Two space-themed animated short films will compete this weekend to take home one of the biggest movie prizes in the world, an Academy Award.
The two films, "We Can't Live Without Cosmos" and "World of Tomorrow," are nominated in the Short Film (Animated) category. The former is the story of two cosmonauts in training, and the tight bond they form over their shared passion for space. The latter is the surreal story of a young girl who is visited by a clone of herself from the future.
Both films are available to watch online. "We Can't Live Without Cosmos" is available for free via The New Yorker YouTube channel. "World of Tomorrow" is currently on Netflix, or to rent or buy through Vimeo (opens in new tab). And besides these two films, we will, of course, be rooting for "The Martian" to win all seven Oscar categories it is nominated in.
"We Can't Live Without Cosmos," by Russian animator and director Konstantin Bronzit, features no voice actors or narrator. It is purely through Bronzit's animation that the audience learns the story of the two cosmonauts in training, sharing in their unbridled enthusiasm for space travel while counting down to the big day. This nonverbal style is typical of Bronzit's style, which he used in his 2007 film "Lavatory Lovestory," also nominated for an Oscar.
"World of Tomorrow" is the latest in a long line of strange, hilarious and thoughtful films by Don Hertzfeldt. In his signature style, Hertzfeldt draws his characters as simple stick figures, but in "World of Tomorrow" he incorporates colorful backgrounds and other visual effects. The story follows Emily, a 4-year-old girl from present day, and a clone of Emily from many years in the future. The pair go on a journey through the terrifying and hilarious reality that Emily's future clone calls home (including a trip to the moon). In only 16 minutes, the film dives deep into the meaning of identity and self. Hertzfeldt's short film "Rejected" was also nominated for an Oscar in 2000.
The 2016 Academy Awards will take place Sunday (Feb. 28) at 8:30 p.m. EDT.