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The Oscars may seem some way off still, but the short film categories are already getting down to business. A couple of weeks ago, we got the official, er, shortlist for Best Documentary Short; now, Best Animated Short is the next category to whittle down the playing field.
Ten titles have advanced to the second voting stage, selected by the Academy's Short Film and Feature Animation Reviewing Committee from a pool of 56 entries. Interestingly, the press release states that three to five of the 10 will be nominated, though there haven't been fewer than five nominees in the category since 2000.
I must confess to being completely blind in this category, not having seen any of the 10 shortlisted films. However, Disney's "Paperman," whose praises Kris was singing just last week, did make the cut; the film is currently in theaters as an appetizer for Disney's box-office slayer "Wreck-It Ralph." With Pixar out of the race for a change this year -- the short "La Luna," which preceded "Brave" in theaters, was nominated in last year's field -- that makes Disney the giant in this field.
However, as Kris pointed out, voters routinely prefer David to Goliath in this category -- indeed, Disney hasn't won this award since "It's Tough to Be a Bird" way back in 1969. So the odds suggest one of the lesser-known candidates will take it.
There's a lot of love out there for British stop-motion effort "The Eagleman Stag," which actually won last year's BAFTA in this category. Evidently one of the artsier contenders in the bunch -- it hails from Britain's esteemed Royal College of Art, after all -- It's probably a better place to put your money than "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'." "The Simpsons Movie" couldn't nab a feature nod in 2007, so could this mini-spinoff do any better?
"Adam and Dog" could be one to watch -- not only do I thoroughly approve of its production company, but it won the Annie Award earlier this year. (It's worth noting, however, that the Annie and the Oscar haven't overlapped in this category since Pixar's "For the Birds" in 2001.)
The only previous nominee in the hunt, meanwhile, is Czech animator Michaela Pavlátová, director of "Tram" -- her film "Reci, reci, reci..." was nominated for this award back in 1993.
The full list of 10 is below. Which ones have you seen?
"Adam and Dog," Minkyu Lee, director (Lodge Films)
"Combustible," Katsuhiro Otomo, director (Sunrise Inc.)
"Dripped," Léo Verrier, director (ChezEddy)
"The Eagleman Stag," Mikey Please, director; Benedict Please, music and sound design (Royal College of Art)
"The Fall of the House of Usher," Raul Garcia, director; Stephan Roelants, producer (Melusine Productions, R&R Communications Inc., Les Armateurs, The Big Farm)
"Fresh Guacamole," PES, director (PES)
"Head over Heels," Timothy Reckart, director; Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly, producer (National Film and Television School)
"Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'," David Silverman, director (Gracie Films)
"Paperman," John Kahrs, director (Disney Animation Studios)
"Tram," Michaela Pavlátová, director; Ron Dyens, producer (Sacrebleu Productions)
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