Oscars 2017: Best Animated Short Shortlist

Oh wait, one more shortlist I didn’t write up.

We end with the most fun of all the shorts categories — Best Animated Short. Or as it’s known, “Pixar and then everything else.” Unless you follow the Oscars as crazily as I do, you generally never get acquainted with anything else, and you never see more than one. And you just look at what people like me say and guess based on that.

More so than the other shorts categories, I try to go out of my way to see all of these, because they’re generally all pretty delightful, and most of the time, what gets nominated is worthy of it. Very rarely does something get on that feels like it got on for reasons other than quality.

Here are the ten shortlisted animated shorts for this year:


Dear Basketball

Fox and the Whale

Garden Party

In a Heartbeat

Life Smartphone

Lost Property Office


Negative Space

Revolting Rhymes

What, the never-ending Olaf short wasn’t nominated?

I’ve seen six of these.

Cradle is fine. About a guy who returns from war without his hands. He has a newborn child and struggles to be a good parent, as well as seeing ‘phantom limbs’ from his trauma overseas. Animation style looked decent but otherwise this didn’t do a whole lot for me. It builds to a moment I thought they should have had in the first thirty seconds. So yeah, not for me.

Dear Basketball is based on a poem by Kobe Bryant. So Kobe Bryant could be nominated for an Academy Award. The animation is nice, but is this too niche for them? I have a hard time thinking they’re gonna go here. But it was nice for what it was.

Fox and the Whale

In a Heartbeat was pretty adorable, and will probably be nominated.

Life Smartphone — cute. But you get it within the first fifteen seconds. And then it’s just more of the same. It doesn’t feel like it has anything more to say except ‘people spend too much time on their phones’.

Lou was nice. I wasn’t a fan in the early stages, but it took a nice turn. Not sure how any of that was supposed to work, but it was pleasant enough.

I have not seen: Garden Party, Lost Property Office, Negative Space and Revolting Rhymes. Which is a shame, because three of those look great. Revolting Rhymes — there are two and they both add up to an hour, so which is shortlisted and how does that count as a short? But the directors were nominated for their last two, so that counts for a lot.

Based on what I saw and how they usually vote, I would say the likelihood of each film being nominated is:

10. Dear Basketball

9. Life Smartphone

8. Cradle

7. Fox and the Whale

6. Garden Party

5. Revolting Rhymes

4. Negative Space

3. Lost Property Office

2. Lou

1. In a Heartbeat

In a Heartbeat seems like a lock all around. Lou — you have to assume Pixar is a major contender until they aren’t. Lost Property Office is exactly the kind of short that wins this category most years. Revolting Rhymes… just because the directors had two nominees in the last decade. More than most other people can say. Negative Space just seems like a cool stop-motion one they’d go for. Though Garden Party seems so photoreal that it could make it on. I think those top six are your main contenders. Fox and the Whale could happen. It looks nice. I think we go seven deep. Though never be shocked if anything from here gets on. Especially potential Academy Award nominee Kobe Bryant.

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