It wouldn’t really be an animation category at the Oscars if there wasn’t something from Pixar to choose from. Well, the animation titan is back in competition at this year’s Oscars for Best Animated Short Film with “Lou.” It marks the first nomination for both Dave Mullins and Dana Murray.
The film is set on a school playground. When all the kids rush to head back into class, several of them leave their items behind including a football, a lunch box and a handheld video game. With the playground empty, the lost and found box starts rattling and the items in it come together to form a being, Lou, that goes and collects the things that have been left behind. When the kids come back out for recess, several kids come to the box to retrieve their belongings. As recess continues, Lou observes a bully picking on several kids and taking their belongings.
When the kids return to class, the bully notices his backpack is missing. He tries to retrieve it when Lou appears and runs off with it leading the bully on a wild chase around the playground. While the bully is in a struggle with Lou, Lou notices that the kid’s underwear has the initials “J.J.” written on them. The bully reclaims his backpack but then sees Lou in the lost and found box holding up a plush puppy dog that has the same initials written on the tag.
The bully flashes back to when a bully took that from him. The bully tries to get the dog back but Lou first makes him return the items in the box to the students when they are back out on the playground. The bully soon realizes that there are now no more items in the lost and found and that Lou isn’t there anymore. While he’s hugging his beloved dog, a football is accidentally thrown at him. The bully looks up and two of the kids that he had been bullying invite him to join their game.
Is this yet another Oscar that Pixar can add to already impressive haul? Here are the pros and cons that this entry brings to the competition.
Like with most things from Pixar, this short is very sweet, kind and has the biggest heart of this year’s nominated shorts.
An anti-bullying message is a great way to give this short a feeling of importance to it.
The moment when the bully sees the plush dog is one of those moments Pixar does well where every adult watching will remember a similar instance in their own life where they lost something or had something taken from them.
While Pixar has done very well in the Animated Feature category, their luck has not been so great in the short film races. The studio has only claimed this prize four times over the past 30 years: “Tin Toy” (1988), “Geri’s Game” (1997), “For the Birds” (2001) and “Piper” (2016).
The film can feel very predictable and, considering the level that we’re used to seeing from Pixar, underwhelming.