As we remind you every year, the key to winning the Oscar® pool is correctly selecting the winners in the Best Animated Short, Best Live Action Short and Best Short Documentary categories. Usually a careful examination of which of them deals with any of the following will yield the winners: AIDS, the Holocaust (also Rwanda, Cambodia), the American Civil Rights Movement, mental illness, the triumph of the disabled, raising 19 children. These topics are not as applicable to the Animated shorts, but some of the same principles apply — unless Aardman or Pixar are nominated, in which case see below.
Figuring out what the Animated short nominees were about used to be an arduous task of research but now, thanks to the internet, you can watch them all this minute! Thanks to Beat reader Dave Knott who collected these for us:
Directed by Fabrice O. Joubert — a comedic French short involving a man, a cafe and a wallet. The Academy does not like the French or comedy, so we’d call this a long shot, thought Joubert has worked with Aardman.
Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
Directed by Nicky Phelan and Darragh O’Connell A Pixaresque old lady retells Sleeping Beauty in her special way. See above, but Academy loves Pixar.
The Lady And The Reaper
Directed by Javier Reco Garcia. Stylized but comedic take on mortality as an old woman ping pongs between life and death. Weighty themes of mortality beneath a light exterior? Oscar likes that. Call this a dark horse.
Directed by Nicolas Schmerkin. This one is kinda genius. A murder mystery unfolds in a world made from corporate logos. May be too existential for voters, but our pick.
Wallace and GRomit in A Matter Of Loaf And Death
Directed by Nick Park. Have you heard of these two new characters Wallace and Gromit? THEY ARE SO COOL! I’d love to see more of them. Okay all kidding aside, going up against Nick Park in this category is like taking on Shaun White in the halfpipe or Glenn Beck in the crying game. You can check this box on your ballet safe in the knowledge that you have scored a win.
Here’s a link to the nominated live-action short “Miracle Fish”
BTW, as much as we who used to make a living making content demonize the internet it certainly has been a boon for short film makers. All these films deserve to be seen and more people can see them by clicking a link on their browser than ever could going to film festivals.
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.