Eight Student Films Compete for the 2023 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film

In our third article on the 2023 Oscar race for Best Animated Short, we take a look at the student shorts that have qualified for the upcoming competition.

In August, we highlighted nine highly anticipated short films that performed well on the festival circuit in the first half of 2022. Last week, we checked out another group of short films with impressive resumes for this year's film awards season. More shorts will be featured in the coming weeks.

To be eligible for this year's Academy Awards, a short film must have won a specific award at a festival eligible for the Academy Awards, won a Student Academy Award, or met certain general release criteria before September 30, 2022.

Student films may only qualify through the festival or student academy award route, not through general release. Three of the short films on this list have already won Oscars, having earned that distinction at the Student Academy Awards in September: An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It, Laika & Nemo, and The Seine's Tears (Les Larmes de la Seine). Other films have won awards at festivals such as Slamdance, Sitges, Rhode Island International Film Festival, and Edmonton Island International Film Festival.

Director Lachlan Pendragon

School/Country Griffith University, Australia

Qualifications: Student Academy Award

Pendragon's stop-motion short is arguably the most meta film on this list. A young telemarketer is confronted by a mysterious talking ostrich and told that the universe is stop-motion animation. The first half of the "film" is seen through a monitor on the set, creating a very realistic fourth wall, through which the protagonist falls into a nightmare scenario in which he literally meets his creator.

Director Jan Gaderman, Sebastian Gadow (co-directors)

School/Country Konrad Wolf Film University, Germany

Qualifications: Student Academy Award

Winner of the Student Academy Award as well as numerous international film festival awards, "Laika and Nemo" features a boy who feels alienated from the world because no one but him wears a diving suit. Everything changes when Nemo meets Laika, an astronaut with her own suit. The film's stop-motion animation is skillfully crafted and is at once nostalgic and contemporary. The puppets were made in cooperation with McKinnon & Saunders, a British puppet maker that has created puppets for Wes Anderson, Tim Burton, and Guillermo del Toro's "Pinocchio," among others.

Directors Yanis Belaid, Elliott Benard, Alice Letailleur, Nicolas Mayeur, Etienne Moulin, Hadrien Pinot, Philippine Singer, Lisa Vicente


QUALIFYING: Student Academy Award

"Tears of the Seine" follows a group of Algerian workers who take to the streets in 1961 to protest a curfew imposed by the police. Unlike the other two Student Academy Award-winning films, this short appears to be time-lapse animation, but uses CG animation. The textures of the characters and their clothing are ultra-realistic, giving the audience a deeply immersive experience.

Director Julia Orlik

School/Country: .ód. Film School, Poland

Qualifier: Slamdance Jury Prize

Another true stop-motion film, "I'm Here" tells the story of an old man who, despite facing his own health problems, takes care of his paralyzed wife The story is about an elderly man who takes care of his paralyzed wife while facing his own health problems. The couple's daughter also contributes as much as she can, but struggles to balance caring for her parents, working at the hospital, and family life. Produced by Mariusz Wilczewski and Joanna Jasiska-Kolonkiewicz, this short film won the Slamdance Jury Prize.

Director Antonin Niklas

School/Country National Film and Television School of England

Qualifier: BAFTA - Best British Animated Short Film

BAFTA winner and participant in the Annecy Graduate Competition, "Do Not Feed the Pigeons" is one of the most talked about short films to come out of the UK this year. At 2:00 a.m., a group of weary travelers are quietly waiting for the last bus of the day at a rundown bus terminal. In the midst of this gloomy atmosphere, the riders are visited by a moment of beauty as a flock of pigeons fly over the lobby. Impressive camerawork and rough cut-outs successfully capture the juxtaposition of the grim, modern environment and the inherent beauty of the natural world, even in such repressed circumstances.

Director Lina Karcheva

School/Country National Film and Television School of the United Kingdom

Qualifier: Sitges Best Animated Short

Bright colors and a vivid fantasy world frame an intimate story about the society in which a male-female couple live. The unmerged protagonist, Ren, seeks to become whole by finding his other half and becoming united with another couple. The short was screened at the Cannes Film Festival and was nominated for a British Animation Award.

Directors Josh O'Caoimh and Mikai Geronimo

School/Country: National Film School of Ireland IADT

Qualifier: Rhode Island International Film Festival - Best Animated Short Film

Of the student films that qualified this year With the strongest resume, "Fall of the Ibis King" screened in competition in the Horizon section at Venice, won the Special Jury Prize at Clermont-Ferrand and the Best Animation Award at the Irish Film and Television Awards. In this 2D animated film, a bizarre operatic antagonist becomes increasingly disturbing when the former lead character unexpectedly returns. The muted color palette and dramatic music nicely convey the sense of unease the protagonist harbors.

Director Varvara Yakovleva

School/Country: School/Studio: SHAR, Russia

Qualifier: Edmonton International Film Festival - Best Animated Short Film

"Life's a Bitch" is about a homeless man who has lived for 7 months at Zelenograd train station. This 2D animated, mostly black-and-white documentary also features photos of the protagonist in his youth, before he lost one of his legs in an accident. Narrated by Bekbayev, now 54, his future is entirely in doubt as he struggles to survive in a world that doesn't even try to help him.