Oscar Hopefuls: Short Animation


This category is already fast becoming my favourite to research, as it is an ideal category for the modern age. Beautifully made videos that fit ideally on youtube, and which are like simple, delicate pieces of art you can fit around your day. What makes animation so work is the control it can give you that otherwise cannot be achieved. Telling a story in a way which simply cannot be done any other way.

Adam and Dog

by Minkyu Lee

Loosely based on the story of Adam & Eve, we follow a dog, presumably the first dog, as he meets man for the first time, and the greatest friendship in history is born. Clearly inspired by Studio Ghibli in how it looks, “Adam & Dog” is a greatly stylised but simple masterpiece, with a suitably cut back sound design which gives it a more realistic edge than it’s Japanese sibling. And it is wonderful to watch – if not placed within a rather distracting setting. Could do well.

Fresh Guacamole

by PES

PES has been doing the rounds for a few years now with a number of similarly themed stop motion animation – all of which are as inventive, distinctive, and engrossing as this short. For him to be nominated for an Oscar is simply incredible, but thoroughly deserved.  For a wonderful way to spend an hour, why not peruse the PES youtube channel. Although I don’t think PES can win, it is significant that this category has chosen something that found it’s feet through YouTube.

Head Over Heels

by Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly

This stop motion animation is a wonderful vignette that emphasises that divisive union of marriage; how chalk and cheese work together when they appear to be so different. This is the kind of short that emphasises the essence of animation – but it is up against much bigger name opposition. Far more charming then some of the feature length films on display, this would be a thoroughly deserved winner, and I can see it striking a chord with an ageing film panel. I really hope this does well.

Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”

by David Silverman

Typically for The Simpsons, this is the only video in this category without an official, watchable outlet – probably tied into something with it’s Ice Age distribution. But it’s getting tired now this prevention of access, Hollywood – it is doing my nut in. But if you look around you might be able to find a copy.

Access aside, is it any good? Its Simpson’s charm shines through – good Simpson’s, not the stick thin cardboard thing we’ve been forced to eat this last few years – but it doesn’t have anywhere near the wow factor that some of the other shorts have.

NOTE: the video has since gone online, which is a relief. It’s still a whole bunch of meh though. It’s no La Luna.



by John Kahrs

This seems to be the favourite for this category given the buzz it’s found being shared on social networks – but it is well deserved. Although the animation does not itself push any boundaries, it It is the perfect example of animation being used to tell a story that only animation can tell, and for this alone it is staggeringly beautiful. Proper gives you goose pimples good.

Verdict: With a really strong category – as it seems is everywhere in this year’s academy awards – there is a chance for any of these to win, but given the buzz around Paperman, I wouldn’t be surprised to see this win. It just depends on what the category is judged on – the best film that is short and animated, or the best animation that has been filmed?


  • I’d argue that the animation in Paperman does push some boundaries. It uses a cool new technique where they use CGI to replicate the look and feel of hand-drawn animation. That’s why it has that sense of volume that you don’t really get with hand-drawn alone. I’m glad it won.

    • No you’re right, will change the article – now that I’ve had a chance to let the passions of the night subside, it was the best by a long shot, I think it was a crude an undeserved attempt on my part to distance myself from the popularity of it as it found its way into social media.

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