On November 19th, the Academy of Arts and Sciences advanced its nominees for the Best Animated Short Oscar. The ten films shortlisted for Best Animated Short are:
“Bear Story (Historia De Un Oso),” Gabriel Osorio, director, and Pato Escala, producer (Punkrobot Animation Studio)
“Carface (Autos Portraits),” Claude Cloutier, director (National Film Board of Canada)
“If I Was God…,” Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada)
“Love in the Time of March Madness,” Melissa Johnson and Robertino Zambrano, directors (High Hip Productions and KAPWA Studioworks)
“My Home,” Phuong Mai Nguyen, director (Papy3D Productions)
“An Object at Rest,” Seth Boyden, director (California Institute of the Arts)
“Prologue,” Richard Williams, director, and Imogen Sutton, producer (Animation Masterclass)
“Sanjay’s Super Team,” Sanjay Patel, director, and Nicole Grindle, producer (Pixar Animation Studios)
“We Can’t Live without Cosmos,” Konstantin Bronzit, director (Melnitsa Animation Studio)
“World of Tomorrow,” Don Hertzfeldt, director (Bitter Films)
The thing that immediately jumps out to most who see the list, is the lack of Pixar’s “Lava.” However, while initially inspiring outrage in most who read the list, “Lava” was shown at a handful of festivals last year, and was submitted for a nomination for the 2015 Oscars. While “Lava” did not procure a nomination last year, it certainly did not have the exposure now given to the film.
That said, Pixar is still represented with “Sanjay’s Super Team.” It’s uniqueness as an entry in Pixar’s short library is certainly important. The animation is very pretty, and the story’s deeply personal nature will resonate with many in the animation branch. The short was played before “The Good Dinosaur” and gained a lot of fans over the Thanksgiving weekend. It’s blending of CGI and traditional hand drawn animation will likely gain more support for the film.
The film stands to make the cut to 5 at the moment, but some have noted it is slightly overshadowed by both the film and “Lava’s” connection to audiences. History is not on Sanjay’s side, as “La Luna” was Pixar’s last nomination in 2011, and “For the Birds” in 2001 was the last Pixar short to win.
Also noticeably missing were any entries from Walt Disney Animation Studios. The studio has been present at the Oscars in the short categories the last three years, winning twice for “The Paperman” and “Feast.” However, this previous year saw “Frozen Fever” as the only theatrically released short from the studio. However, it doesn’t appear that Disney was trying to nominate the short, as their “For Your Consideration” page does not have the short listed.
The members of the Animation Shorts and Features branch will vote to decide the five films that advance. The entire Academy will then vote on the winner after the nominees are announced. The nominees will be announced on January 14th, 2016.
“Sanjay’s Super Team” is currently playing before “The Good Dinosaur” in theaters. It is directed by Sanjay Patel.