As we point out every year, picking the big categories at the Oscars is easy — sentiment and other awards and past voting practices make for a formula that is easy to call, even when it changes over Awards season — see THE KING’S SPEECH. So to truly ace your Oscar picks and win the big prize, you’ve got to master the obscure categories like Best Documentary Short and Best Animated Short. We don’t handicap the first category — although you can’t go wrong picking anything about horrible genocide topics like AIDS, Rwanda, the Holocaust and so on.
But for the animated category? Read on!
Day And Night Directed by Teddy Newton You probably saw this already as it was in front of TOY STORY 3 one of the year’s biggest hits. A clever, conceptual short that harkens back to ’60s UAP productions with line art in the service of 3D CGI. Clever, but not heart-warming. Watch the whole thing on a Chinese pirate site if you dare.
Directed by Jakob Schuh and Max Lang
BBC animated adaptation of a children’s book starring the voices of Helena Bonham Carter and Robbie Coltrane. Beautiful but a bit slick for this category.
Directed by Geefwee Boedoe
Another Pixar alum, and a Reuben-winning illustrator, Boedoe has produced a sharp fable about pollution. Another take-off on ’50/’60s educational films. Gets seriousness points and looks handmade!
The Lost Thing Directed by Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann
A boy finds a mysterious thing and…mysterious, beautiful things happen. We’re a bit prejudiced because we love Shaun Tan, but this is imaginative and lovely and probably should win.
Madagascar, Carnet de Voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)
Directed by Bastien Dubois
A colorful mix of animation styles capture the vibrancy of Madagascar.
And so…the winner is…? Madagascar might get the “multicultural” vote, and “Let’s Pollute” the socail consciousness vote, but The Lost Thing has the je ne sais quoithat Oscar likes.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.