Sunday, November 11, 2012

Will "The Simpsons" Finally Win an Oscar for Animated Short?

It is possible that one of the overlooked categories is Best Animated Short. Besides the shorts that appear before Pixar and Disney films, they are often reserved for obscure films that result in majority of the nominations being unpredictable. However, there is looking to be one contender this year that you may have heard about this past summer, especially if you saw Ice Age 4. The short film based on the long running TV show The Simpsons called The Longest Daycare has made it to the final 10 contenders and looks to get an actual nomination? Can this help the show add another honor to its mantle? 
This was brought to my attention by statistics website Gold Derby, which recently announced the final films for the Best Animated Short category. They are: Paperman, Adam and Dog, Combustible, Dripped, The Eagleman Stag, Fall of the House of Usher, Fresh Guacamole, and The Longest Daycare. Of this list, I have seen Paperman, which played before Wreck-It Ralph (review coming soon), and it was aesthetically interesting, but had a contrived love story that felt too wrote. However, due to the influence of Disney, it may get the nomination. Due to the unavailable online footage, I can not post or share any opinions on The Longest Daycare.

Still, the prospects of The Simpsons seems exciting, notably considering that The Simpsons Movie was not nominated for Best Animated Feature in 2008. The one advantage is that James L. Brooks, who has been nominated multiple times and won Best Director and Best Picture for Terms of Endearment, was a co-writer on this project, which gives the film some elevated recognition. The only question now is if the short will get nominated based on the isolated merit, or if the legacy and popularity of The Simpsons will affect outcomes. I am unsure how the Academy looks at the show, but I am sure there is a good portion that have a personal bias towards it. The one downside to this is that if The Simpsons Movie didn't get nominated and the voters are indeed non into the show, then this may jeopardize the chances provided the quality of the other pieces.

Still, based on Gold Derby's statistics, The Longest Daycare stands a chance at a nomination. Behind only Paperman, the short has odds of 14:5. At very least, it seems likely that it will get a nomination, unless the other shorts manage to pull a surprise lead. Since I know very little about the other films, I am just going to have to guess that The Longest Daycare features enough of the patented off the wall humor that has driven the show into hilarious directions. It has also been proven that The Simpsons is more capable in making intriguing and brilliant shorter stories, especially in a time where they have referenced Koyaanisqatsi at least three times in the past five years. Maybe their choice to venture into higher art references is all that it took to gain recognition.

The only question now is why The Simpsons stands such a chance. If you remember, once Toy Story 3 was released, it began churning out short films that have appeared before films such as The Muppets. That film has an advantage over The Simpsons on the account that it is a Best Animated Picture winner. That should have gained merit and a guaranteed nomination. However, two years on, and The Simpsons beat Pixar's beloved characters to Best Animated Short consideration. Having not seen any of these Toy Story shorts, I cannot claim that they deserved to be ignored, but it bodes an interesting situation for The Longest Daycare. Will it lose because of its popularity, or will it break the curse and become one of the few franchises to have made an award-winning short.

Either way, as a long time fan of The Simpsons, this is looking to be an interesting year. I will probably write a more informed entry come the time I have seen all of the shorts, but for now, I am excited to see if it can at least get nominated. I am almost sure that the power of Disney will keep Paperman strong until the end, though I doubt it will be as good as The Longest Daycare. Also, could this be the start of The Simpsons and the Academy going hand in hand? Also with Seth MacFarlane hosting, is it possible that we can see Homer Simpson pop up (I know that he does Family Guy and not The Simpsons, but I am sure he has connections).

Does this short stand a chance? Can it overcome Disney and win Best Animated Short?

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