The Academy announced today its list of 10 animated shorts that will compete for nominations in the category. This has become a favorite race to follow in these later stretches, I must say. The only film of the bunch that I have seen is Pixar's "La Luna," which could walk away with the prize. (It's the studio's best animated short in years; my thoughts from Telluride can be found here.)

The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting in screenings held in New York and Los Angeles, the press release notes. Branch members will now select three to five nominees. Screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in January.

The 84th Academy Awards nominations -- in case you need reminding -- will be announced live on Tuesday, January 24, 2012, at 5:30 a.m. PT in the Academy's Samuel Goldwyn Theater. We'll know then which of these made the cut.

Check out the full list of shorts below.

"Dimanche/Sunday," Patrick Doyon, director (National Film Board of Canada)

"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors (Moonbot Studios LA, LLC)

"I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat," Matthew O'Callaghan, director and Sam Register, executive producer (Warner Bros. Animation Inc.)

"La Luna," Enrico Casarosa, director (Pixar Animation Studios)

"Luminaris," Juan Pablo Zaramella, director (JPZtudio)

"Magic Piano," Martin Clapp, director and Hugh Welchman, producer (BreakThru Films)

"A Morning Stroll," Grant Orchard, director and Sue Goffe, producer (Studio AKA)

"Paths of Hate," Damian Nenow, director (Platige Image)

"Specky Four-Eyes," Jean-Claude Rozec, director and Mathieu Courtois, producer (Vivement Lundi!)

"Wild Life," Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, directors (National Film Board of Canada)

Any guesses on which films might make the cut? Generally there are clips available on YouTube. I imagine Shorts International and Magnolia Pictures will once again launch its program featuring the eventual nominees in both the animation and live action fields in January.

For year-round entertainment news and awards season commentary follow @kristapley on Twitter.

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