Kobe Bryant is in the running to get an Oscar this year as the subject, writer and producer of an animated short that has taken his awards-heavy career into a different field — because “Dear Basketball,” the animated short he made with veteran Disney animator Glen Keane, has been nominated for an Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Short.
The Academy announced nominations on Tuesday morning, with “Dear Basketball” — in which Keane’s line drawings animated the poem that Bryant wrote to announce his retirement from the NBA — served as the highest-profile entry in its category.
51-time Oscar nominee John Williams, who earned a nod on Tuesday for “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” scored the animated short.
Kobe’s competition for the Oscar is: “Garden Party” (Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon), “Lou” (Dave Mullins and Dana Murray), “Negative Space” (Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata) and “Revolting Rhymes” (Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer).
The five nominated films in the category were chosen from an initial list of 63 eligible shorts, six shy of the record of 69 set last year, that were later whittled down to a list of 10. 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 were 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.
“Dear Basketball” first premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.