Oscars: Breaking Down the 10 Animated Short Contenders

9:00 AM 12/14/2017

by Mia Galuppo

A film based on Kobe Bryant's poem ('Dear Basketball') and an ode to Roald Dahl ('Revolting Rhymes') are among the shortlisted toons.

'Revolting Rhymes'
'Revolting Rhymes'
Courtesy of Magic Light Pictures

This story first appeared in a December stand-alone issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.

  • Cradle

    Courtesy of Devon Manney

    After winning the 2017 Student Academy Award, Devon Manney is gunning for Oscar gold with his short following a veteran as he returns home from the Iraq War after losing both of his arms. The 23-year-old made Cradle as his senior-year thesis film at USC's animation program.

  • Dear Basketball

    Courtesy of Tribeca Film Festival

    In 2015, Kobe Bryant used a poem to announce his retirement from a two-decade career in the NBA. Two years later, director Glen Keane, a 38-year veteran of Walt Disney feature animation, created a short of that poem with Bryant narrating over a John Williams-composed score.

  • Fox and the Whale

    Courtesy of Robin Joseph

    The CG/hand-drawn hybrid is the first professional film for director Robin Joseph, who did the majority of the production on his own. The short centers on a curious fox who goes in pursuit of an elusive whale it can hear from the shore.

  • Garden Party

    Courtesy of Seve Films

    The CG short, done as a part of helmers Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon's studies at France's MoPA, takes place in an abandoned mansion, where curious frogs, toads and insects run amok.

  • In a Heartbeat

    Screengrab

    Ringling College grads Esteban Bravo and Beth David's Kickstarter-backed short racked up 12 million views online in three days. The viral sensation is an LGBT love story about a boy desperately trying to contain his crush on a fellow student.

  • Life Smartphone

    Screengrab

    This short, which is less than three minutes and the product of Chenglin Xie's studies at China's Central Academy of Fine Arts, satirically addresses people's increasing dependence on smartphones.

  • Lost Property Office

    Courtesy of 8th in Line Productions

    Director Daniel Agdag's art deco-inspired stop-motion animation centers on the solitary soul who runs a city transit system's lost property office. Made in Australia, the project used 2,500 sheets of recycled cardboard that were hand cut, lit and photographed by the filmmakers in more than 13,000 individual frames.

  • Lou

    Courtesy of Disney Pixar

    Longtime Pixar supervising and directing animator Dave Mullins made his directorial debut with the short that played ahead of the studio's Cars 3 in theaters. The story about an anthropomorphic lost-and-found box at an elementary school has a strong anti-bullying message.

  • Negative Space

    Courtesy of Ikki Films & Manuel Cam Studio

    The adaptation of the Ron Koertge poem about a man reminiscing about bonding with his father over a properly packed suitcase has made the rounds on the festival circuit. The Baltimore-based animation team created by hand a multitude of miniature shirts, slacks, belts and shoes for the stop-motion piece, helmed by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata.

  • Revolting Rhymes

    Courtesy of Magic Light Pictures

    In celebration of what would be the 100th birthday of author Roald Dahl, Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer adapted his poetry collection based on classic fairy tales. Dominic West, Rose Leslie and Gemma Chan lend their voices to the likes of the Big Bad Wolf and Snow White.