It looks like there’s going to be a lot of love for “Hair Love” at this year’s Oscars. According to our infamous racetrack odds, the short is way out front to claim the prize for Best Animated Short. Those odds are derived from the predictions of our Expert film journalists, Gold Derby Editors, Top 24 Users and the many regular Gold Derby readers making their own predictions.
But could an upset be bubbling in this category? Let’s take a closer look at all five of this year’s nominated shorts, in order by their current Gold Derby odds.
“Hair Love” (odds of winning: 82/25)
An African-American father faces the challenge of a lifetime when he finds himself having to style his daughter’s hair for the first time.
This is the first Oscar nomination for both Matthew A. Cherry and Karen Rupert Toliver.
Pros: It’s beautifully animated and addresses an issue that is, sadly, still prevalent in our society as evidenced by the recent case of Deandre Arnold, who was told he would have to cut his dreadlocks in order to walk at his graduation. Arnold will be attending the Oscars at Cherry and Toliver’s invitation. The fact that it was also a viral sensation doesn’t hurt it either.
Cons: While it’s very sweet, the reveal at the end might make some voters feel emotionally manipulated.
Votes: 23 Experts, 6 Editors, 19 top 24 users and 82% of all users.
“Kitbull” (odds of winning: 19/5)
A stubbornly independent stray kitten encounters an abused pitbull and the two end up striking a touching and life-saving friendship.
Rosana Sullivan and Kathryn Hendrickson earned their first career Oscar nominations for this effort.
Pros: This category loves films with cute animals in them. Just look at “Mr. Hublot,” “Feast,” “Bear Story” and “Piper” (2013-16). It’s also from the power house of Pixar which has done better in this category than in recent years.
Cons: Even in doing better in recent years, Pixar’s track record has been pretty spotty in this category having only won five times out of their fifteen previous nominations.
Votes: 3 Experts, 5 Editors, 3 top 24 users and 10% of all users.
“Sister” (odds of winning: 9/2)
A man remembers how annoying his sister was when they were young children.
This is Siqi Song’s first Oscar nomination.
Pros: The short has great usage of stop-motion and gives an interesting perspective into China’s now-defunct One Child Policy.
Cons: Some might view the ending of the film as having an anti-abortion message (even though Song has said that is not what she is trying to convey) and that could turn some voters off.
Votes: 2 Experts, 1 top 24 user and 4% of all users.
“Memorable” (odds of winning: 9/2)
As an artist sinks further into dementia, his world begins to appear more like oil paintings that become more abstract as his condition worsens.
Bruno Collet and Jean-François Le Corre collect their first Oscar nomination with this short.
Pros: It’s beautifully artistic and has a compelling real-life tie-in to the life of American painter William Utermohlen.
Cons: Voters don’t usually reward dark and emotionally haunting work in this category.
Votes: 3% of all users.
“Dcera (Daughter)” (odds of winning: 9/2)
As her father lays in a hospital bed, a woman looks back at the relationship she has had with him and all the ways that it never reached a deeper level of meaning in her life.
This is the first career Oscar nomination for Daria Kashcheeva.
Pros: It has a very distinct animation style and the way that it looks like a hand-held camera was used is something to truly marvel at.
Cons: The hand-held aspect cuts both ways and can feel very jarring. Also, it’s sometimes hard to tell some of the specifics that the short is trying to communicate about the father-daughter relationship being depicted.
Votes: 1% of all users.
Be sure to make your Oscar winner predictions today so that Hollywood insiders can see how their films and performers are faring in our odds. You can keep changing your predictions as often as you like until just before the ceremony on February 9. And join in the thrilling debate over the 2020 Academy Awards taking place right now with Hollywood insiders in our film forums. Read more Gold Derby entertainment news.