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Don't miss out on the animated shorts this Oscar season

If your theater is playing the collection, check it out

Every year, cinephiles run themselves ragged trying to watch all of the films that received Best Picture nominations at the Oscars.

One of the best award show season experiences that most people aren't even aware they can partake in, however, is heading to the theater to catch a screening of all five films nominated in the Animated Short category.

Most cities offer screenings of the films closer to the actual date of the Oscars, but because there's no promotion behind any of the shorts, it's become an event most mainstream movie goers happen to stumble upon while waiting in line to buy tickets for something else.

This year, there are five short films that have been nominated for the golden statue, and most of them are very good.

The first, Bear Story, hails from Chile and tells a heartbreaking allegorical tale about living under the malevolent Pinochet regime during the 1970's. Director Gabriel Osoro wanted to make the short as accessible to audiences as possible and decided to use a lonely bear as the main character in the film.

In the short film, the bear builds an intricate machine that allows him to remember his life with his family before he was taken away from the only home he ever knew and forced to live in a circus.

Osoro, who worked on the project with his team at Punkrobot, a Chilean animation studio, told The Wrap it took them more than two years to create.

The second film, Prologue, was created by animation icon Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit) and follows the gory battle between a group of Spartan and Athenian warriors.

The short originally premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in Colorado last year, where it quickly earned frontrunner status for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awaerds.

The artwork, as seen in the trailer below, feels like a drawing come to life and uses 2D imagery instead of 3D animation for a more effective take on the story.

Williams has said before that this was meant to be a larger project, but admitted he may not ever get around to expanding it.

The third film, Sanjay's Super Team, is probably the one short nominated that mainstream audiences are aware of. If you went to watch Pixar's The Good Dinosaur in theaters, this was the short film that played before it.

Created by Sanjay Patel, Sanjay's Super Team was inspired by Patel's own childhood. The film focuses on a young boy who's trying to navigate his obsession with Western superhero figures and his father's desire for him to devote some time to their Hindu traditions.

It's one of the flashier short films, but it also includes a message that many can resonate with. At the end of the short film, Patel adds a photo of he and his father with a note about their relationship that just adds to the overall experience and makes it that much more intimate.

The fourth film, We Can't Live Without Cosmos, follows two astronauts as they train for their final mission before rocketing into space. Although the trailer leaves much unanswered, based on the tone of it, the chances that these two astronauts return home from their mission are slim to none.

Created by Konstantin Bronzit, the short film comes from Russia, and uses a more traditional style of cartoon to tell its tale. Running at 16 minutes, We Can't Live Without Cosmos is one of the longer shorts nominated for the award this year.

The final film, World of Tomorrow, is an emotional piece of science-fiction from American director Don Hertzfeldt (It's Such a Beautiful Day).

The film follows a young girl, Emily, who's contacted by a version of herself from hundreds of years into the future. As the short goes on, Emily gets to see different clone versions of herself that have lived different lives, each one with a cautionary tale about what could possibly happen.

By the end of the short, the message is clear: Emily is alive right now and the possibility of what lies ahead is endless. As her future self explains, she she should live life embracing everything that gets thrown her way and not focus on the trivialities that life can sometimes bring.

Although some of these shorts can be found online right now, the best way to experience them is still at a theater with an audience of people who are genuinely interested in the art form.

It's one of the best moviegoing experiences that can be had and is a less traditional way to get ready for the Oscars.

The Oscars will air Sunday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. ET on ABC.

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