Two Pixar shorts, including one in which a young man struggles to tell his parents that he is gay, have made the shortlist in the Oscars Best Animated Feature category, the Academy announced on Tuesday.
“Out,” by Steven Clay Hunter, is the first Disney or Pixar movie to feature a gay main character. It made the shortlist along with another film from Pixar, Madeline Sharafian’s “Burrow.” Three other Pixar films — “Float,” “Loop” and “Wind” — were submitted but did not make the list. The company has won two of the last four Oscars in the category.
Other shortlisted films in the animated category include DreamWorks Animation’s “To Gerard”; “The Snail and the Whale,” from the filmmakers behind the 2010 nominee “The Gruffalo”; Netflix’s “If Anything Happens I Love You,” about the aftermath of a school shooting; and a number of films from around the world, including Iceland’s “Yes-People,” France’s “Genius Loci” and South Korea’s “Opera.”
The animated shorts were chosen from 96 eligible films, the largest number of qualifying films ever in the category. (The previous high was 92 last year.)
In the live-action shorts category, the highest-profile film is “The Human Voice,” Pedro Almodóvar’s adaptation of a Jean Cocteau short play, which stars Tilda Swinton.
Other shortlisted films include “The Letter Room,” a prison comedy starring Oscar Isaac and Alia Shawkat; “Two Distant Strangers,” a time-loop drama about a Black man who is repeatedly killed by the same police officer; “White Eye,” an Israeli drama, shot in one long take, about a man who confronts the treatment of immigrants when he searches for his stolen bicycle; and a number of international films with children as protagonists, including “Bittu” from India, “Da Yie” from Ghana and “The Kicksled Choir” from Norway.
The live-action shorts were chosen from 174 qualifying films, which was smaller than the 191 films that qualified in 2019.
Because of theater closings mandated by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Academy relaxed rules in both shorts categories to allow films to qualify without screening theatrically.
Preliminary voting was done by members of the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch, who viewed the eligible films in a special members-only screening room and scored them on a scale of six to 10. To qualify for the shortlist, a film must have an average score of at least 7.5. Members of the Directors Branch were also eligible to vote in the live-action category.
The five nominees in each category will be selected by members of those two branches who have seen all of the shortlisted films. Oscar nominations will be announced on March 15.
See the full lists in both categories below:
Best Animated Short
“If Anything Happens I Love You”
“The Snail and the Whale”
Best Live-Action Short
“The Human Voice”
“The Kicksled Choir”
“The Letter Room”
“Two Distant Strangers”