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While the lack of women nominated for Best Director in this year’s Academy Awards has frustrated many people, the nominees for Best Animated Short Film provide a welcome alternative: Three of the five were directed by women, and a fourth features a woman nominee among its producers. That’s not the only way this year’s nominees differ from more prominent categories. The nominees hail from different countries, and they apply a vast array of animation styles and sensibilities nothing like the Best Animated Feature contenders, all of which were released by major studios.
However, the shorts do share a striking overlap of thematic concerns. While they range in length from just under seven minutes to just over 16, they all focus on complex family bonds and their intimate emotional impact on a small set of characters. The tones range from lighthearted to dark and tragic, but all of them build to profound moments readymade to elicit tears from their audiences. And while two substantial nominees stand out as the frontrunners, they all provide satisfying experiences on their own terms.
Breakdown - Oscar - Shorts - Stay - Coverage
Here’s a breakdown of the Oscar animated shorts, ranked from worst to best. Stay tuned for more coverage of the other short film categories.
Entry - Year - Nominees - Look - Girl
The most upbeat entry among this year’s nominees, this mostly dialogue-free look at a young black girl whose father helps her with the thorny process of figuring out her hairdo follows a relatively straightforward trajectory. The Sony Pictures short — which screened last year before “Angry Birds 2” in theaters — started as a Kickstarter campaign, and later led to a children’s book adaptation. The title refers to a YouTube channel, hosted by the child’s mother, comprised of instructions for various tricky hairstyles. While her father is initially wary of helping out, the opportunity eventually provides a sweet bonding moment...
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