There is something about animated short films. Unlike many mainstream movies, they just don’t provide mindless entertainment. An animated short film is not only about a good laugh. They are short, visually pleasing, and will teach you something important in the end. Some of them will even leave you weeping like a baby. The Academy has been honoring the art and importance of Animated Short films for a long time now. So, let’s take a look at the top 10 Oscar-winning animated short films.

10. Anna & Bella (1984)

IMDb Rating: 6.9
Duration: 8 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

In one afternoon, two sisters Anna and Bella open up their old photo albums and recall their memories from the past. Some photos are very amusing, some memories are really loving. Then Anna finds one photo that brings an unpleasant memory.

Anna & Bella is an old animated short film. So the animation is not of supreme quality. But the story is relatable and refreshing.

9. Piper (2016)

IMDb Rating: 8.4
Duration: 6 Minutes

Sandpipers are small beautiful sea birds that feed on coastal creatures. They dig on the sand for food that ocean waves bring to the shore. Piper is the story of a cute little baby sandpiper going on her first food hunting journey. But the bird is too small and inexperienced. After a few tries, she loses her hope. Then with the help of a sea snail, she finds a way to get plenty of food.

The animation of this short film is amazing. And the little baby bird and the snail will melt your heart with their cuteness.

8. Feast (2014)

IMDb Rating: 8.2
Duration: 6 Minutes

Winston was just a street Boston Terrier puppy. One day, a young man finds him and takes him home. Both the dog and the man love food. Whenever they eat, it’s like a feast. Then the man meets a woman and their food habits change. There are more green things in the diet now and Winston is not happy about it at all.

Feast is a beautiful coming-of-age story of the love life of a man told through the eyes of a dog and the good he is given.

Shorts International Presents:

Oscar Winning Short Films [Blu-ray DVD Combo]

7. If Anything Happens I Love You (2020)

IMDb Rating: 7.8
Duration: 13 Minutes
Where to Watch: Netflix

If Anything Happens I Love You is a Netflix Original animated short film that won an Oscar in 2021. This short film tells the heart-wrenching story of two grieving parents. It manifests how the outcome of gun violence can drown a family into the ocean of depression and ruin. There is a big chance you will cry watching it. So don’t complain I didn’t warn you.

6. The Danish Poet (2006)

IMDb Rating: 7.5
Duration: 15 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

The Danish Poet has a very sweet romantic plot. The story is narrated by a girl who describes how her parents met because a Danish poet got writer’s block, a stupid goat ate a letter, a famous writer died, and a woman refused to cut her hair until she was reunited with her lover. It is a very full-filling story where everyone gets their own happy endings. There is a little twist at the end of the film which I am very sure you guys will love.

5. Hair Love (2019)

IMDb Rating: 7.4
Duration: 7 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

Zuri is a 7-year-old girl. It is a special day but she has some hair problems. Her hair is very curly and puffy. At first, she tries to tame it herself. When she loses the battle, her father joins in and it almost becomes a wrestling match. Two of them almost give up. Then Zuri remembers what her mother used to say— “It takes a little bit of work and lots of love”. When her father tries again to tie her hair, this time with love, he gets to pull off the job beautifully.

It is a heartwarming story about a daughter who misses her mother very much and a father who is doing the best that he can in her absence.

4. Special Delivery (1978)

IMDb Rating: 7.3
Duration: 7 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

Special Delivery is a dark comedy short film. If you like movies where every event and person is connected to another (For example, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or The Devil All the Time), this short film is perfect for you.

It all started when Ralph did not clean the snow on his front walk. His wife told him to do the job but he just simply ignored him. Then the mailman slipped on the ice and died by breaking his neck. See what happens when you don’t listen to your wife?

But this is just the beginning of the story. You will see how unpredictable turns of fate help Ralph to get away with the accidental murder.

If you like special Delivery, you should also check out another short film Happy End (Short 2015).

How to Make Animated Films

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3. Paperman (2012)

IMDb Rating: 8.3
Duration: 7 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

Paperman has the sweetest story ever. This all black and white 7-minute short film also has very soothing background music (which kind of reminded me of Up, to be honest).

A clumsy man met a beautiful woman at the train station. When he reaches his office, he finds that the woman is sitting in a building right across the street. To make her notice him, he makes a lot of paper planes and throws them in her direction. But none of them reaches her. Being frustrated he tries to go to her directly but loses sight of her. Then, Mother Nature plays some tricks to reunite them.

2. Father and Daughter (2000)

IMDb Rating: 7.9
Duration: 8 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

A father leaves his daughter to go on an uncertain journey. Time passes, the daughter grows older, but there are no signs of her father returning. No matter how many changes come in her life, she does not forget about her father and waits for his return. One day, when she is relieved of all responsibilities, she follows the path that her father took many years ago.

Father and Daughter is another coming-of-age short film on this list. If you are a father’s daughter, I guarantee this film will make you cry.

1. The House of Small Cubes (2008)

IMDb Rating: 8.2
Duration: 12 Minutes
Where to Watch: YouTube

The House of Small Cubes is a Japanese animated short. It’s practically an anime. It is a highly metaphorical short film where nostalgia is the main element.

In a strange world, an old man lives in a city where the water level rises every day. In order to survive, the old man has to build floors on floors. One day, he has to take a dip when his favorite smoking pipe falls into the water. And there he discovers all the things and memories he has left behind.

Life is weird. When you pass most of your lifetime, you feel it to be a normal course of time. Then you look back at the time, all these memories come back, nostalgia hits you hard, and you kind of feel empty and sad.

A Little History

  • The Academy started to give away Awards for animated short films in 1932. For the first 39 years, the award was named Short Subjects, Cartoons. Then it got changed and was called Short Subjects, Animated Films from 1971 to 1973. The current name (Best Animated Short Film) was first used in 1974.
  • The first-ever animated short to win an Oscar in this category was Flowers and Trees by Walt Disney.
  • All the animated short films sent for this category for the award must not exceed 40 minutes including credential scenes.
  • The shortest animated short film to ever win an Oscar in the category was The Crunch Bird (1971). The duration of this short is only 2 minutes. And the longest one to win was Peter & the Wolf (2006), 33 minutes.

Want more? Click this link for a list of all Oscar-winning Animated Short Films.

About The Author
Sabera Surovy

Sabera Surovy

Khulna University of Engineering and Technology

Bachelor of Engineering (BEng),
Industrial Engineering 2017-2021

"Psycho-trillers and paradoxes are my jam. I spend my free time watching true crime documentaries."

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