Midweek Motivations: Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2018, Part 1

Midweek Motivations: Oscar Nominated Animated Shorts 2018, Part 1

Here are the ten Oscar nominees for the best Animated Shorts. We’ve featured two of these beautiful shorts and over the next month, we will feature all of them, alphabetically by title, with a bit of background on each.

First, the list of nominees for Short Film (Animated)

  • “Age of Sail”
  • “Animal Behaviour”
  • “Bao”
  • “Bilby”
  • “Bird Karma”
  • “Late Afternoon”
  • “Lost & Found”
  • “One Small Step”
  • “Pépé le Morse”
  • “Weekends”

Age of Sail 

Age of Sail is a VR animated short film adventure set in 1900 that was featured at Google Spotlight Stories. It's the story of a cranky, hopeless sailboat captain named William Avery, voiced by Ian McShane, who is on a mission to die adrift at sea in the North Atlantic. He rescues a young girl named Lara, voiced by Cathy Ang, who fell overboard from a cruise ship and with her help, and he realizes that he has a reason to live.

Age of Sail was directed by Academy Award-winning filmmaker John Kahrs, who directed Paperman, and was part of the Animation Department on Frozen, Wreck-It Ralph, Tangled, The Incredibles, Monsters Inc, and Toy Story 2, among others.

Age of Sail was produced with Chromosphere and Evil Eye Pictures. According to Animation Magazine, animators used Autodesk Maya, along with Google Spotlight’s proprietary game engine running it all in real-time.  “The Spotlight Stories team spent a lot of time perfecting its audio engine to incorporate binaural sound, and account for the changes in the environment. When one of the two characters turns away from the viewer, their voice changes, and when the viewer turns her head, they get to hear the sound differently. And at one point, the viewer finds herself in the water, complete with the ability to put her head under the surface, which again completely changes the aural perception.” – Venice: The Story Behind ‘Age of Sail,’ Google’s Latest VR Short Film (EXCLUSIVE)

The VR version and the versions for mobile viewing let you look around the ship as the action takes place.

Learn more:

Animal Behaviour

“Animal Behaviour” comes from the Vancouver, Canada-based Oscar-winning team of Alison Snowden and David Fine, who met in art school in the 1980s. It's a comedy about five animals of different species in a group therapy session, with very human problems and quirks, who are trying to get rid of some socially unacceptable behaviors. The session is overseen by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist. The webpage about the film has some humorous confidential files of each patient at the bottom of the page. 

This short was created with digital hand-drawn 2D animation using TVPaint software.

Alison Snowden and Paul Fine talk about Animal Behavior in the video below.

Learn more:


Bao is a beautifully animated short from Disney-Pixar is about a Chinese-born woman, living in Canada, who is feeling the loneliness of having an empty mess after her children have moved out. Suddenly, one of her dumplings comes to life as she's ready to take a bite, and she has a second chance at motherhood. Little Bao grows up quickly and gains independence though and the mother has a tough time with letting him go. 

Bao was written and directed by Domee Shi, a Chinese immigrant to Canada, and the first ever woman to direct an Oscar-nominated piece for Pixar. She started at Pixar in 2011 as a storyboard artist and has worked on storyboards for Inside Out, Toy Story 4, and The Incredibles 2. Bao played before Incredibles 2 and rumor is that the short is being developed into a feature-length film of its own!

Learn more:

That's it for this week. Next week we'll feature “Bilby”, “Bird Karma”, and “Late Afternoon”. 

Posted by Michele Yamazaki