- The Bigger Picture (Daisy Jacobs)
- The Dam Keeper (Daisuke Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo)
- Feast (Patrick Osborne)
- Me and My Moulton (Torill Kove)
- A Single Life (Joris Oprins)
Continuing on with the Oscar Circuit series, we come now to Best Animated Short. Oftentimes, this is a hard category to get correct, one that can mean the difference between winning or losing an Oscar pool (much like all of the shorts, incidentally). Notably, Disney/Pixar doesn’t fare too well here (outside of Paperman a few years ago), so it can occasionally be hard to familiarize yourself with the contenders. This year, there appears to be a slight frontrunner, from Disney no less, but it’s not the sort of leader/situation where you can’t foresee more than one title emerging victorious in the end. It appears to be a two horse race, but one that could certainly surprise. This makes for an intriguing category, for sure, not that this Academy Awards telecast needed any added intrigue, but still…it’ll be interesting. Now, let’s take a look at the category and see what we see.
First I have a bit of history for all of you, as usual for me in this series. The last dozen winners in this category have been Mr. Hublot, the aforementioned Paperman, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, The Lost Thing, Logorama, La Maison en Petits Cubes, Peter & the Wolf, The Danish Poet, The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation, Ryan, Harvie Krumpet, and The ChubbChubbs! to round things out. This category tends to avoid the more well known shorts, by and large, though this time it might be an exception.
The Bigger Picture is our first nominee, but sadly not a particularly likely winner. It’s not the least likely, but I think it would be a borderline shock if it comes through with the victory. Directed by Daisy Jacobs, who’s a first time Oscar nominee here, the short tells the story of caring for an elderly relative with a simple yet unusual animated style. As I said, it’s likely not going to win, but I certainly can see why the Academy chose to nominate it. Jacobs could easily be back contending for the prize again real soon, but a win won’t be in the cards for her this year, simply put. Others are way out in front.
The Dam Keeper comes next and is probably our number two contender for the win, going by what I’ve heard. Directed by Robert Kondo and Daisuke ‘Dice’ Tsutsumi (both first timers), it’s the future set story of a pig working at a windmill that keeps his small town from being polluted. A potentially environment-friendly message could hold sway with more issue minded voters, which is something to keep in mind. If Academy members are just voting based on entertainment value, they have something else that likely delighted them, but if they want to continue to shine a spotlight on real life as well, Oscar voters could send this one to the stage. I’m not sure it’ll happen (it’s a longer nominee at almost 20 minutes, for what that’s worth), but there’s at least the chance for an upset here.
Feast is the third nominee here and actually is our slight frontrunner currently, despite the mixed blessing of being a Disney product. Patrick Osbourne (another first time Academy Award nominee) directs this short that runs a svelte six minutes. It’s easily the most widely seen of the bunch, playing in front of Big Hero 6. For those of you who don’t know, it tells the tale of a man’s love life, as seen through the hungry eyes of his Boston Terrier, as it grows from a young puppy to an older dog. It’s rather touching and super cute, so while it’s probably the lightest of the nominees, it goes down really easy and would be a very fine winner. The odds favor it right now, but it’s hardly a lock. Still ,I don’t think that I would bet against it.
Me and My Moulton comes fourth and is hovering between third and fourth place in terms of how likely it is to win, ironically. No, it’s not the story of our relationship with Jack here at the site (both of you who laughed at that, thank you), but instead Torill Kove‘s short about a girl who wants a bicycle from her parents. Kove is a former winner in this category for The Danish Poet (while also having another nomination under her belt for My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts), so she’s the wily veteran of the bunch. The second longest of the nominees, it doesn’t really seem to have any buzz in its favor, so I don’t think it’ll wind up winning. It’s not the longest of the long shots though, so there’s that.
A Single Life is our final nominee in this category, as well as our least likely winner of the bunch (also our shortest, at just three minutes). Joris Oprins, one more first timer in the category, helms the tale of a woman who plays a vinyl record and winds up traveling throughout points in her own life. The only real consensus that I’ve found about this one is that no one thinks it can win. That doesn’t speak too highly of it, but in the short fields, sometimes it just winds up coming down to only one or two of the nominees. In this case, the nomination will have to be the sole reward here. Oprins could certainly contend again at some point in the near future…
I’d say about 75% of my fellow pundits are predicting Feast to win like I am, so I feel decently confident about that pick, though I will confess that I can totally see The Dam Keeper coming through at the last minute. Those are the two realistic ones and the only shorts that I’ve seen anyone predict for the win. That essentially leaves the trio of The Bigger Picture, Me and My Moulton, and A Single Life just happy to be nominated. Those three will look on as The Dam Keeper hopes to pull the upset against Feast. I don’t think it’ll happen, but it’s hardly an absolute impossibility. It’ll be on of those two though, I’m all but certain of that much. Stay tuned…
–Thoughts? Discuss in the comments!