Kobe Bryant is in the running to make it to the Oscars as the subject, writer and executive producer of an animated short that could take his awards-heavy career into a different field — because “Dear Basketball,” the animated short he made with veteran Disney animator Glen Keane, has made the shortlist in the Academy Awards category of Best Animated Short.
The Academy announced the 10 shortlisted films on Wednesday, with “Dear Basketball” — in which Keane’s line drawings animated the poem that Bryant wrote to announce his retirement from the game — serving as the highest-profile entry on the list.
(Bryant wouldn’t win an Oscar himself, because he served as executive producer, not producer, on the film.)
Other shortlisted films include Pixar’s “Lou,” about a monster who lives in a school lost-and-found box, and three Student Academy Award winners, “Cradle,” “In a Heartbeat” and “Life Smartphone.”
The films were chosen from 63 eligible shorts, six shy of the record of 69 set last year. Volunteer members from the Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation Branch viewed and scored all the eligible films, with the 10 highest-scoring films making up the shortlist.
Screenings of the shortlisted films will now be held for members of the branch in Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and London, with every member who has seen all 10 eligible to vote. The five nominees will be announced on Jan. 23.
The list, with director and production company:
“Cradle,” Devon Manney, director (University of Southern California)
“Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, director, and Kobe Bryant, writer (Glen Keane Productions)
“Fox and the Whale,” Robin Joseph, director (Robin Joseph)
“Garden Party,” Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon, directors (MOPA)
“In a Heartbeat,” Esteban Bravo and Beth David, directors (Ringling College of Art and Design)
“Life Smartphone,” Chenglin Xie, director (China Central Academy of Fine Arts)
“Lost Property Office,” Daniel Agdag, director, and Liz Kearney, producer (8th in Line)
“Lou,” Dave Mullins, director, and Dana Murray, producer (Pixar Animation Studios)
“Negative Space,” Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, directors (Ikki Films)
“Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)