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Race for the Oscars®: Best Animated Short Subject, the Semifinals

The Awards Season officially begins in December. The question of who’s going to get the golden trophy, regarOscar Statuedless of it’s being a Golden Globe or an Oscar® or something totally different in the early months of 2010 is not only good fun for us fans but a deadly earnest endeavor for the movie companies. There are millions of dollars at stake, after all, and the big contenders will get a limited release for a brief time this month before going wide in January, thus giving the impression that January’s movies always suck. 

What many people don’t know, is that the some of the “lesser” Oscars® are actually have what are for the most part “semi-finals” and these are made public now.

For a film to qualify for the Best Short category, it has to have either a three-day theatrical release, or have won an award at an authorized festival, (TV pilots, such as Courage the Cowardly Dog, which was nominated in 1997, are verboten) then the judges sift through all the submissions and pick the semifinalists, who then are screened by everyone who’s qualified to vote for a “real” nominee. They then vote for the finalists, and these are shown to the academy voters on a number of screenings.

Only those who have attended these “mini-fests” can actually vote for best short.

However, perusing through the list we can kind of guess where the judges were going here. At least three of the entries have won before, and director Nick Park, in fact, wins just about every time he submits one. So bet on him.

Through the miracle of YouTube, you can either see clips from these films, or if they’re short enough, the whole thing.

The Cat Piano
directors Eddie White and Ari GibsonStill from The Cat Piano
(The People’s Republic of Animation)
A city of singing cats is preyed upon by a shadowy figure intent on performing a twisted feline symphony.

French Roast
director Fabrice O. Joubert
(Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films
The Trailer 

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty
director Nicky Phelan / producer Darragh O’Connell
(Brown Bag Films)
Ganny bitches to her granddaughter while telling bedtime story

The Kinematograph
director-producer Tomek Baginski
(Platige Image)
Polish director Baginski, whose Fallen Art redefined CG short films in 2005 (they've won just about every festival prize there is) has finished his latest mini-masterwork about an inventor and his infernal invention. 

The Lady and the Reaper / La Dama y la Muerte
director Javier Recio Gracia
(Kandor Graphics and Green Moon)
A humorous look at death.


producer Nicolas Schmerkin
(Autour de Minuit)

Wallace and Gromit: A Matter of Loaf and Death

director Nick Park
(Aardman Animations Ltd)
Someone is killing all the local bakers in town! Can Wallace & Gromit ™ crack the case?

Partly CloudyStill from Runaway

director Peter Sohn
(Pixar Animation Studios)
The “Stork Theory” of reproduction is explored.


director Cordell Barker
(National Film Board of Canada)

Naturally there are victims, but in the end everyone is equal.

director Roelof van den Bergh
(il Luster Productions)

Competing with the Oscars® are the Annie® awards which are run by ASIFA, the international animation society. This year's batch of nominees, is unusual because there are no overlaps the Oscar® semifinalists. They are:

Pups of Liberty
(Picnic Pictures)

Robot Chicken: Star Wars 2.5

Santa, The Fascist Years

The Rooster, The Crocodile and The Night Sky
(Barley Films)

The Story of Walls
(Badmash Animation Studios)

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