It looks like Pixar will be lucky enough to win its fourth award in this category on nomination #13 as “Piper” is the overwhelming favorite according to our official racetrack odds. These are derived from the predictions of Expert film journalists along with the Gold Derby Editors who cover awards year-round, the Top 24 Users who got the top scores predicting last year’s Oscar nominations, the All-Star Top 24 who got the top scores when you combine the last two years’ nominations and the thousands of Users who make up the largest (and often savviest) bloc of predictors.
While Pixar has easily dominated in Best Animated Feature, with eight wins out of 10 nominations, its luck in Best Animated Short has not been as consistent. The studio has only prevailed three of 12 times: “Tin Toy” in 1988, “Geri’s Game” in 1997 and “For the Birds” in 2001.
But is “Piper” as sure a bet as everyone thinks? Let’s take a look at all of this year’s nominees to get a better sense of the state of the race.
“Piper” (odds of winning: 2/9)
A baby sandpiper is being encouraged to search for food on the seashore. The baby goes to the shore but ends up being swamped by the incoming surf, leading the baby to be fearful of returning to the shore. Now the baby must conquer her fear with the help of an unexpected friend.
This is the first Oscar nomination for Alan Barillaro and Marc Sondheimer.
Pros: Having screened before “Finding Dory,” it’s a pretty safe bet that this is the most widely seen of the nominees. It’s also adorable, emotional and like several other past winners (“Bear Story” in 2015, “Feast” in 2014) it focuses on an animal. Also like past winners in this category there’s no dialogue in it.
Cons: Even though it’s a short film, the story can feel a little rushed.
Votes: 23 of our Experts, all 6 of our in-house Editors, 17 of our Top 24 Users (who topped last year’s Oscar predictions) and 85% of all our Users.
“Blind Vaysha” (odds of winning: 14/1)
This film tells the story of Vaysha, a girl who sees the past out of her left eye and the future out of her right eye, making her unable to see what the present looks like.
This is Theodore Ushev’s first nomination.
Pros: The film is beautifully animated in a very distinct style that stands out from the rest of the nominees.
Cons: The short feels kind of aimless and has a lack of a bigger message that it’s trying to convey.
Votes: 2 Experts, 3 of the Top 24 Users and 6% of our overall Users.
“Borrowed Time” (odds of winning: 14/1)
A sheriff returns to the scene of a traumatic accident from his youth and with each step he must confront the painful memories that remain inside him.
Andrew Coats and Lou Hamou-Lhadj earned their first Oscar nomination for this short.
Pros: This is the most emotional film of the bunch and is very gripping without having much dialogue.
Cons: The story could have had a better flow to it.
Votes: 2 Experts, 2 of our Top 24 Users and 5% of our overall Users.
“Pear Cider and Cigarettes” (odds of winning: 33/1)
The filmmaker recounts the story of his longtime friend, Techno Stypes, who finds himself hospitalized in China and having to return home to Vancouver.
This marks the first nominations for Robert Valley and Cara Speller.
Pros: The film uses animation brilliantly to tell its story and is very affecting.
Cons: Unlike past winners here, this film is entirely dialogue. Also, at a certain point you might find yourself wondering why we are supposed to care about this guy in the first place.
Votes: 1 of the Top 24 Users and 2% of the overall Users.
“Pearl” (odds of winning: 40/1)
The journey of a daughter and her relationship to her father is examined through the car that she was raised with.
This is Patrick Osborne’s second Oscar nomination. He won this category two years ago for “Feast.”
Pros: The portrayal of the father/daughter relationship is deeply touching and the animation style definitely stands out.
Cons: Sometimes the story changes abruptly to a different perspective and there’s a feeling that a greater context could have given the story more emotion.
Votes: 2% of our overall Users.
Be sure to make your Oscar predictions. Weigh in now with your picks so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films are faring in our Oscar odds. You can keep changing your predictions right up until just before winners are announced on February 26 at 5:00 pm PT/8:00 pm ET. And join in the fierce debate over the 2017 Oscars taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our forums.