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Here’s my look at the five Academy Award nominees for best animated short. I’m particularly taken with “Paperman,” “Head Over Heels” and “Fresh Guacamole.”

For more information on seeing these shorts in theaters beginning February 1, click here.

Previously: The Vote looks at the live-action short nominees.

“Paperman”
 
A beautiful, fun, inventive, suspenseful and certainly magical story from director John Kahrs, “Paperman” ranks among the top romances of 2012 in film. (Read this Ellen Wolff story in Variety for more about Disney’s resurgence in animation.

 

“Head Over Heels”
 
I didn’t think it would be possible for me to enjoy a short this year more than “Paperman,” but Timothy Reckart’s “Head Over Heels” affected me deeply in its 11 minutes. The concept is simple yet original, the storytelling — of what might be considered an alternate version of the couple in “Up” — moving. (Read more about the year in stop-motion animation in this Iain Blair story for Variety.)

 

“Fresh Guacamole”


My kids and I watched this one on YouTube over and over again. It ain’t deep, but it’s mesmerizing.

 

“Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare'”

Though amusing and charming in spots and even briefly moving, “Longest Daycare” doesn’t feel particularly special. It’s not even Maggie’s greatest adventure at the Ayn Rand School for Tots — in the 1992 “The Simpsons” episode “A Streetcar Named Marge,” Maggie led a priceless “Great Escape”-like flight from captivity.

 

 “Adam and Dog”

Minkyu Lee’s story of the life of man’s first best friend is nice — and vivid — but not especially revelatory.

You can read more about the animated shorts in this Charles Solomon piece for Variety.