But predict them we do, and if I can ever manage to get any one out of the three of them right, I usually consider that a successful year. So check out out my picks after the cut. How poorly will I do?
Best Animated ShortThe V.R. of Pearl is a nifty achievement, though not one that's appreciable in its standard screening format. Will enough voters have gone online and allowed themselves to explore its literal 3-dimensional storytelling multiple times?
Piper is the most adorable, and a visual treat at that. It may be Pixar's best shot in a while to break their 15-year losing streak here (their last winner was also about cute birds). The NFB's Blind Vaysha is the most aesthetically distinct of the lot, although its central metaphor might be spelled out a bit too bluntly by its narration. Another Canadian production, Robert Valley's Pear Cider and Cigarettes tells the most robust story, but may be too much of a downer for the Academy's taste. And if you wanna talk downers, Borrowed Time is tough to beat, but its technical merits, economical storytelling and sheer, concentrated emotional impact will surely attract some voters' favour.
Will win: Piper
Could win: Pearl
Should win: Pearl
Best Live-Action Short
Sing -- the charming tale of a friendship between two Hungarian school girls and how they deal with their duplicitous choir teacher -- could be spoiler for its satisfying ending and touching child performances. Timecode -- night- and day-shift parking attendants begin dance flirting with each other using the garage security cameras -- feels like the only one that can't win for being too slight, but its marriage of visual storytelling and physical expression is a wonderment.
Will win: Ennemis Interieurs
Could win: Any of them but Timecode
Should win: Timecode
Best Documentary, Short Subjects
Will win: Joe's Violin
Could win: The White Helmets or Watani: My Homeland
Should win: 4.1 Miles
Should be nominated: Frame 394