2017 Oscars: Animated Short Contenders

Award season is slowly approaching for the Academy Awards. This year the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation branch has deemed eligible a record 70 animated shorts. There are ten shortlist animations followed by the final five nominations for the Oscars. Last year had 60 total animated shorts.  Previous years included 33 in 2010 to 58 in 2014. The Academy has yet to release the contenders but here is a list of contenders I believe that will make the cut for this years shortlist. The contenders are a varied lot shot in many styles, from the shortest, BAFTA-winner Ainslie Henderson’s “Stems” (Scotland), to the longest, Rob Valley’s “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada) at 35 minutes, just under the 40-minute mark. Disney has also been pushing two shorts this year, Alan Barillaro’s “Piper” and Leo Matsuda’s “Inner Workings.” Pixar has recently released a captivating independent short, “Borrowed Time.” I expect to Pixar to mean a strong contender for this year but I do hope a lot of the international films get recognized as well. The five nominees will be announced January 24, 2017.

1. Ainslie Henderson’s, “Stems” (Scotland)

Trailer for a new very short, short film about making puppet making make music. featuring the music of Poppy Ackroyd
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Made possible by Puppet Animation Scotland.

2. Rob Valley’s, “Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (Canada)

Drink and smoke…that’s what Techno Stypes really likes to do, and fight. He was in no condition to fight. He was sick, really sick. His disease had whittled him down to a shadow of his former self. He was crippled from a car accident when he was 17 but that’s not how he lost his big toe. He lost that in a motorbike accident, yeah he was broken alright… what the hell was he fighting for anyway and what was he still doing in China? His father had given me two clear instructions: 1. Get Techno to stop drinking long enough to receive the liver transplant, and 2. Get him back home to Vancouver. This was not going to be easy.

3. Georges Schwizgebel, “Erlking” (Switzerland)

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2016: Kaputt

An animated documentary short about the central prison for women in the former GDR, based on interviews with former prisoners. The movie is directed by Volker schlecht and Alexander Lahl. The cast includes Gabriele Stotzer and Birgit Willschutz. Country of origin is German and is also known as the Broken: The Women’s prison at Hoheneck. The run time is about 7 minutes long. The studio is Die Kulturingenieure.
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The movie has received good reviews and won the grand prix short at the 23rd Stuttgart Festival of Animated FIlm (ITFS) in May. The movie has been able to produce ” a powerful record of the strength and cruelty of human nature. With raw and haunting images, the film examines a part of history which should not be forgotten.” The prize of the event was 15,000 euros. I expect this movie to get some recognition at the Annie’s this year as well as at the Oscars.