The Walt Disney toon factory used to own Best Animated Short, taking 10 of the first 11 races beginning in 1932. Since that streak ended in 1942, it's won only three times, the most recent being in 1969 for "It's Tough to be a Bird." That dry spell could be over this year as it has the leading entry. However, another studio backed short could still play spoiler.
This black and white film fuses traditional hand-drawn animation with vector-based CG to tell a tale of lost love. A young man meets a beautiful woman while on his way to work. After spotting her again during his work day, he decides to do whatever he can to get her attention.
This Disney produced short by first-time nominee John Kahrs screened before “Wreck-It Ralph.” The choice of 14 of our 22 experts as well as four of our seven editors and 80% of users, it has leading odds of 17/10.
PROS: The film is visually very stylish in its display of Manhattan, has a very clear story and tells it in a very humorous way.
CONS: The plot is fairly predictable, not something that surprises the viewer.
“Adam and Dog”
This hand-drawn film follows a dog into the Garden of Eden where it meets and befriends Adam and then has to cope with losing him to Eve. This independent film by first-time nominee Minkyu Lee drew on the talents of Disney, Dreamworks and Pixar animators and won the Annie.
With the backing of five experts and 5% of users, it has odds of 7/2.
PROS: The film is beautifully animated. While the film contains no dialogue, the use of sound throughout the movie is impeccable.
CONS: The film takes a while to move along its story which lacks structure.
“Maggie Simpson in 'The Longest Daycare'”
In this 3-D spinoff of the Fox TV show "The Simpsons," Maggie returns to the Ayn Rand School for Tots where she tries to save a caterpillar from being squished by her arch-nemesis, one-eyebrowed Baby Gerald. This is David Silverman’s second film to receive an Oscar nomination; he served as co-director on “Monster’s Inc.” which lost the inaugural Oscar for Best Animated Feature to "Shrek" in 2001.
“The Simpsons” has won 10 of its 22 bids for Best Animated Program at the Primetime Emmys. One expert and 10% of users expect it to add an Oscar to that crowded mantle giving it odds of 9/2.
PROS: For fans of the show, the references to classic episodes (like the Ayn Rand School for Tots from “A Streetcar Named Marge”) are a real treat. The film is short, to the point and goes all over the emotional map being funny, sweet and even sad for a little bit.
CONS: For non-viewers, the references will probably be lost on them. While it may be well liked, it doesn’t inspire a lot of passion.
“Head Over Heels”
This stop-motion film by first-time nominees Timothy Reckart and Fodhla Cronin O’Reilly tells the story of an elderly married couple that has grown so far apart that one lives on the floor and the other on the ceiling.
With three experts, one editor and 2% of users predicting a victory, it has odds of 11/2.
PROS: The film is visually stunning and tells a wonderful story full of emotion and love. The demads of stop-motion could command respect.
CONS: It can be a bit unclear as to what the couple's living arrangement symbolizes.
This stop motion film depicts an unseen person making guacamole using the most unconventional ingredients. This brings PES his first Oscar nod.
With the backing of just 1% of users, this film has the slimmest odds to win at 10/1.
PROS: The film is very imaginative and creative. When I saw the shorts in the theater, this one had the crowd chuckling the most.
CONS: At just two minutes in length, this is the shortest film to ever be nominated for an Academy Award. It also lacks the emotional depth you find in some of the other nominees.