For the past several years, I've gone to the IFC Center to watch the Academy Award-Nominated short films. At first I was reluctant to watch the animated films, because...I don't know...I guess I assumed cartoons, kids stuff, not worth the entry fee. But when a friend visited from Chicago last year, the documentary and live-action categories were sold out, so we went for the animated. Incredible! This year I ONLY went for the animated. I'm definitely on team there-are-too-many-white-people-nominated-for-mainstream-roles (mainly because I saw Creed, and while Stallone was Stallone and great at it, MICHAEL B. JORDAN! C'mon!) But! The short films are in a world of their own: many of them foreign, all of them with unknown talent. The one that really stuck out to me this year was World of Tomorrow, written, directed, produced, animated, and edited by Don Hertzfeldt. It features his 4-year-old niece, who was recorded while she was drawing pictures. I'm making it sound very much like what I was against when I initially described the animated shorts, but this is indeed bigger than kids stuff. Or, maybe it's just reminding us that a child's mind is actually perfect and forgiving and unafraid: the things we should want to get back to. The simple animation here is almost trippy. The plot is actually very complex: very scientific, but because the child is there, things seem believable and understandable. Plus, it's funny. I'm rooting for the Academy to find their values again, but I'm definitely rooting for Hertzfeldt and the rest of the artists who had a hand in the short films. Get to the IFC Center, people!