The Oscars' Best Animated Short Film category will be the usual battle between giants and little guys this year, with Pixar and Tweety Bird competing with a batch of smaller animated films from around the world. The Academy released a 10-film shortlist on Thursday, which puts Pixar's "La Luna" in the running to become the company's 11th nomination, and gives the Warner Bros. cartoon "I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat" a chance to add to WB's long history in the category as well.
The Academy shortlist narrowed the field down from 44 qualifying shorts.
Pixar has won three Oscars in this category – but since the company won its first Animated Feature Oscar for “Finding Nemo” in 2003, it has yet to win another Animated Short Oscar despite five subsequent nominations.
"I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat," meanwhile, is a new Tweety and Sylvester cartoon made in 3D and based on a song recorded by the late Mel Blanc decades ago.
Also in the running is "The Fantastic Flying Books or Mr. Morris Lessmore," from award-winning children's author William Joyce.
The shortlist is chosen by volunteer members of the Short Films and Feature Animation branch, who viewed and scored all eligible shorts. To qualify, a film must receive an average score of at least 7.5 on a scale of 6-to-10. The final three-to-five nominees will be chosen after a second round of judging, which is open to all branch members.
Animated shorts become eligible for consideration in two ways. Films that screen at least twice a day for three consecutive days in Los Angeles County qualify, provided they meet certain technical requirements. Films can also qualify by winning a best-in-category award at one of more than 60 competitive film festivals approved by the Academy.
Winners of the Student Academy Awards also qualify.
"Dimanche/Sunday," Patrick Doyon, director (National Film Board of Canada)
"The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore," William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg, directors (Moonbot Studios LA, LLC)
"I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat," Matthew O'Callaghan, director and Sam Register, executive producer (Warner Bros. Animation Inc.)
"La Luna," Enrico Casarosa, director (Pixar Animation Studios)
"Luminaris," Juan Pablo Zaramella, director (JPZtudio)
"Magic Piano," Martin Clapp, director and Hugh Welchman, producer (BreakThru Films)
"A Morning Stroll," Grant Orchard, director and Sue Goffe, producer (Studio AKA)
"Paths of Hate," Damian Nenow, director (Platige Image)
"Specky Four-Eyes," Jean-Claude Rozec, director and Mathieu Courtois, producer (Vivement Lundi!)
"Wild Life," Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby, directors (National Film Board of Canada)