Providing an informed prediction for best animated short film is difficult because the films generally only show at festivals and are not officially available online. Although some industrious fans have put two of this year’s nominees – “Maestro” and “The Little Matchgirl” – on video-sharing sites, the other three films – “Lifted”, “No Time for Nuts,” and “The Danish Poet” – are harder to come by. The best resource for seeing clips of the five nominees is the Animation World Network. Out of the five shorts, “The Little Matchgirl” has the most sentimental and uplifting story. It tells the story of a young girl selling matches on the street. During a cold, snowy night, she sees visions of a happy, warm life each time she lights a match.

“The Danish Poet” has a more complicated plot. In “The Danish Poet,” a young poet takes a trip to Norway to meet his idol, a famous writer. In both “The Little Matchgirl” and “The Danish Poet” the emphasis of the short is on the story being told and not using visually arresting animation techniques.

“No Time for Nuts,” “Lifted,” and “Maestro” all use Pixar-like realistic animation. All three films also tell complicated stories with a science-fiction flavor. In “No Time for Nuts,” Scrat, a character from “Ice Age,” finds a frozen time machine. In “Lifted,” a young alien tries to get a farmer onto a spaceship. Finally, “Maestro,” a strangely unsettling short, shows a mechanical arm getting a singing bird ready for a performance.

In the past, the Academy has shown a preference for sentimentality over animation innovation in the best animated short film category. In addition, given their similar themes and animation approaches, it is likely that the Academy votes will get confused between “No Time for Nuts,” “Lifted,” and “Maestro.” As a result, the two leading contenders for best animated short film are “The Little Matchgirl” and “The Danish Poet.” While both shorts tell sweet stories, “The Little Matchgirl” is the more accessible film. As a result, we predict that “The Little Matchgirl” will win best animated short film.