This article contains IndieWire’s preliminary Best Animated Shorts predictions for the 2024 Oscars. We regularly update our predictions throughout awards season and republish previous versions (like this one) for readers to track changes in how the Oscar race has changed. For the latest update on the frontrunners for the 96th Academy Awards, see our 2024 Oscars predictions hub. 

The State of the Race

The Oscar shortlist of 15 animated shorts was determined for the first time by a preferential voting system (replacing the notation ranking from 10 to 6), and is led by Disney’s 100th-anniversary tribute, “Once Upon a Studio” (U.S, 2D/CG), and two indies from a couple of Pixar artists: “Pete” (U.S., CG) from Bret Parker (“Inside Out”) about her wife Pete Barma, who played Little League baseball in Florida while identifying as a boy, and “War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko” (U.S., CG) from alumnus Dave Mullins (“Lou”), about a chess game played across enemy lines thanks to a heroic carrier pigeon. Another indie, “I’m Hip” (U.S., 2D), a jazzy song and dance ditty about a self-absorbed cat, comes from retired Disney feature director John Musker (“Moana,” “The Princess and the Frog,” “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid”).

The remaining contenders hail from eight other countries (Croatia, France, Estonia, Israel, Hungary, Iran, Mexico, and the U.K.), nine were directed or co-directed by women, 10 qualified through the festival circuit, and five through exhibition. Some of the heavy topics include war, death, the Holocaust, survival, depression, self-discovery, and incest.

“Once Upon a Studio,” the hybrid short where 2D takes center stage in a multi-character crossover from Dan Abraham and Trent Correy (“Once Upon a Snowman”), is a cause for celebration, as 543 newly animated characters leap out of their photographs in the live-action Roy E. Disney Animation building to roam the halls and gather outside for a group photo.

“Pete,” Parker’s gender identity short, explores Barma’s struggle to play on her Little League team as an 8-year-old in 1975 and gain acceptance, sporting a watercolor look inspired by A. A. Milne’s “Winnie the Pooh” books.

"Once Upon a Studio" Disney 100th anniversary
“Once Upon a Studio”DISNEY

“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko” was specifically inspired by John Lennon and Yoko Ono’s popular protest song, “Happy Xmas (War Is Over).” It was executive produced by Yoko and Sean Ono Lennon and directed by Mullins through his L.A.-based ElectroLeague real-time animation studio. Peter Jackson partnered with his Wētā FX Limited, which did the animation using its toolset and the Unreal game engine, with financial support from Epic Games. The 2D look was inspired by illustrators Norman Rockwell and J.C. Leyendecker and contains strong graphic outlines.

With “I’m Hip,” played over the song by Bob Dorough and David Frishberg (who sings and plays piano), the 40-year Disney vet Musker financed, designed, and animated his first short with a small group of friends. The result is a breathless celebration of jazz, the ’50s and ’60s, and Disney animation, as the cat glides through a town full of 120 caricatures (including directing partner Ron Clements, Henry Selick, Brad Bird, and their wives) proclaiming how hip he is.

“Boom” (France, stop-motion/CG), the Student Academy Award gold winner, directed by Gabriel Augerai, Romain Augier, Charles Di Cicco, Yannick Jacquin, and Laurie Pereira de Figueiredo, is about birds trying to protect their eggs from a powerful volcanic eruption. “Eeva” (Estonia, Croatia, 2D), from Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, concerns Eva coping with a heavy downpour at her husband’s funeral and the death of a woodpecker after delivering a code on the coffin. “Humo (Smoke)” (Mexico, stop motion), from Rita Basulto (who painted the black rabbits in Guillermo del Toro’s Oscar-winning “Pinocchio”), is a Holocaust-themed short about a young boy who travels by train toward a dark destination known as the Smokehouse.

“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko”
“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko”ElectroLeague

“A Kind of Testament” (France, 2D), directed by Stephen Vuillemi, is a short about identity theft revolving around a young woman who comes across animations on the internet that have been created from her private selfies. “Koerkorter (Dog Apartment)” (Estonia, stop motion), directed by Priit Tender, is about a ballet dancer exiled to suburban Kolkhoz, where he fights mundane battles against domestic animals and alcohol addiction. “Letter to a Pig” (France, Israel, 2D/live action), from Tal Kantor, winner of the Animation Is Film Festival Grand Prize, uses heavy line drawings to explore a Holocaust survivor who tells a classroom about the thank you letter he wrote to the pig that saved his life, and the dark vision it unleashes in a girl. “Ninety-Five Senses” (U.S., 2D), directed by Jared Hess (“Minecraft,” “Napoleon Dynamite”) and Jerusha Hess, and voiced by Tim Blake Nelson, is an ode to the body’s five senses delivered by a man with little time left to enjoy them. “Our Uniform” (Iran, stop motion/2D), from Yegane Moghaddam, is about an Iranian girl who unfolds her school memories through the wrinkles of her old uniform, painted directly on cloth.

“Pachyderme” (France, CG/2D), directed by Stephanié Clement, is a darkly poetic short with the look of a fairy tale book about a girl who feels trapped and afraid spending the holidays with her grandparents in the countryside, where it snows at the height of summer and where she must confront a “monster.” “27”(France, Hungry, 2D), the trippy winner of the Annecy Cristal Award, from Flóra Anna Buda, concerns Alice turning 27, who daydreams about escaping her dreary life and suffers a serious bike accident after a psychedelic party. “Wild Summon” (U.K., CG), from Saul Freed and Karni Arieli), winner of the AIF Special Jury Prize, is a natural history fantasy about the life cycle of wild salmon in human form, narrated by Marianne Faithfull.

Potential nominees are listed in alphabetical order; no film will be deemed a frontrunner until we have seen it.


“Letter to a Pig”
“Once Upon a Studio”
“War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko”


“Humo (Smoke)”
“I’m Hip”
“A Kind of Testament”
“Koerkorter (Dog Apartment)”
“Ninety-Five Senses”
“Our Uniform”
“Wild Summon”

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