Though never quite as celebrated or well known as their feature-length counterparts, Pixar’s short films have been beloved since “Tin Toy” won the animation studio its first Academy Award in 1989. Often paired with features — a tradition dating back to “Geri’s Game” playing before “A Bug’s Life” — they feature everything from singing volcanoes to little birds confronting their fear of water. Pixar’s most recent short, “Bao,” was coupled with “Incredibles 2” and is now free to watch on YouTube. Do so below if you’re so inclined, but make taste: Today is the last day it’s available.
If you haven’t seen it, here’s the premise: “In ‘Bao,’ an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty nest syndrome gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy. Mom excitedly welcomes this new bundle of joy into her life, but Dumpling starts growing up fast, and Mom must come to the bittersweet revelation that nothing stays cute and small forever. This short film from Pixar Animation Studios and director Domee Shi explores the ups and downs of the parent-child relationship through the colorful, rich, and tasty lens of the Chinese immigrant community in Canada.”
In directing the film, Shi became to first woman to helm a short for Pixar. “Bao” was shortlisted for the Academy Award for Best Animated Short alongside “Bilby,” “Bird Karma,” “Age of Sail,” “Animal Behaviour,” “Late Afternoon,” “Lost & Found,” “One Small Step,” “Pépé le Morse,” and “Weekends.” According to IndieWire’s Bill Desowitz, it’s the frontrunner to take home the prize; should that happen, “Bao” will be the fifth Pixar short to do so.