Oscars 2014 Category Breakdown: Best Animated Short

This is a tradition for me. Every year, before the Oscars, I break down every single one of the 24 categories. I do this to familiarize everyone with each category, how it works, what its history is, how it usually turns out, and also as a precursor to my picks article, allowing me to get most of the heavy lifting out of the way beforehand.

How these work is — I go over each category’s history, give you all the previous winners and nominees, then list the current year’s nominees. And then I’ll go over how each of the guilds (if there is a corresponding guild) have went, and how that corresponds to the Oscars (some guilds mean a lot to how a category will play out. Others mean nothing). It’s basically everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision when you make your picks on Oscar night. And then I also rank the nominees at the end in terms of where I see them in terms of their likelihood to win.

Today is Best Animated Short, a category we can be amused by, because they’re short, fun and easy, but one we still don’t really ever care about.

Year Best Animated Film Winners Other Nominees
1931-1932 Flowers and Trees Mickey’s OrphansIt’s Got Me Again!
1932-1933 Three Little Pigs Building a BuildingThe Merry Old Soul
1934 The Tortoise and the Hare Holiday LandJolly Little Elves
1935 Three Orphan Kittens The Calico DragonWho Killed Cock Robin?
1936 The Country Cousin Old Mill PondPopeye the Sailor Meets Sindbad the Sailor
1937 The Old Mill Educated FishThe Little Match Girl
1938 Ferdinand the Bull Brave Little TailorMother Goose Goes Hollywood

Good Scots

Hunky and Spunky

1939 The Ugly Duckling Detouring AmericaPeace on Earth

The Pointer

1940 The Milky Way Puss Gets the BootA Wild Hare
1941 Lend a Paw Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy of Company BHiawatha’s Rabbit Hunt

How War Came

The Night Before Christmas

Rhapsody in Rivets

The Rookie Bear

Rhythm in the Ranks

Superman

Truant Officer Donald

1942 Der Fuehrer’s Face All Out for “V”Blitz Wolf

Juke Box Jamboree

Pigs in a Polka

Tulips Shall Grow

1943 The Yankee Doodle Mouse The Dizzy AcrobatFive Hundred Hats of Batholomew Cubbins

Greetings Bait

Imagination

Reason and Emotion

1944 Mouse Trouble And to Think I Saw It on Mulberry StreetDog, Cat and Canary

Fish Fry

How to Play Football

My Boy, Johnny

Swooner Crooner

1945 Quiet Please! Donald’s CrimeJasper and the Beanstalk

Life with Feathers

Mighty Mouse in Gypsy Life

The Poet and Peasant

Rippling Romance

1946 The Cat Concerto Musical Moments from ChopinJohn Henry and the Inky-Poo

Squatter’s Rights

Walky Talky Hawky

1947 Tweetie Pie Chip an’ DaleDr. Jekyll and Mr. Mouse

Pluto’s Blue Note

Tubby the Tuba

1948 The Little Orphan Mickey and the SealMouse Wreckers

Robin Hoodlum

Tea for Two Hundred

1949 For Scent-imental Reasons Hatch Up Your TroublesMagic Fluke

Toy Tinkers

1950 Gerald McBoing-Boing Jerry’s CousinTrouble Indemnity
1951 The Two Mouseketeers Lambert the Sheepish LionRooty Toot Toot
1952 Johann Mouse Little Johnny JetMadeline

Pink and Blue Blues

The Romance of Transportation in Canada

1953 Toot, Whistle, Plunk and Boom Christopher CrumpetFrom A to Z-Z-Z-Z

Fugged Bear

The Tell-Tale Heart

1954 When Magoo Flew Crazy Mixed Up PupPigs Is Pigs

Sandy Claws

Touché, Pussy Cat!

1955 Speedy Gonzales Good Will to MenThe Legend of Rockabye Point

No Hunting

1956 Magoo’s Puddle Jumper Gerald McBoing-Boing on Planet MooThe Jaywalker
1957 Birds Anonymous One Droopy KnightTabasco Road

Trees and Jamaica Daddy

The Truth About Mother Goose

1958 Knighty Knight Bugs Paul BunyanSidney’s Family Tree
1959 Moonbird Mexicali ShmoesNoah’s Ark

The Violinist

1960 Munro Goliath IIHigh Note

Mouse and Garden

A Place in the Sun

1961 Ersatz (The Substitute) AquamaniaBeep Prepared

Nelly’s Folly

The Pied Piper of Guadalupe

1962 The Hole Icarus Montgolfier WrightNow Hear This

Self Defense… for Cowards

Symposium on Popular Songs

1963 The Critic Automania 2000The Game

My Financial Career

Pianissimo

1964 The Pink Phink Christmas CrackerHow to Avoid Friendship

Nudnik No. 2

1965 The Dot and the Line Clay or the Origin of SpeciesThe Thieving Magpie
1966 A Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass Double Feature The DragThe Pink Blueprint
1967 The Box Hypothese BetaWhat on Earth!
1968 Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day The House that Jack BuiltThe Magic Pear Tree

Windy Day

1969 It’s Tough to Be a Bird Of Men and DemonsWalking
1970 Is It Always Right to Be Right? The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam: Part TwoThe Shepherd
1971 The Crunch Bird EvolutionThe Selfish Giant
1972 A Christmas Carol Kama Sutra Rides AgainTup Tup
1973 Frank Film The Legend of John HenryPulcinella
1974 Closed Mondays The Family That Dwelt ApartHunger

Voyage to Next

Winnie the Pooh and Tigger Too!

1975 Great Kick MeMonsieur Pointu

Sisyphus

1976 Leisure DedaloThe Street
1977 The Sand Castle Bead GameA Doonesbury Special

Jimmy the C

1978 Special Delivery Oh My DarlingRip Van Winkle
1979 Every Child Dream DollIt’s so Nice to Have a Wolf Around the House
1980 The Fly All or NothingHistory of the World in Three Minutes Flat
1981 Crac The CreationThe Tender Tale of Cinderella Penguin
1982 Tango The Great CognitoThe Snowman
1983 Sundae in New York Mickey’s Christmas CarolSound of Sunshine – Sound of Rain
1984 Charade Doctor DeSotoParadise
1985 Anna & Bella The Big SnitSecond Class Mail
1986 A Greek Tragedy The Frog, The Dog and The DevilLuxo, Jr.
1987 The Man Who Planted Trees George and RosemaryYour Face
1988 Tin Toy The Cat Came BackTechnological Threat
1989 Balance The CowThe Hill Farm
1990 Creature Comforts A Grand Day OutGrasshoppers
1991 Manipulation BlackflyStrings
1992 Mona Lisa Descending a Staircase AdamReci, Reci Reci…

The Sandman

Screen Play

1993 The Wrong Trousers BlindscapeThe Mighty River

Small Talk

The Village

1994 Bob’s Birthday The Big StoryThe Janitor

The Monk and the Fish

Triangle

1995 A Close Shave The Chicken from Outer SpaceThe End

Gagarian

Runaway Brain

1996 Quest CanheadLa Salla

Wat’s Pig

1997 Geri’s Game Famous FredMermaid

Redux Riding Hood

La Vieille dame et les pigeons

1998 Bunny The Canterbury TalesJolly Roger

More

When Life Departs

1999 The Old Man and the Sea 3 MissesHumdrum

My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts

When the Day Breaks

2000 Father and Daughter Periwig MakerRejected
2001 For the Birds Fifty Percent GreyGive Up Yer Aul Sins

Strange Invadors

Stubble Trouble

2002 The ChubbChubbs! KatedraMike’s New Car

Mt. Head

Das Rad

2003 Harvie Krumpet Boundin’Gone Nutty

Nibbles

Destino

2004 Ryan Birthday BoyGopher Broke

Guard Dog

Lorenzo

2005 The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation BadgeredThe Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jaspar Morello

9

One Man Band

2006 The Danish Poer LiftedThe Little Matchgirl

Maestro

No Time for Nuts

2007 Peter & the Wolf Even Pigeons Go To HeavenI Met the Walrus

Madame Tutli-Putli

My Love

2008 La Maison en petits cubes Lavatory – LovestoryOktapodi – Gobelins L’Ecole de L’Image

Presto

This Way Up

2009 Logorama Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping BeautyFrench Roast

The Lady and the Reaper

A Matter of Loaf and Death

2010 The Lost Thing Day & NightThe Gruffalo

Let’s Pollute

Madagascar, A Journey Diary

2011 The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore DimancheLa Luna

A Morning Stroll

Wild Life

2012 Paperman Adam and DogFresh Guacamole

Head Over Heels

The Longest Daycare

2013 Mr. Hublot FeralGet a Horse!

Possessions

Room on the Broom

This category has such a rich history. Walt Disney was doing groundbreaking things with the art form over the first twenty years of this category. And now it’s just an afterthought of, “Oh, well that was a cute little cartoon.” That sucks.

This year, I remember one movie on the shortlist that I was upset didn’t get nominated. Otherwise, I don’t know how the hell they figure this one out. The animators march to the beat of their own drum. (Which most people know from the Animated Feature category.)

We have a category, and let’s just work our way through it.

Best Animated Short

The Bigger Picture

The Dam Keeper

Feast

Me and My Moulton

A Single Life

I’m not gonna post all the trailers to them. I did that twice already. I’ll do that when we get to the final article with everything. Just go with what I say. It’s not gonna change anything, 40 second snippets that pass for trailers. You can find this stuff on your own, anyway. (It’s also weird that they don’t just put this stuff online. What are they getting out of not doing so? Certainly not exposure.)

I do try to see all these nominees before the show. As of right now, I’ve only seen one: Me and My Moulton. Which leads us to…

Rankings:

5. Me and My Moulton — I just… can’t see this winning. I couldn’t see them nominating it, but here we are. I guess it’s the nice animation. They did do a good job there. But ultimately this is a woman recounting her childhood. It’s about how the realities of parents and children are completely different. Great theme. Solid execution. I just can’t see this being the one they vote for. Can’t see it. (This was also fully online at one point, but they’ve since taken it down. That’s usually how these things work. Gotta strike while the iron is hot.)

(Note: I get it. The woman who made this won this category in 2006 for The Danish Poet. That makes sense.)

4. Feast — Disney had a real drought in this category for the better part of a decade. People think of them as being the pace setters in this category, but that’s just because they were the only name in animation for almost 40 years. But after Walt died, they just stopped appearing in this category. Check this out — after 1969, when they won this category, Disney has only been nominated here 10 times, and the only time they’ve won was with Paperman in 2012. Disney is the biggest red herring in this category. Second only to Pixar, who hasn’t won since 2001. Now, I know it’s open voting, and this is about a dog, and that’s adorable (let’s not forget Lady and the Tramp exists, though. I haven’t even seen the short, so I’m not shitting on it. I’m just trying to be impartial and think the way a voter would think. Since the majority of the people voting for this are the animators, who seem to be anti Disney/Pixar when it comes to this category), but last year was open voting too. And Get a Horse! was great. But it still lost to Mr. Hublot, which is exactly the kind of thing they go for in this category. (And that was also about a dog. Sort of. I’m actually kind of surprised that won.) So I’m not buying that this is gonna win. The history says otherwise. I’ll let it win, but I won’t feel bad when I don’t pick it and it does. That’s not a situation where I’m gonna go, “Man, I can’t believe I didn’t have that.” Other people might feel that way, but in reality, it winning is actually the less likely scenario. So I think this is something people are gonna think will win because it’s Disney, but it’s actually not that likely at all.

3. A Single Life — Based on the trailer, my immediate instinct was, “Oh yeah, this is in. This could win.” It’s got that look. There’s just a certain look about it. Only problem? The entire film is three minutes long. I had to go back to 2002 to find a movie less than ten minutes. (The 2002 winner was 5 minutes.) So I’m holding it back based purely on that. Maybe Feast does stand more of a chance than this. I don’t know. But I can tell you that 3 minutes is not that much time to be able to overtake the other contenders. Especially in this era, where this kind of animation is specialized.

2. The Dam Keeper — This is a real wild card for me. I haven’t seen it, so I couldn’t tell you for sure. At first, it felt like that nominee that happens every year that feels like it’s gonna win. The Gruffalo, Adam and Dog, Room on the Broom. Well… Room on the Broom, I knew better. The point is, there’s that one that seems to have everything they go for all in one place. Yet it never seems to win. Yet this one might be different. The new trailer is gorgeous, and makes it seem like the film has a huge heart. I’m hesitant to call it the favorite just because it seems like these entries that scream “winner” never actually win. But right now, I’m feeling like the win is coming down to either this or the next one. It apparently was made without CGI (maybe a little CGI, but mostly pure animation). They like that. And the story makes it seem like a storybook come to life. Definitely one of the major contenders in this category.

1. The Bigger Picture — I’m calling this the favorite, but I don’t know why. It might be based purely on the animation. Because it’s done stop motion style, and done life-size, blending painting and 3D animation. Hell, just watch this. It’s the most impressive of the nominees. The only thing I’m worried about with this one is the subject matter. It’s not exactly what they go for here. The last time I saw something like this win was 2004. So, right now, I say this category comes down to this and The Dam Keeper. I think Me and My Moulton could maybe surprise, given that the director won before, Feast feels like a red herring, and A Single Life is three minutes long, and would be pretty surprising, over the rest. Hopefully I’ll be able to see all of these and know how they play in context. That’s usually what helps me with this one.

– – – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow, we go over Best Animated Feature. The beauty of that category is that I won’t mention a certain movie once in that entire article.

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One response

  1. BlueFox94

    If either “Feast” or “Duet” failed to get in, I would be disappointed.

    And here we are.

    February 1, 2015 at 1:46 pm

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