Leading up to the 90th Academy Awards on March 4th, we’re going to be diving into as many of the nominated films as possible and taking a look at what their chances are for taking home the Oscar. You can check out our list of where to watch each film
here, and see the full list of nominees here. Today we’re starting things off with a look into “Dear Basketball,” which is nominated for Best Animated Short Film.
“Dear Basketball” consists of a poem written and narrated by Kobe Bryant. Bryant wrote the poem in 2015 as a way of saying goodbye upon Bryant’s his retirement from professional basketball. The film was animated by veteran director Glen Keane and features music by John Williams. The short, yet beautiful and captivating, film may not be the best this year, but there’s a damn good chance it’s going to win this Oscar. If nothing else, it’s the current frontrunner.
It’s a simple short that talks about how much Bryant loves this game. How much he’s loved it since he was a kid. How important it has been to his entire life. And the entire thing is presented in very simplistic yet beautiful animation. Keane is one of the most famous living 2D animators today, having worked on numerous Disney animated features including Tarzan, Pocahontas, Aladdin, Beauty and the Beast, and The Little Mermaid. In many ways Keane is the face of the infamous 90’s Disney Renaissance.
One has to wonder whether animation would have died out if not for that Disney Renaissance. Without the material released during that time, the animated film would have become more of a joke. But that period of work helped to show people that animated films can be important and beautiful pieces of cinema. Beauty and the Beast is a huge reason why the Academy eventually introduced the Best Animated Feature category.
It’s very hard to imagine that the Animation group (which helps to vote on this category) won’t give this Oscar to Keane. Again, it’s a beautiful film, and deserves the nomination. It’s hard to think of any other animator in the industry who has had such a huge impact on the industry. The Academy will likely jump at the opportunity to award Keane for putting together such a great film without it being tied to Disney.
For now, our opinion is that “Dear Basketball” is the one to beat for Best Animated Short Film. You can watch the film here. We’ll have a look at more films in this category and every other Oscar category in the coming days and weeks. Be sure to keep following Poor Man’s Spoiler for all of your Oscar needs, and you can watch the Oscars on Sunday March 4th at 8pm ET on ABC.