The Rundown 2017: Animated & Live Action Short Films

For our ninth Rundown article, the shortest categories the Oscars have. After the jump, you’ll find our winner and runner-up predictions for Best Animated Short Film & Live Action Short Film as well as general commentary about the race. Wednesday, we’ll cover the writing category with the most abysmal correlation with Best Picture.

Best Animated Short Film

Winner Predictions

  • Dear Basketball (WL R) [New] (PP O)
  • Garden Party
  • Lou (TB R) [New] (TL O)
  • Negative Space
  • Revolting Rhymes

Runner-Up Predictions

  • Garden Party (PP O) (TL R) [New]
  • Lou (WL R) [New]
  • Negative Space (TB R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: While my top personal choices would be Lou and Garden Party in that order, I cannot imagine a scenario in which Dear Basketball loses, though the recent hubbub over nominee Kobe Bryant’s abuse allegations could ultimately sink him. That said, Lou has that kind of emotional zing that Oscar voters often love and this is open to the entire membership, not just the animation branch, giving Lou a good chance, but Dear Basketball a better one thanks to the myriad men in the Academy who, if they watch it, will want to celebrate the sports element and the voters looking to say that the Academy cares about the future.
Peter J. Patrick: Revolting Rhymes, clocking in at nearly 30 minutes, has an unfair advantage here, but it’s such a charmer, I can’t see voters resisting it. Kobe Bryant’s homage to basketball is probably its closet competition.
Tripp Burton: Pixar and Disney have done well here in recent years, and Lou is both funny and touching, so you can’t count it out of this race. It has some stiff competition, though: the visually stunning Garden Party and the melancholy stop-motion Negative Space are dark horses. Many consider the frontrunner to be the crowd pleasing Dear Basketball, but a lot of that depends on whether Los Angelenos embrace Laker legend and nominated producer Kobe Bryant or whether they don’t want to reward him in the middle of the #MeToo movement. The only film I would discount here is Revolting Rhymes, which feels the slightest of the five films.
Thomas La Tourrette: This is a much more difficult category to predict. The good-natured Lou, could easily win, though Disney/Pixar films have not necessarily won that many of these Oscars lately. It is sweet and heartwarming, and will definitely be a contender. The tale of a bully learning the joys of reuniting kids with their lost toys will resonate with many. The Annie-winning Dear Basketball, is based on a letter that Kobe Bryant wrote on announcing his retirement. The sentiment about a kid dreaming of growing up to be a basketball star is sweet, but I found the animation style annoying. It is the shortest of the films, but still might win. Negative Space is the only stop-motion nominee. It is a humorous tale of a boy bonding with his father over packing, not your usual father-son story. Often the longest film wins, which could help Revolting Rhymes here as all the others are quite short. It is a retelling of the Snow White and Little Red Riding Hood stories from the warped mind of Roald Dahl. It is very funny in its twists and turns, though some might not like the way it will end. The very end of Garden Party is also a bit of a jolt. The film shows various frogs enjoying life in a house where something sinister happened. Many shots in it appear very photorealistic, and it ably combines mystery and humor. I can imagine any of them winning, which makes it hard to predict. The most buzz has been around Dear Basketball, which is also the shortest film, but I will go with ones that made more of an impact on me. Lou wins, but Garden Party comes in a close second.

Best Live Action Short Film

Winner Predictions

  • DeKalb Elementary (WL O)
  • The Eleven O’Clock
  • My Nephew Emmett (TB R) [New]
  • The Silent Child (TL R) [New]
  • Watu Wote / All of Us (PP R) [New]

Runner-Up Predictions

  • DeKalb Elementary (PP R) [New] (TB R) [New] (TL R) [New]
  • My Nephew Emmett (WL R) [New]

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Wesley Lovell: I’m going to say that the Academy is sure to recognize my personal favorite from the list, DeKalb Elementary, though My Nephew Emmett and Watu Wote have very strong cases for consideration. Emmett would probably have the better chance at the runner-up position, but either could top DeKalb.
Peter J. Patrick: All the nominees are worthy, but the humanity on display in Watu Wote is so overpowering, it should be an easy winner. DeKalb Elementary and My Nephew Emmett are likewise powerful depictions of real events, either one of which would make a splendid runner-up, but I personally found DeKalb more intriguing because I was on the edge of my seat not knowing how it was going to turn out vs. dreading the events in My Nephew Emmett which I knew were coming.
Tripp Burton: This is one of the best lineups of Live Action shorts I have seen in a while, and any of the films could make a good case for winning. My guess is that this is between My Nephew Emmett, a dramatization of the murder of Emmett Till, and DeKalb Elementary, a dramatization of a real school shooting incident, two of the tensest and timeliest of the shorts. If not, The Silent Child, which makes a case for the proper education of children who are deaf, or Watu Wote, about the strife between Christians and Muslims in Africa, are credible contenders too. The only film I would probably discount here is the comical The Eleven O’Clock.
Thomas La Tourrette: Having watched the nominated shorts, it feels like this will come down to either The Silent Child or DeKalb Elementary, and it is difficult to choose between the two. They were both strongly acted and emotional films. DeKalb deals with a shooter that appears at a school and the woman in the front office that tries to talk him down. It is tense as one does not know where it will go. The fact that it was based off a real occurrence adds to topicality. The Silent Child deals with an aide that comes to help a deaf girl get ready for school. The rest of the girl’s family are hearing and do not realize how capable she could be. The family makes some awful decisions and it is emotionally draining, but very good. Your heart aches for this little girl. My guess is that it will come down to these two films, with Silent Child perhaps slightly ahead due to the emotions it brings out in the film. Of the other three films, the lone comedy, The Eleven O’Clock, will get some votes just for being lighter than the others. It is quite well done, but it did remind me of The Voorman Problem, which was a non-winning nominee in 2013. Watu Wote / All of Us deals with religious conflicts on a bus on the Kenya border. A good film, but also reminiscent of a previous non-winning nominee 2010’s Na Wewe. My Nephew Emmett, about the murder of Emmett Till, was good, but did not grab me as much as the others did. It was a good year for the live action shorts with five strong films. The Silent Child edges out DeKalb for the win, but it could go the other way.

KEY:

Appears on Four Lists
Appears on Three Lists
Appears on Two Lists

Wesley Lovell Peter Patrick Tripp Burton Thomas LaTourrette
[New] = New Prediction
[Return] = Prior Prediction Returning
(O) = Original Prediction
(R) = Rundown Series

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