Five years ago, the Oscars snubbed the Emmy-winning "The Simpsons" and their hit movie. TV's first family of comedy wreaked their revenge last season with an episode in which Bart won an Oscar for the animated short "Angry Dad."
The show focused its savage satire on Hollywood's awards season and skewered animation techniques when crafting the other nominees: perennial winner Pixar's use of CGI, claymation in the style of "Wallace and Gromit," the simplicity of "The Illusionist," the starkness of "Persepolis."
This year, the wags and wits behind the long-running series could win a real Oscar as their one-off 3D film "Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'" is among the 10 semi-finalists for Best Animated Short.
Three-time Oscar champ James L. Brooks ("Terms of Endearment") was one of the writers on this five-minute film which finds Maggie facing off against her foe Gerald at the Ayn Rand School for Tots. This comic gem screened before the animated feature "Ice Age: Continental Drift."
The Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed 56 contenders in LA and Gotham to winnow the list down. Members of the branch who attend December screenings on both coasts and in San Francisco will vote on the final five, which will be revealed along with all the Oscar nominations on Jan. 10.
Among the other top contenders is "Paperman" from the Disney studio. This fusion of traditional hand-drawn animation and vector-based CG recounts a touching tale of lost love. It screened before the animated feature "Wreck-It Ralph."
The other eight in contention are:
"Adam and Dog" is a hand-drawn animated short about the relationship of man and canine. It is an independent film and Annie Award winner from Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar animators.
"Combustible" is a short romantic tragedy set in 18th century Edo. The film's design is heavily influenced by traditional Japanese paintings and woodblock prints.
"Dripped" is an homage to Jackson Pollack, this 2-D and 3-D short is about a thief with a hunger for great art.
"The Eagleman Stag" features stop-motion animation in a tale of an entomologist obsessed with time. It won the 2011 BAFTA Award.
"Fall of the House of Usher" is a creepy Edgar Allan Poe story narrated by Christopher Lee.
"Fresh Guacamole" includes stop-motion animation transforming familiar objects into fresh guacamole.
"Head Over Heels" is a student film about a splintered marriage as a man and woman share a home at opposite ends of gravity.
"Tram" has a story about a female tram operator whose imagination runs wild while driving a train full of men.