Home News Awards The Beat's Annual guide to winning the Oscar® Pool: Best Animated Shorts

The Beat's Annual guide to winning the Oscar® Pool: Best Animated Shorts


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.

The Gruffalo
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.

Let’s Pollute

LET’S POLLUTE ! por trailers no Videolog.tv.

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.


  1. There’s actually a feature film in limited release which shows all the animated and live action nominated shorts for this year’s Oscars. Unfortunately it played near me only for one week and they took the 1 hour 45 minute film and split it in half so that you’d have to buy separate tickets for the animated and live action shorts. I don’t think it was intended that audiences pay full price for each collection which was less than one hour long. I know it wasn’t intended for this as I saw a review of the whole film in the L.A. Times and they gave the full running time.

  2. BORNG!
    I made it through one of these film -and it wasn’t worth it!
    I love Jim Jarmusch and i can watch his movies over and over again -because he knows where to put the pauses -there is a sense a poetry that obviously all the academy pricks do not think apply to animation. I understand that creating it is like watching paint dry -it doesn’t mean you subject your audience to it.
    I’m voting for the last one btw which none of the above applies to. I only wish, at the time of this writing, that a proper link for the short would be provided: a real masterpiece with no competition.

  3. The last one is really good, funnily it’s by ar the least mycupofteaish from the bunch but the rest is really “just” ;) technically great and nothing more.

  4. Magnolia released the shorts to theaters (along with two “honorable mentions”). All are available on iTunes, I believe.

    Let’s Pollute is funny, but I’ve seen this sort of thing before. Gruffalo was nice, but slick and it didn’t wow me.
    Night & Day wowed me last summer, but now… it’s just another good Pixar short.
    Madagascar is an amazing work! A travel diary in animated form! The stylized faces are magnificent and one experiences what the traveller saw.

    The Lost Thing gets my vote. Shaun Tan…animated! An amazing story which resonates, and which makes you think after the film has ended. (Who, or what, was the janitor? Why are there fewer Lost Things years later?) Tan creates a world on the screen, and does things only animation can do.

  5. Dammit, I wish I’d seen this before submitting my Oscar pool entries! To be honest I hadn’t even considered The Lost Thing (partly because I didn’t get a chance to see it and it looked kinda traditional) and just assumed Madagascar wouldn’t have much of a fight here.

  6. I’ve seen the shorts (and the directors interviewed after by no less than Kenneth Brannagh). I also thought The Lost Thing was a slam dunk, but the more I sit with it, the Academy might just go with the Pixar entry this time around. It’s really so clever how they integrate movement with what’s shown inside the characters, where One Man Band and Presto were just cute stories. You can pretty much throw a dart and be as accurate in predicting the tastes of the voters in these categories. One year it’s one thing, the next something else entirely.

    That said, bank on Na Wewe.

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