“They both tug at the heartstrings in the ways that you would expect them to,” says Gold Derby contributing writer Charlie Bright while discussing “Hair Love” and “Kitbull,” two of the films nominated for Best Animated Short. Bright joined me (Kevin Jacobsen) and contributing editor Riley Chow in a video slugfest about the three short categories at this year’s Oscars and made it clear it was down to “Hair Love” and “Kitbull” for the win in the animation category. Watch the shorts slugfest above.
“Hair Love” comes from Sony Pictures Animation and was conceived by Matthew A. Cherry, crafting a story about a young black girl attempting a new hairstyle and her father trying to help her. I note that the film is “easily accessible” for voters and has the benefit of Cherry and others campaigning relatively hard for it in Hollywood. Meanwhile, “Kitbull” tells the story of a stray cat and an abused pitbull who form a connection. Chow wasn’t too blow away, stating that he thought to himself, “Does this really need an Oscar or an Oscar nomination? I feel like we’ve seen it before.” But as Bright adds, the academy loves animated shorts about cute animals, so it cannot be counted out.
The other three films are less mainstream and accessible but still have a shot due to their emotional content. “Dcera (Daughter),” about a fractured relationship between a father and daughter won the Student Academy Award, as Chow points out. “Memorable” struck me the most, a stop-motion film about an older man succumbing to dementia. However, we drew comparisons to last year’s “Late Afternoon,” which did not go on to win. Then there’s “Sister,” about a boy and his sister that tackles China’s one-child policy. Chow admits he immediately wrote [it] off because it’s almost borderline anti-choice,” but Bright notes the context of China’s law makes it less so. Yet, he does also state: “If you don’t seek out that information or any perspective from the director, that can definitely be an opinion you end up walking away with.” All three of us are predicting “Hair Love” to win the category, though “Kitbull” should not be counted out.
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.