This article contains IndieWire’s preliminary Best Animated Shorts predictions for the 2023 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season, and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 95th Academy Awards, see our 2023 Oscars predictions hub.
The State of the Race
The Oscar nominees for Best Animated Short are “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It,” “Ice Merchants,” “My Year of Dicks,” “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” and “The Flying Sailor.”
It’s an outstanding field solely comprised of indie and international festival faves, thanks to a quirk in scheduling where no studio works were submitted. The frontrunner is “The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse,” the gorgeous hand-drawn fable about the virtues of kindness, from British illustrator Charlie Mackesy (adapted from his bestselling picture book) and producer Matthew Freud.
But adult animation has been gaining in popularity within the category, with Alberto Mielgo’s “The Windshield Wiper” winning last year. This might also bode well for Annecy winner “My Year of Dicks,” the psychedelic and hilarious mind-bender from director Sara Gunnarsdóttir and creator Pamela Ribon, loosely based on Ribon’s experiences as a Houston teen trying to lose her virginity in the early ’90s. The mixed media work, originally created for FX, received unexpected global attention when Riz Ahmed’s recitation of its title — followed by that of fellow Best Animated Short nominee “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It” — caused fits of laughter from Ahmed’s co-presenter Allison Williams and the audience at the nominations announcement.
Cannes winner, “Ice Merchants,” from João Gonzalez, broke the record with its nine-festival Oscar-qualifying run. The 2D short, about the Herculean efforts of isolated father and son ice sellers, offers breathtakingly graphic design and vertiginous camera work.
The NFB’s Ottawa-winning “The Flying Sailor,” directed by previous nominees Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis, finds beauty in the devastating Halifax Explosion of 1917 through a combination of 2D and CG.
“Ostrich,” from Australian Student Academy Award winner Lachlan Pendragon, is a delightful stop-motion comedy about a young office worker who uncovers the flaws in his stop-motion universe with the aid of an ostrich.
Meanwhile, “The Flying Sailor” got a boost by winning at Sundance, and “Ice Merchants,” “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” and “The Flying Sailor” all received Annie nominations.
Below are the nominees ranked in order of likelihood to win:
“The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse”
“My Year of Dicks”
“The Flying Sailor”
“An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It”
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