Oscar Animation Nominations 2024: Business As Usual

Oscar-nominated animation shorts stills

 It was business as usual in the 96th Academy Award animation nominees announcement. After last year's victory of Guillermo Del Toro with his stop-motion, indie-infected 'Pinocchio', this year the Academy Award voters moved to the usual mix of US studio films, plus a Studio Ghibli film in the animation feature category.

Hayao Miyazaki deservedly got his fourth Academy Award nomination (he already has a 2002 Oscar win for 'Spirited Away') for 'The Boy and the Heron'. The Manhattan-based 'Robot Dream' is the single European entry in the mix (director: Pablo Berger), which includes Disney/Pixar's 'Elemental', Netflix's 'Nimona', and Sony Pictures Animation 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse'.

Less children-friendly (but equally artistically driven) European choices, such as 'My Love Affair with Marriage' by Signe Baumane and 'Unicorn Wars' by Alberto Vázquez were shut out of the nominees.

The animation short film category has tended to become more unpredictable in recent years (even though the actual winners tend to reflect the traditional view of the Academy Award member of what it is to be an animated short).

So, we have the excellent, Holocaust-themed 'Letter to A Pig' by the Israeli director Tal Kantor (which found its way into our Best Animation Shorts of 2023 as well). We also get the Iranian Our Uniform' by Yegane Moghaddam, a timely reminder of what uniform can do to your human rights. 'Pachyderme' is the second French co-produced film in the 5 nominees (watch the trailer). 

Two US films, the Pixar alumnus Dave Mullins' ''War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko' and the 'Napoleon Dynamite' directors Jared and Jerusha Hess (now turning their craft into animation), with 'Ninety-Five Senses'.

Again, the Cannes Palme d'Or winner '27' by Flóra Anna Buda was left out; too sexual perhaps. As well as 'Eeva' by Lucija Mrzljak & Morten Tšinakov and a host of other festival-acclaimed films that didn't have a chance. (By the way, 'Electra' by Daria Kashcheeva didn't even make it to the 15 Oscar-shortlisted films).

Rather unexpectedly, the too-schmaltzy, 'I-put-all-my-favorite-characters-in-a-movie-to-get-an-Oscar 'Once Upon A Studio' Disney short didn't make the final cut. So, the field is rather open this time around.

ANIMATED SHORT FILM: NOMINEES

  • 'Letter to a Pig' by Tal Kantor and Amit R. Gicelter (France/Israel)
    A Holocaust survivor reads a letter he wrote to the pig who saved his life. A young schoolgirl hears his testimony in class and sinks into a twisted dream where she confronts questions of identity, collective trauma, and the extremes of human nature
  • 'Ninety-Five Senses' by Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess (US)
    An ode to the body's five senses delivered by a man with little time left to enjoy them.
  • 'Our Uniform' by Yegane Moghaddam (Iran)
    An Iranian girl unfolds her school memories by going through the folds and fabrics of her old uniform. She admits that she’s nothing but a female and explores the roots of this idea in her school years. This film is a social satire about the clothing conventions imposed on young children.
  • 'Pachyderm' by Stephanié Clement and Marc Rius (France). 
    Louise spends a few days every summer with her grandparents in the country. Everything seems sweet but this year, the snow will fall in summer and a monster will die.
  • 'War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko' by Dave Mullins and Brad Booker (US)
    Set in an alternate WWI reality where a senseless war rages on, two soldiers on opposite sides of the conflict play a joyful game of chess. A heroic carrier pigeon delivers the soldiers' chess moves over the battlefield as the fighting escalates

    ANIMATED FEATURE FILM: NOMINEES

    • 'The Boy and the Heron' by Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki (Japan)
    • 'Elemental' by Peter Sohn and Denise Ream (US)
    • 'Nimona' by Nick Bruno, Troy Quane, Karen Ryan, and Julie Zackary (US)
    • 'Robot Dreams' by Pablo Berger, Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estapé and Sandra Tapia Díaz (France/Spain)
    • 'Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse' by Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Amy Pascal (US)

    Find the full 15 shortlisted animation films for an Academy Award. 

    The 96th Academy Awards will be held on Sunday, March 10, 2024, at the Dolby® Theatre at Ovation Hollywood and will be televised live on ABC and in more than 200 territories worldwide.

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