‘Room on the Broom’ leads the pack of Oscar-nominated shorts at E Street Cinema

The Oscar-nominated “Room on the Broom” is quite a ride. (Magic Light Pictures)
The Oscar-nominated “Room on the Broom” is quite a ride. (Magic Light Pictures)

There are two emails I’m constantly looking for. One has the subject line “BENEDICT CUMBERBATCH INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITY”; the other “Oscar-Nominated Shorts at E Street Cinema.” The first hasn’t arrived (yet), but the second comes along each year and makes me oh-so-happy.

I adore short films, especially animated ones. My favorite of this year’s five nominated animated shorts is the British “Room on the Broom,” which is adapted from a book about a witch who acquires a number of companions as she flies along. The other four were pretty uninspiring — though I’ve only seen Disney’s “Get a Horse!” in 2-D, which I suspect flattened things (ha!) a bit.

The half-hourlong “Room on the Broom” is a children’s story, but that doesn’t make it childish. It effectively embraces and showcases the gamut of emotions that childhood can run (the cat, the witch’s primary companion, is essentially dealing with a monstrous case of sibling rivalry). I really did laugh out loud. I really did almost cry.

It’s not news that films for kids can be meaningful entertainment for adults (thanks, Pixar!). But often when it comes to the Oscars, the kids films get shoved aside for the more “grown-up” works. Last year’s winner, the astounding “Paperman,” was a cartoon rom-com; in each of the few years before that, the Academy recognized films that were quite dark, including 2010’s winner, the expletive-laden, hyper-violent “Logorama.” This year, though, the film that best showcased the medium was “Room on the Broom” — the film that shows the animated shorts category isn’t just for grownups anymore.

Disney’s “Get a Horse!” will screen along with “Room on the Broom” and the other Oscar-nominated shorts (both animated and live-action), exclusively beginning Friday at the Landmark E Street Cinema, 555 11th St. NW; 202-783-9494. (Metro Center)

Kristen Page-Kirby covers film for The Washington Post Express.
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