By Lisa Schwarzbaum
February 25, 2011 at 05:00 AM EST

There are no handy publicity campaigns to introduce you to the five live-action shorts and five animated shorts nominated for Oscars, but I can help. Here’s what’s in the running — and which are my favorites. Then it’s your turn to take a look — in theaters, on demand, or on iTunes — and pick your own. (As for Oscar odds, you’re asking the wrong bookie.)

I’d give the Oscar for Best Animated Short to the gorgeous, infinitely inventive Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage by Bastien Dubois — a vivid travel scrapbook that’s an artful riot of drawing styles. But I wouldn’t mind sharing a little love with the Australian fantasy The Lost Thing, based on a book by Shaun Tan about a boy who finds a…thing. Let’s Pollute, a satire of our wasteful society by Geefwee Boedoe, goes for a swingin’ faux-retro look to get the irony in the title across. Uncoupled from its place as a Pixar short before Toy Story 3, Teddy Newton’s Day & Night is a friendly, bland lesson in appreciating people different as, oh, you know, night and day. As for The Gruffalo, well, it’s got some fun movie-star voices in the mix, including Helena Bonham Carter, Robbie Coltrane, John Hurt, and Tom Wilkinson. But it’s still a dippy story (from a kids’ book by Julia Donaldson) about a brave mouse in the forest. Feel free to disagree. Animated shorts: B+

Read the Live-Action Shorts Review