Lindsey Bahr and Emily Rome
February 13, 2013 AT 09:17 PM EST


Man’s best friend, guacamole, marriage, Ayn Rand and paper airplanes are just a few of the subjects tackled in this year’s lineup of Oscar-nominated animated shorts.

All these films have in common is that they’re under 40 minutes long and created through some form of animation.  Otherwise, the films are wildly different in both tone and technique. Some are stop-motion films, some are hand-drawn, others computer-generated — and one is a hybrid.

As you get ready to fill out your own personal Oscar ballot, here’s a look at the funny, sweet, and serene stories facing off in the animated shorts category this year.

EW checked in with the directors of all the animated shorts to talk about the experience of making each film. We’ve included videos of the full films where available, but be sure to check out ShortsHD’s website for the Oscar-nominated shorts for information about where they’re playing in local theaters and how you can access the films on iTunes and VOD.

Adam and Dog

Fresh Guacamole

Head Over Heels

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”


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