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Thursday
Nov192015

The animated short films Oscar shortlist

Tim here. Today, the Academy announced that it has whittled the initial list of 60 titles eligible for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar down to ten finalists that will go on to compete for the five nominations in January. Like all of you, I imagine, I haven't seen most of these ten, but let's run through them quickly to see what we've got:

Bear Story (Historia de un oso) - Gabriel Osorio, director; Pato Escala, producer (Punkrobot Animation Studio)
This Chilean effort - Cartoon Brew notes that it would be the first Chilean film ever nominated if it makes it - looks to be a toy-esque animal fable done in charmingly plasticky CGI. Trailer

Carface (Autos Portraits) - Claude Cloutier, director (National Film Board of Canada)
A car with, get this, a face, sings "Que Sera, Sera", accompanied by images in thick lines and full color of cars and machines. It never does to count out the NFB, which has one of the most reliable histories of producing terrific animated shorts anywhere in the world. Trailer

The other eight nominees below the jump

If I Was God… - Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada)
CGI, puppet animation, and hand drawing combine under the hand of the legendary Barker, whose The Cat Came Back is one of the NFB's very finest moments. Clip

Love in the Time of March Madness - Melissa Johnson and Robertino Zambrano, directors (High Hip Productions and KAPWA Studioworks)
This one has been floating around a while, winning an award at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival. It's semi-autobiographical for Johnson (one of just two woman directors whose work is in play), and the trailer showcases beautiful high-contrast black-and-white that resembles a particulaly gifted student's notebook sketches. Trailer

My Home - Phuong Mai Nguyen, director (Papy3D Productions)
The highest-profile release yet for Papy3D, a collective of animators banding together to produce and distribute their films, and a beautiful looking debut whose flat aesthetic resembles what I'd expect if Song of the Sea's Tomm Moore directed an episode of South Park. Trailer

An Object at Rest - Seth Boyden, director (California Institute of the Arts)
The primary training ground for American animators, CalArts has seen its students's thesis films show find Oscar lover in the past. It's a soft, watercolor-style fable of life on a geological scale, and Boyden has kindly made the whole thing available on Vimeo.

Prologue - Richard Williams, director; Imogen Sutton, producer (Animation Masterclass)
Williams is one of animations living legends, a dogged individualist whose dream project The Thief and the Cobbler is one of the great aborted projects in all of cinema. Prologue is itself the tease for a longer project, but respect for the man himself should enough to carry this to a nomination. Trailer

Sanjay’s Super Team - Sanjay Patel, director; Nicole Grindle, producer (Pixar Animation Studios)
You'll be able to see it in front of The Good Dinosaur. If that film, this film, and Inside Out all swing nominations, Pixar will I believe set a record for most titles up for awards in one night from one animation studio.

We Can’t Live Without Cosmos - Konstantin Bronzit, director (Melnitsa Animation Studio)
The winner of the top short film award at the most recent Annecy Film Festival, this highly-regarded short is apparently much more emotionally resonant than its simple cartoon aesthstic implies. Trailer

World of Tomorrow - Don Hertzfeldt, director (Bitter Films)
Michael C. loved it. I loved it. You should go love it too.

If I absolutely had to pick right now, my guesses for the nominations would be Bear Story, My Home, Prologue, We Can't Live Without Cosmos, and World of Tomorrow. What are your current predictions

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References (9)

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Reader Comments (8)

Live Action Shorts shortlist:
http://variety.com/2015/film/in-contention/oscars-10-live-action-short-films-advance-in-2015-race-1201644622/

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul Outlaw

If there is any justice in the world, surely Hertzfeldt has to get it? Such an astounding short. I was literally laughing one moment and then fighting back the tears and then laughing again!

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLuke

Tim-Disney used to dominate this category. They definitely would have received 3-4 nominations in the same year before. Look at something like 1938.

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

I'm hoping the NFB's "If I was God..." gets a nomination, but the Hertzfeldt film is very funny. I'm impressed by the variety and range, in times past there were maybe 3 nominees.

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLadyEdith

I think we need a feature devoted exclusively to National Film Board of Canada product.

Also, THE WORLD OF TOMORROW surely has to take this one... unless SANJAY just simply gets seen by more eyes.

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Much as I'd love to see Hertzfeldt take this one, I think the animators branch will also want to recognize Williams, a much-respected veteran who's never gotten his due from mainstream audiences. Would be hard to imagine how any of these could be better than Hertzfeldt's though.

November 20, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C.

I'm just relieved that the horrible "Lava" wasn't nominated.

November 21, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJames

Lava had its qualifying run last year if I'm not mistaken (although I never saw the full list of eligible films). Needless to say it wasn't nominated.

Unfortunately the Academy has criminally given little attention to Don Hertzfeldt after nominating Rejected 15 years ago. All three films in It's Such a Beautiful Day were eligible but none were nominated. I'm not holding my breath for World of Tomorrow, although it really was tremendous.

I'm thinking Sanjay's Super Team can grab a nomination, although Pixar hasn't been nominated since La Luna in 2011 and hasn't won since For the Birds ten years earlier.

November 23, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterajnrules

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