If you ever wondered what it would look like to have a bunch of frogs partying in a suspiciously abandoned home, then “Garden Party” gives you that answer. Academy members in the short film branch took quite a shine to it as it became one of this year’s five nominees for Best Animated Short Film. It marks the first career nominations for Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon, two of the film’s six credited directors.
The film is set in a lavish mansion. Outside the mansion we see a frog hopping around the pool in the backyard and being followed by a slightly bigger frog. We start to see more of the house and notice that while there’s items all over the place, no one is actually there and the security cameras set up around it are shot. Another smaller frog is outside trying to catch a butterfly. A bigger frog is indulging in the food located in the kitchen including caviar and a delicious selection of pastries that it retrieves from a glass jar.
Another frog climbs into the house but we see it’s doing it through bullet holes in the window and the phone is off the receiver and hasn’t been placed back. As night descends on the beautiful property, another frog starts hopping around on a control panel and starts to turn on different features of the backyard including sprinklers, lights, music and water features located around the pool.
As all the frogs come outside and gather around the pool something starts to rise to the surface of the pool and that’s when the decomposing body of the house’s owner reaches the surface of the water. The music continues to play and the frogs continue having a happy-go-lucky celebration around the unoccupied villa.
The creators of these cool frogs could find themselves hopping up to the Oscar podium on Sunday night. Let’s examine the pros and the cons that the film brings to this year’s competition.
The animation is so well done that at times it doesn’t even look like you’re watching something that is computer animated.
The Academy loves short cartoons about animals or that have animals as central characters. This has been the case with the last four winners in this category: “Mr. Hublot” (2013), “Feast” (2014), “Bear Story” (2015) and “Piper” (2016).
The film is quite funny and charming and none of the other nominees really goes to that level, plus the surprise ending makes you want to go and re-watch it to pick up on the clues.
That twist can be a bit surprising and could be off-putting for some Academy voters.
Until the very end, viewers might find themselves questioning what the film is leading up to and what the point of the film is.
The story might be a little too abstract to claim victory.