Why the only bit of The Oscars you need to watch... is the bit at the end

We're continuing to edge towards awards season and plenty of blogs are starting to iron out their 'Oscar [insert year here] Predictions' templates. There's nothing wrong with that and over the last few days I've found myself here looking at current and updated predictions as well as scanning the side-bars and link throughs of blogs I read on a regular basis (notably 202chicago's here), to get some idea on who thinks whats going to win.

As I say, there's nothing wrong with that and I enjoy reading about speculation and prediction as much as the next man. Having said that, when The Oscars role around I can't help but feel a little under-whelmed and, normally, the main reason for that is the politics behind it all. There is a certain 'type' of film that gets nominated for Oscars (I'm looking at you Precious) and not only that but once a film matches the right 'type' it also has to be released at the right time during the year to seemingly stand a chance (I'm still looking at you Precious). Perhaps there's nothing wrong with that either but it just feels a bit disingenuous to me to proclaim a film Best Picture when I suspect some of the members that vote on these matters may have forgotten all about films that came out towards the start of the year.

Now, I'll admit at this point that I haven't got any hard facts to back this up with, it's just the way I feel towards The Oscars and the awards season as a whole. I will, however, offer a case in point from this year: Moon. Moon doesn't fit in to either the 'type' of film normally noted nor the release period The Academy focuses on yet has garnered largely positive reviews around the world. Ask yourself this: if Moon had been released at the end of November/beginning of December, would we be talking about it as a serious contender now in a host of award categories? I think we probably would but hey, I'm a cynical bastard.

Having said that, I haven't seen everything that's being tipped to get a nomination and maybe they make Moon look like garbage. But I doubt it. And I suspect the reasons those films are getting tipped are more closely aligned with their release dates (and the people tipping them understanding how this process works) than their quality. Not that that should take anything away from the eventual winners and nominees. Just for the record, taking last years choices as an example, I loved all of the Best Picture choices (excluding The Reader), all of the Best Actor choices and most of the other choices in the leading categories. The eventual winners all deserved it in their own individual ways and I suspect I will also like this year's nominees and respect the eventual winners for their achievement(s).

I'd love to end this by saying this year will be no different; I'll feign interest in the ceremony, be annoyed when Moon is snubbed, enjoy reading other people's articles and largely keep this blog award-free. However... I can't. Because, I've found a part of the whole awards process that I'm not only interested in, but that is woefully under-covered and under-supported. It's something that I've recently become rather interested in and have been convinced (just like it's literary counterpart) of its relevancy and status as an art form. I am of course talking about The Oscar for The Best Short Film (Animated).

I could write at length about why I've been suddenly taken by this form of film but then this would quickly turn into more of a ramble than it already is so I'll let the articles that are to follow do their own talking. Below are the ten films that have recently been revealed as the 'semi-finalists' for the 2010 Oscar nominations, along with their websites (including the absolutely fantastic animated website for Granny O'Grimm - deserves an award of its own!). These will be whittled down to a final five in February. Between now and then I'll be posting a small article on each one of them with, where possible, a review and once we get nearer to the nominees being announced having hopefully seen them all (don't get me started on that, why film makers don't make shorts available more readily, I'll never know) I'll put my predictions up.

Until then if anyone also feels a similar need to look through the films then please get in touch and I'll link through to anything you post about them or this topic in general.

The 10 semi-finalists and their websites:

The Cat Piano, Eddie White and Ari Gibson, directors (The People’s Republic of Animation)

French Roast, Fabrice O. Joubert, director (Pumpkin Factory/Bibo Films)

Granny O’Grimm’s Sleeping Beauty, Nicky Phelan, director, and Darragh O’Connell, producer (Brown Bag Films)

The Kinematograph, Tomek Baginski, director-producer (Platige Image)

The Lady and the Reaper (La Dama y la Muerte), Javier Recio Gracia, director (Kandor Graphics and Green Moon)

Logorama, Nicolas Schmerkin, producer (Autour de Minuit)

A Matter of Loaf and Death, Nick Park, director (Aardman Animations Ltd.)

Partly Cloudy, Peter Sohn, director (Pixar Animation Studios)

Runaway, Cordell Barker, director (National Film Board of Canada)

Variete, Roelof van den Bergh, director (il Luster Productions)


  1. Hiya,

    thanks for the mention of Granny O'Grimm, we're really excited about the shortlist. The full 6min short film is up now on Granny's website at www.grannyogrimm.com, and on youtube in HD. Granny is also on Twitter and Facebook if you feel in need of a bit of abuse from an unnaturally angry Granny :)

    Brown Bag

  2. Many thanks to The Large Association of Movie Blogs (LAMB) who picked this as their article of the week (or, LAMB Chop!). Their write-up of it can be found here:


  3. Great that you're highlighting these. I've seen and reviewed the shorts from the last two years and also fallen in love with them. The winning short last year, La Maison en Petits Cubes, was one of the best films I saw in 2008 - short, long, animated or live-action. Simply stunning.