Animation is one of the most difficult film genres to master. It is necessary to sketch each individual frame, whether by hand or with the aid of a computer. This frequently implies that there are about 60 frames per second in order to achieve a seamless and fluid appearance.
Fans of animation will be pleased to see that this list has been updated with even more amazing shorts as of July 14, 2023.
The Oscars have recognised animated short films with their own award category since the 1930s, opening the road for animation to keep growing as they acknowledge these works and the labour of love that went into them. Many of them have not only paved the way for a number of studios to advance (and for filmmakers to succeed), but they have also demonstrated the evolution and development of animation over time. These Oscar-winning shorts will always showcase the excellence of animation, even though the medium has only expanded as a result of technological advancements.
Table Of Content
- 1 Bao
- 2 Birds Anonymous
- 3 Bob’s Birthday
- 4 Feast
- 5 For the Birds
- 6 Geri’s Game
- 7 Hair Love
- 8 Harvie Krumpet
- 9 Knighty Knight Bugs
- 10 La Maison en Petits Cubes
- 11 Lend a Paw
- 12 Mouse Trouble
- 13 Mr. Hublot
- 14 Paperman
- 15 Peter & the Wolf
- 16 Piper
- 17 The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
- 18 The ChubbChubbs!
- 19 The Fly
- 20 The Old Mill
- 21 The Three Little Pigs
- 22 The Ugly Duckling
- 23 The Wrong Trousers
- 24 Tin Toy
- 25 Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
The Incredibles 2 and Bao, the 2018 winner, were both released by Pixar. When preparing food for herself and her husband, an elderly mother experiencing empty nest syndrome witnesses one of her steamed buns come to life. She raises the bun as if it were her own child, but as it gets older, it has desires that the mother particularly forbids since she is overly protective.
The more it tests her limits and demands greater independence, the more tension between the two of them grows to a point where they are unable to recover from it. Bao is a lovely, endearing little allegory that helped pave the road for its creators to produce Turning Red, another Asian Pixar tale.
1957’s winner was the Looney Tunes cartoon Birds Anonymous, starring Tweety and Sylvester. Since they share a home, the two are frequently at odds because Sylvester is constantly attempting to eat Tweety. Another calmer cat, who thinks Sylvester’s bird appetites will only cause self-destruction, stops him this time.
Then he extends an invitation to Sylvester to attend a meeting of Birds Anonymous, a group of felines who are all battling bird addictions. The remainder of the short then shows Sylvester repeatedly unable to resist giving in and get over this alleged addiction. It’s a strange meta variant on the traditional setup that adults find equally as entertaining as children, if not more so.
The pilot for the television series Bob and Margaret, Bob’s Birthday, won the 1994 Oscar. Margaret, Bob’s wife, intends to throw him a surprise party for his 40th birthday. While covertly arranging the house and inviting some of their friends over, she deceives him into thinking they are going out to dinner.
While this is happening, Bob experiences a midlife existential crisis at work, questioning whether he is really living the life he wants to live and whether people like him. He also struggles with his age. This feels like a representative of the developing “adult animation” genre, which would take off with films like The Critic, Home Movies, Mission Hill, Space Ghost Coast to Coast, and Dr Katz. It is a little bit more mature than the typical animated short film.
Offering a fry to Winston the dog in the Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures production feast
Feast, another Disney film that released alongside Big Hero 6, won the 2014 Academy Award for Best Picture. A Boston Terrier named the main character first appears as a stray. James adopts him and gives him the name Winston after he ate a dropped fry that was left on the floor and was given another one.
Winston receives plenty of junk food crumbs in addition to his regular kibble from James, but when James gets into a relationship and starts eating healthier, Winston gets irritated that the only things available to him are veggies. Winston is initially pleased but notices James is unhappy after a nasty breakup and tries to get him and his girlfriend back together. James then returns to eating junk food.
For the Birds
A Pixar short film named For the Birds won the Oscar in 2001. It was presented in theatres concurrently with Monster’s Inc. The film depicts a group of birds that all start to argue with one another while perched on the same power line and wish to be left alone. They stop arguing and start making fun of another, much larger bird when it draws their attention away from the telephone pole, not realising that what they’re doing would ultimately hurt them.
Geri’s Game, a 1997 release from Pixar, won the 70th Academy Awards. In the short, Geri sets up a game of chess in the park and plays both opponents. In contrast to Geri without glasses, who plays competitively and fearlessly, Geri with glasses seems to be less skilled at the game.
Even when Geri with the spectacles pretends to have a heart attack so that he can flip the board around, it’s simple to overlook the fact that Geri is actually playing both players and switching seats frequently. Geri’s Game was significant for Pixar because it allowed the company to reintroduce their short animated films to audiences after they had been placed on hold while Toy Story was being created. The short, which was the first Pixar movie to centre on a human character as the main character, was crucial to the company’s ability to animate human characters in subsequent works.
With its charming story of a father and daughter, Hair Love, a Sony film, won the Oscar in 2019. As the young girl gets ready for a special day, she struggles to style her own hair, even using a hair tutorial video that her mother had previously created. When her father enters, he makes an attempt to give her the haircut she desires but fails and aggravates his daughter. Following their reconciliation, they start cooperating to pull off the style in the intended manner with the aid of the video.
Harvie Krumpet, the 2003 winner, is a claymation short that chronicles the life of the title character. Harvie has experienced terrible luck from the moment he was born, so his mother helps him gather facts that are recorded in a notebook that hangs around his neck and is displayed to viewers throughout the movie.
After his parents pass away at the start of World War II, he relocates to Australia where he continues to experience bad luck, enduring numerous diagnoses and illnesses. Despite everything that has occurred, he has maintained his optimism and is continuing to live his life to the fullest despite the challenges and transformations it has brought about. It’s a lovely, inspirational, albeit heartbreaking, short.
Knighty Knight Bugs
In 1958, Bugs Bunny’s Knighty Knight Bugs earned him another Looney Tunes victory. He is assigned the mission of recovering the singing sword from the black knight while dressed as a jester at King Arthur’s court. This is a task that none of the other knights want to undertake because of the black knight’s dragon and alleged invincibility.
He has no choice but to go and discovers that the dragon is now sick and that the black knight is Yosemite Sam. When they are both asleep, Bug enters and begins a protracted game of evading Sam and his dragon while also trying to keep them away from him as he tries to flee the castle and find Arthur.
La Maison en Petits Cubes
The Japanese short film La Maison en Petits Cubes, often known as The House of Small Cubes, earned an award in 2008 and stands out among other animated shorts for its distinctive and rustic colour scheme. As the rest of the town steadily fills with water, the story follows an elderly man who lives alone and is compelled to keep building levels onto his house to stay dry.
One day, after unintentionally dropping his pipe into the water, he jumps in after it, searching through the other chambers as memories start to return, forcing him to relive some of his past. Many memorable moments from his life, as well as occasions from before the flood, are included in these memories.
Lend a Paw
Lend a Paw, a 1941 film that included several of Disney’s most recognisable characters, depicts the story of Pluto getting used to Mickey’s new furry buddy, a kitten. The story of the short, which is greatly influenced by Mickey’s Pal Pluto (1933), begins when Pluto saves a kitten from drowning.
Pluto, who is envious of the attention Mickey gives the new cat, tries to persuade the kitten to attack Mickey’s fish by listening to the devil on his shoulder. Pluto is ultimately discovered and expelled from the home as a result of his deeds. Pluto, on the other hand, follows the guidance of the angel on his shoulder and goes to rescue the kitten when it becomes stuck in a well. Despite Disney’s involvement in numerous other Oscar winners, this timeless animation is the first Mickey Mouse short to take home the award for Best Animated Short Film.
The winning Tom and Jerry cartoon from 1944 is called Mouse Trouble. Tom receives a book on how to trap a mouse in the mail. He starts reading the book chapter by chapter in an effort to figure out how to catch Jerry because there are numerous chapters with tips on how to trap various types of mice. He makes increasingly desperate attempts to catch Tom, but Jerry always appears to be one step ahead of him, foiling his schemes and occasionally turning them straight back on Tom.
The iconic French film character Mr. Hulot, played by director Jacques Tati in masterpieces like Mon Oncle and Playtime, is referenced in the 2013 award-winning French animation Mr. Hublot. The short film centres on the titular man, who resides in a cramped flat in a huge steampunk metropolis. Even the photographs on the walls are well arranged and tidy in his flat.
He chooses to give a small dog robot a home in his flat after spotting it shivering in a box one day. It causes problems for both of them as it grows much faster than he anticipated and becomes more destructive in the cramped flat.
Following its 2012 release alongside Wreck-It Ralph, Paperman became Disney’s first victory in more than 40 years. The romantic comedy story is told in the primarily black and white short by combining traditional and computer animation. A piece of paper strikes George, an accountant, in the face as he waits for the train. Meg, a young woman who owned it, lost it due to the wind.
The opposite occurs shortly after, as her lipstick makes a trace on his page, drawing his attention away from her as she boards the train and departs. After later spotting her at work in the building across the street, he starts turning the papers on his desk into aeroplanes in an effort to get her notice.
Peter & the Wolf
The 2007 Oscar-winning film Peter & the Wolf was adapted on the famous tale of the same name. This stunning but eerie stop-motion video is set in a house enclosed by a high fence at the edge of the vast Russian forests. His grandfather, who lives there with Peter, bans him from wandering into the woods.
Peter’s lone companion is a duck that he hangs out with in the garden because the residents of the town frequently tease him. A bird eventually joins them and, getting agitated, persuades Peter to enter the jungle. He sneaks out and having a blast, but he is unaware that a dangerous wolf is there and waiting to attack.
Pixar released Piper and won the Oscar in 2016 together with Finding Dory. The utterly cute and exquisitely straightforward little film follows a group of sandpipers as they forage at the ocean’s edge. Piper is a young bird that her mother has brought to the water so that she can practise finding food on her own.
She grows scared of the water after failing to flee the approaching waves and becoming wet, returning to the nest with the intention of staying there forever. She unwillingly tries again out of hunger, but this time she is unprepared for what would happen. The animation is gorgeous, the mood is entrancing, and Piper always has a way of melting hearts.
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse is a very recent addition to the list of Oscar-winning short films. It is a film version of the same-named novel that won at the 95th Academy Awards. As he looks for a nearby community, the main character, a youngster who has never had a home, makes some odd companions.
A fox hunting for something to eat pursues the Boy and the Mole when they cross paths. They manage to avoid the Fox, and then they hear the cries of an animal that has been captured. The Mole finds the Fox stuck and frees them; the Fox then bolts off. Later, when the Mole is in danger, the Fox comes back to help him and continues on with the two of them on their journey. After the Horse joins, the gang sets out to find a home for the Boy, learning valuable lessons about family and friendship along the way.
The exquisitely animated film conveys the happy tale of discovered family and the value of friends in an aesthetic that is faithful to the book’s original artwork. It’s not surprising that this beautiful animation won the Academy Award.
The ChubbChubbs, the 2003 champion, is now available from Sony! Meeper, the caretaker of an extraterrestrial tavern who dreams of becoming a karaoke performer, is the subject of this short film. When he unintentionally electrocutes a singer, he is expelled from the venue and alerted that the ChubbChubbs are approaching outside. A ship that is off in the distance lands with enormous beasts that are armed. It is up to him and a couple of girls he discovered outside to try and stop the aliens when his attempt to warn the bar of the impending threat fails due to his ability to further harm the singer.
In its 53rd year, The Fly, an animated short film from Hungary, won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film. The unusual movie centres on a fly that wakes up on a chilly autumn morning and sets out to find a warm place to remain.
The fly is animated as it flies around and eventually comes across a doorway to a house in the short film. The fly enters the house, examines everything it has to offer, and becomes bewildered while doing so by a few glass panes. It is hardly surprising that The Fly won the Oscar because of its fast-paced animation, which is very engaging and gives a distinctive take on animation.
The Old Mill
The Old Mill, another Walt Disney-produced animation, took first place in 1937. The short has little in the way of a plot, but it does show a variety of animals starting to colonise an abandoned windmill as it deteriorates. Additionally, they must contend with a violent thunderstorm that almost destroys the mill, which would also spell the end of their entire ecosystem.
The animation served as a test for several more sophisticated animation techniques, such as the first application of a multiplane camera, various lighting, colour, and weather effects, as well as realistic animal behaviours. The experimental and turbulent elements appear to foreshadow Fantasia just a few years later in many respects.
The Three Little Pigs
The Three Little Pigs, a 1933 Disney cartoon produced by Walt Disney himself and based on the legend of the same name, is just the second short to win the Oscar in this category. The three pig brothers are all musicians, and the first two choose to construct their homes using wood and straw so that they can continue to play music, but the third builds a robust brick house and adopts a more pragmatic approach.
He informs his brothers about the dangerous wolf, but they choose to ignore him until it becomes their problem. They recognise his attempts to break into their homes, but they only just manage to flee as he destroys them. They seek safety in the home of the third pig and work to prevent the wolf from troubling them ever again. Even though it may appear boring 90 years later, this was a highly revolutionary short, featuring sound and colours that the majority of spectators weren’t used to.
The Ugly Duckling
The Ugly Duckling is a version of the well-known fairytale by a Walt Disney Production and is one of the 75 episodes in the Silly Symphony series. According to the legend, a family of ducks rejects the unsightly Duckling because they think he is unsightly. Fortunately, the duckling is quickly discovered by a family of swans, where he discovers that although though he appears different from the other ducklings, he is actually a swan.
The short animation is emotional and comforting to watch because of the wonderfully animated plot and equally lovely music. Given the outstanding animation and well-known plot, it’s no surprise that this 1940 Oscar-winning short film.
The Wrong Trousers
Wallace and Gromit’s short film The Wrong Trousers from the legendary Aardman Animations won in 1993. Wallace gives Gromit a new lead and lead for his birthday along with a pair of technological trousers that can walk by themselves and take Gromit on walks. Wallace chooses to rent out a spare room in his home after quickly realising he is unable to pay his payments.
A penguin responds to the advertisement but decides he prefers Gromit’s room to the empty one. He then does all in his power to drive Gromit out, take the techno pants for himself and hatch some not-so-nice schemes.
Tin Toy, which only lasts five minutes, won the Oscar in 1988. It’s a unique point in history because Pixar, a small business with financial problems, undertook this hazardous endeavour.
The film centres on Tinny, the titular toy who performs as a one-man band. He was initially eager to be played with, but after seeing Billy, a baby, and his destructive tendencies with other toys, he becomes fearful and attempts to flee, letting Billy know he’s there when his music starts to play. Disney noticed this short and used it as direct inspiration for the story and animation of Toy Story.
Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day
The 1968 winner, Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, is significant for being the final short Walt Disney himself produced before his death two years before its release. Pooh and his pals struggle much on this windy day in the Hundred Acre Woods.
There appears to be no end to the accidents, from Pooh just catching Piglet before he sails away to knocking over Eyore’s house and seeing Owl’s tree and house collapse. But as the wind continues to blow, a flood quickly spreads throughout the entire forest, putting some of the animals in peril once more. The poignant quiet sorrow and enduring bonds that make the Hundred Acre Woods gang so adored are well captured in the short.