This year the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation branch has deemed eligible a record 70 animated shorts to vie for the shortlist of ten, followed by the final five nominations for the Oscar. That’s 10 more than last year’s 60.
The number of qualified shorts has been growing steadily, from 33 in 2010 to 58 in 2014.
Members of the branch who volunteer to serve will now view the shorts and rate the films. The ten best-rated shorts will go on the shortlist, to be revealed in November. A larger group will check those out and cull the final five which will be announced on Tuesday, January 24. The shorts will be sent to the entire Academy, who will vote on the winner.
Cartoon Brew got hold of the list of qualified contenders, and assesses what they consider to be the best of the best, including trailers. The Academy has not released that list.
The contenders are a varied lot shot in many styles, from the shortest, BAFTA-winner Ainslie Henderson’s “Stems” (Scotland), to the longest, Rob Valley’s “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada) at 35 minutes, just under the 40-minute barrier.
Disney is pushing two shorts: Leo Matsuda’s “Inner Workings” and Alan Barillaro’s “Piper,” from Pixar. For six years Disney or Pixar has landed a nomination every year, and won twice (“Paperman” and “Feast”). Pixar artists Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj also qualified their independent short, Western “Borrowed Time.”
Cartoon Brew recommends checking out “Erlking,” from Swiss animation legend Georges Schwizgebel, and two entries from the National Film Board of Canada: Franck Dion’s “The Head Vanishes” and Theo Ushev’s “Blind Vaysha” as well as another film using a printmaking style, Céline Devaux’s “Le Repas Dominical” (France), which won the César Award in February.
Per Cartoon Brew, four of the five nominees of the Cartoon d’Or qualified for this year’s Academy Award, including winner “Yùl and the Snake” by Gabriel Harel (France), “Sous tes doigts” (“Under Your Fingers”) by Marie-Christine Courtès (France), “Peripheria” by David Coquard-Dassault (France), which won two awards at Annecy, and “Alike” by Daniel Martínez Lara and Rafael Cano Méndez (Spain), which took home the Goya Award.