91st Oscar Blast: Best Animated Short – A Rundown of Each Film

In a category filled with beautiful work, will Pixar take home the gold? Read all about all of the nominees and check out our prediction here.

Tonight is the 91st Annual Academy Awards! And all day today we’ll be bringing you a rundown of each category as well as reviews of the nominated films. First up, we’re tackling the category of Best Animated Short Film. This year is full of amazing work from both big studios and independent artists. It’s also a year where stories of parenthood are taking center stage. First up we’re diving into a run down of each nominated film.

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Animal Behaviour

This hilarious short film centers on a group therapy session between anthropomorphic animals, led by a dog named Dr. Clement (Ryan Biel). The short is full of some great moments and hilarious lines of dialogue like, “clearly sexual cannibalism is taboo for some.” It’s a nice change of pace from the usual sweet natured animal shorts. Everything about it feels real, as if this was a real group therapy session, but the people involved happen to be animals, which in turn produces some great comedy. The film is written and directed by David Fine and Alison Snowden, and is one of the funniest animated shorts to make the Oscar shortlist in years.

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Bao

Written and directed by Domee Shi, and released by Pixar with this year’s Incredibles 2, this film centers on a Chinese-Canadian woman who goes through all the experiences of motherhood when her homemade dumplings come to life. It’s a cute and sweet film that is expertly animated and full of heart. Overall it’s exactly the type of thing you’d expect from Pixar and takes another step in their work to tell more diverse stories. While the short is excellent, it’d be nice to see one of the other films here take home a nomination or win this year.

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Late Afternoon

Written and directed by Louise Bagnall, this heart wrenching, and extraordinarily beautiful short film centers on an older woman named Emily (Fionnula Flanagan) who drifts in and out from her memories. What seems at first like nostalgia, is revealed to be something caused as a result of old age or a disease of some kind. Emily exists in both the past and present. The film is one of the top films on this list, and deserves this nomination and possibly this award as much if not more than any of the other films.

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One Small Step

Luna is a young Chinese-American girl who lives with her shoemaker father. She dreams of one day being an astronaut and setting foot on the moon. As she grows older she works to chase her dream, as her father does everything he can to support her. Written and directed by Andrew Chesworth and Bobby Pontillas, One Small Step, feels exactly like a Pixar style short film, and not in a bad way. The animation is beautiful and perfect in every way. The story will make you laugh, cry, and feel every emotion possible at times. The music is worthy of an Oscar on its own. There’s no bit of this film that doesn’t deserve this, and it’s without a doubt worthy of every bit of attention and acclaim it’s received.

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Weekends

Writer-director Trevor Jimenez tells a story of a young boy adjusting to life with his recently divorced parents over the course of one year. The film is set in 1980’s Toronto and sees the boy spending weekends with his father, while living primarily with his mother. The film also takes us into the boys dreams where we see his desire to have a life with both parents together, while also being frightened by the man his woman begins a relationship with. It’s a delicate and intimate look at what this lifestyle is like for a child, and feels incredibly authentic and real. There’s no dialogue in the film and the sound design is incredible in helping to paint this portrait of this little boy’s life. The same song playing when he’s with his father, the ominous tones when his mother’s boyfriend is home; It all helps bring the short to the level of quality expected of a feature length film.  It’s all so perfectly executed and wraps up in a heartbreaking yet beautiful way.

Predictions

Overall the winner here should be Weekends. That film is the best of the bunch and deserves to win every single thing that it can. There is so much packed into that film, and it’s one of the most beautiful pieces of cinema made this year, long, short, animated, live-action, it’s without a doubt one of the best period. The problem is, the majority of the Academy doesn’t care about the short film categories. They vote for the names they recognize, they vote for one they may have seen in theatres somehow, or they don’t vote at all. Which is honestly a travesty, because the shorts categories truly have some amazing material. This leads us to the current front runner, Bao.

Bao stands the best chance at winning for one very specific reason. It’s a Pixar short film that was released with The Incredibles. If any Academy members saw an animated film in theatres before the nominees were announced, they likely saw Incredibles. Which means, they likely saw Bao on the big screen and it’s been in the back of their mind all year long. There’s a good chance that if they recognize it, they’ll vote for it. So while Weekends SHOULD win, it likely won’t.

So as of now here’s the final word:

Best Animated Short: Bao.

Image via Pixar

Written by Alex Lancaster
(Alex is a life long film fan, and has dedicated his life to watching, making and obsessing over films. His favorite film is Big Fish, and he despises Avatar. He has a 4 year old son. And a bad habit of saying more than he needs to. Follow @alex5348 on Twitter)
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