For the second year running, industry professionals are getting the chance to stream top animated contenders for the Oscars — for free.
Streaming platform The Animation Showcase has gathered some of the best and most high-profile shorts of the year, such as Affairs of the Art, Robin Robin, The Windshield Wiper, and Souvenir Souvenir. Other likely contenders, such as Mum is Pouring Rain, The Boob Fairy, and Namoo are also available on the platform.
As of today, Cartoon Brew readers who work in animation or film, including students, can apply for membership by clicking on this link. If granted, they will have access to the shorts and supplementary content.
Available films are split into categories, which include:
- Best Of 2021: a curated selection of outstanding shorts, both student and professional, that have qualified for the Oscar
- Studios: the competing shorts from major studios like Pixar, Netflix, Sony, and Skydance
- Spotlights: this year’s films from two leading producer-distributors of festival shorts, Miyu and the National Film Board of Canada, as well as French schools ESMA and Gobelins
- Behind the scenes: bonus features, including exclusive content like live Q&As, will be added for some of the shorts in contention
The plan is to stream the 15 shortlisted shorts after they are announced on December 21. There is also the possibility that an Oscar-qualifying feature will be added, just as Calamity, a Childhood of Martha Jane Cannary was last year.
The platform is the brainchild of Benoit Berthe Siward, founder and CEO of The Animation Showcase, a strategy agency closely involved with award campaigns for animated films. He created it last year as an alternative to his usual awards-season screenings, which were hampered by Covid. Impressed by how viewers engaged with it, he brought it back this season in an expanded form, helped by rising demand from producers and distributors to include their shorts.
“This digital tool allowed the Showcase to spread to places it never went before: Oceania or Asia, for example,” Berthe Siward tells Cartoon Brew. “I was also very impressed to see the commitment in term of [last years’] films’ views. The audience attention span is very good on the platform; data shows that people most of the time are watching the films entirely without skipping or browsing.”
The service is quite an achievement: Berthe Siward has brought major studios on board while also spotlighting important indie films, which don’t always get much exposure outside the festival circuit. Last year, The Animation Showcase became the first place (that we knew of) to make all shortlisted shorts in the category available to stream, apart from the Academy’s own screening room.
Oscar contenders will be removed when nominations are announced on February 8, 2022, but The Animation Showcase will remain live throughout the year with a program of films unrelated to the Oscars. The platform is also available on media players like Apple TV and Roku.