Musing on the passage of time runs through this year's group of Oscar-nominated animated shorts. "A Single Life" (Netherlands, 2 min.), co-directed by Marieke Blaauw, Joris Oprins and Job Roggeveen, wittily makes its point about how we can — or cannot — control life's unfolding, using the clever gimmick of a 45 record.
You may have caught Patrick Osborne's "Feast" (U.S.A., 6 min.) when it opened before Big Hero 6; it relates the relationship between a man and his dog, and how domestic milestones affect what tidbits (and time) the man has for his pooch.
In "Me and My Moulton" (Canada-Norway, 14 min.), director Torill Kove ruminates on a 1960s Swedish childhood where her design-obsessed architect parents made her family's life just that much different from that of her friends. But in hindsight, there is much affection for her dad's mustache and her mom's affinity for Finnish fabrics.
More than 8,000 paintings make up "The Dam Keeper" (USA, 18 min.), Robert Kondo and Dice Tsutsumi's original fable about a friendless young pig who has the thankless task of keeping a mill running so the town doesn't suffocate from ash. A new student in school complicates the pig's view of life.
And finally there is death, in Daisy Jacob's "The Bigger Picture" (U.K., 7 min.), which tells the darkly humorous story of two brothers and their dying mother, using life-sized animated characters interacting via stop-motion with real sets.