A record 92 animated shorts qualified for Oscar consideration this season, and it’s an eclectic group of nominees and family and friendship. There are three stop-motion works (“Daughter,” “Memorable,” “Sister”), and two that are 2D (“Hair Love” and “Kitbull”). Three are directed by women — “Daughter’s” Daria Kashcheeva, “Kitbull’s” Rosana Sullivan, and “Sister’s” Siqi Song” — and “Hair Love” is directed by Black filmmaker Matthew Cherry.
Cherry’s “Hair Love,” the favorite, concerns a single Black father trying to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. It was financed through Kickstarter, animated by Six Point Harness, and distributed by Sony Pictures Animation.
“Kitbull” (from Pixar’s experimental SparkShorts program), from story artist Sullivan (“Toy Story 4”), is a quirky short about the unlikely friendship between a kitten that lives in garbage cans and a pitbull in San Francisco’s Mission District.
With “Sister,” Song explores her upbringing under China’s controversial “one child” policy in the ’90s with an inventive use of stop-motion designed with felt. A grown man looks back at his annoying little sister and ponders how things might’ve been different. She made it principally as her grad project at CalArts.
“Dcera (Daughter)” from Kashcheeva of the Czech Republic, is an acclaimed student film about two characters unable to communicate throughout their entire relationship. It’s documentary-like with lots of hand-held camera work.
And, in the French short, “Memorable,”Bruno Collet explores the strange, mutating world of a painter and his wife.
The final five contenders are listed in alphabetical order. No film will be considered a frontrunner until we have seen it.