The idea of releasing the ten Academy Award nominated animated and live-action short films in one package into theaters is such a great one that it's a wonder no one thought of it sooner than a few years ago. As with any collection of shorts, these are always a mixed bag, especially given the Academy's century-long penchant for awarding "important" films rather than good ones. But lo and behold, there are some wonderful things here, too, and one, The Lady and the Reaper, that is just flat-out excellent.
I will refrain from making any predictions here, as it's nearly impossible to guess whether the Academy is interested in quality or in the mood for messages. Not to mention that there is one X-factor: Nick Park. Up to now, Park has won every single Oscar he has been nominated for, except one, and that's only because Creature Comforts and A Grand Day Out competed against each other in 1989 and one of them had to lose. Will the Academy feel obligated to give Park a fifth Oscar? Or has Wallace & Gromit grown a little tired over the years? Personally, I found A Matter of Loaf and Death highly accomplished and enjoyable, but fairly minor; it's not much different from the last entry, A Close Shave.