Disney to Plympton: Breaking down this year’s Best Animated Short Film Oscar race

This year's Best Animated Short Film Oscar race is, as ever, full of fetching displays of boundary-pushing technique and bold artistic voices. I sought out and watched all 10 of this year's contenders, announced recently by the Academy, from Disney's widely-viewed latest to an offering from the legendary Bill Plympton to new work from Oscar winners like William Joyce and Torill Kove. Let's just say I'm glad it's not my responsibility to whittle this down to five.

I imagine these categories – even with the growing popularity of the annual Magnolia Pictures/Shorts International theatrical shorts package – remain a game of pin the tail on the donkey for those of you who take your Oscar pools seriously. But that release always comes once the nominees have been sorted. Let's dive in earlier with a cross-section of the 10 finalists, shall we?

There's lots of traditional animation in the mix here, which the branch continues to back when it can. There's very little CGI, but there are some intriguing media blends. There's no straight-up stop motion, though it figures conceptually a little in one entry. It's a top tier assortment, though.

You can click through the gallery below for more on each film, and I've included YouTube trailers where I can, so you can get an idea of each entry's aesthetic.

The five nominees for Best Animated Short Film will be announced along with all the other Oscar nominees on Jan. 15, 2015.