The Oscar Nominated Short Films 2013: Animation

Rated 4.0

Taken together, this year's animated short-form Oscar nominees show how entertaining a movie can be even without spoken dialogue. In less than two minutes, Fresh Guacamole serves up much foodie whimsy from the stop-motion maestro known as PES, who's long found fun inspiration in resemblances between household objects. In the Disney ditty Paperman, romance takes flight amid an old gray urban bureaucracy. Head Over Heels is the detailed puppet parable of an aging husband and wife who've drifted apart—gravitationally. The exquisitely painterly Adam and Dog traces the man's-best-friend bond all the way back to the Garden of Eden. Maybe the most richly realized of the lot is The Simpsons: The Longest Daycare, an offshoot of the long-running animated series that's more dolefully funny and narratively controlled than that series has been in years. All of them do a fine job of showing instead of telling.