This year, Sony Pictures Animation broke Disney and Pixar’s iron grip on the Best Animated Feature category at the Oscars, and next year, they’re making a strong bid for the Best Animated Shorts category as well.
The animation company behind last year’s Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has just released one of its most moving and heartwarming animated shorts online, presumably to drum up some support for an Oscar campaign in the most crowded animated shorts year ever.
Hair Love, directed by Matthew Cherry, tells the story of a father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time in a short comedy film that gives way to unexpected melancholy. You can watch the entirety of Hair Love below.
Watch Hair Love
Were you ready to cry today? Well, too late. This was a beautiful, warm-hearted 2D animated short that hits all the right notes in its six-minute runtime: from the adorable kid, to the cat sidekick, to the dad’s literal battle with his daughter’s hair.
It’s zany, it’s funny, and then it’s sad, when it’s revealed that the mom, who had started a hair tutorial vlog with her daughter, had lost her hair during treatments for cancer.
It’s a heartwarming animated short that is both incredibly specific in its depiction of an African-American father and his struggles with his daughter’s kinky hair, and widely universal.
Hair Love debuted in theaters in front of Sony’s Angry Birds 2, where it stole hearts and unexpectedly moved the audiences who were expecting to see a silly animated movie about irate birds. But it was a smart move on Sony’s part, introducing animated shorts to their audiences by aping the tried-and-true method from Pixar and Disney.
“Having my first animated project hit the big screen was incredible,” Cherry told Variety. “It was always my hope that ‘Hair Love’ could have a theatrical run and to have it happen in front of a major Sony Pictures Animation release was a dream come true.”
Hair Love will be one of a record 92 short films that have qualified for the 92nd Academy Awards, according to Variety. That list will be narrowed down to 10 contenders when the shortlist is announced on December 16, but it seems like Sony is already throwing its weight behind Hair Love. And with the success that it saw with last year’s Into the Spider-Verse, it could get a spot on that list.