalo.”

It’s a children’s tale, a story of a little mouse that must use his wits to keep from being eaten by a fox, an owl and a snake. Helena Bonham Carter provides the voice for the mother/storyteller.  The story keeps you wondering what will happen next, just as a children’s story should.  And when it starts looking predictable, in comes a new twist.

A close second for storyline was “The Lost Thing.” The film certainly had a delightful strangeness to it. A boy finds an odd creature (part machine/part animal?) on the beach and helps to figure out where it belongs. What I felt was missing was a way to connect and care more about the creature. (If the Pixar people had done this, I would have felt the tug on my heartstrings faster than you can say “WALL-E.”)

“The Gruffalo” got me caring about its hero. We’ll see if that’s enough for it to capture an Oscar.

– Robert Digitale