Four of the six American shorts are from major U.S. companies: Burrow and Out are from Disney/Pixar; If Anything Happens I Love You is a Netflix short, and To: Gerard is from Dreamworks Animation.
Women directors were outnumbered by men directors this year; only three of the ten films have women at the helm. Since some films have multiple directors, there are a total of 12 men and 3 women who have been shortlisted.
This year’s shortlist also offers a lot of fresh faces in the category. Nine of the ten films are from directors who have never been nominated for an animated short Academy Award. The exception is The Snail and the Whale. One of its directors, Max Lang, has previously been nominated twice, for The Gruffalo and Room on the Broom. (It should also be noted that though the directors of Kapaemahu are all first-time contenders, the short’s animation director, Daniel Sousa, was previously Oscar-nominated for his short Feral.)
In terms of techniques, seven of the films use predominantly 2d approaches, while three of the films are cg. No stop-motion animation was shortlisted this year.
And in terms of snubs, where do we begin? Nearly all of 2020’s most celebrated festival efforts were overlooked including the grand prize winner at Ottawa (Kangmin Kim’s KKUM), the grand prize winner at Zagreb (Shoko Hara’s Just A Guy), and the jury award winner at Annecy (Alberto Vázquez’s Homeless Home). Last month we profiled 15 excellent films in the category that were worthy of Academy members’ consideration. Of those 15 films, only one — Erick Oh’s Opera — made the shortlist.
The ten films shortlisted in the visual effects category are listed below in alphabetical order by title.
- Birds of Prey and the Fantabulous Emancipation of One Harley Quinn
- Love and Monsters
- The Midnight Sky
- The One and Only Ivan
- Welcome to Chechnya
Notably, the animated feature Soul is on the list of vfx contenders. The last time an animated feature made it past the shortlist and earned a vfx nomination was quite recently — it was Disney’s The Lion King remake, which was nominated last year.
All members of the Academy’s visual effects branch will be invited virtually to view 10-minute excerpts from each of the shortlisted films on Saturday, March 6. Following the screenings, members will vote to nominate five films for final Oscar consideration.
The nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards will be announced on Monday, March 15, and the Oscars will be televised live on Sunday, April 25, 2021.
Pictured at top: “Yes People.”