The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences unveiled their shortlists for the 96th Academy Awards on Thursday, and in the running for an Oscar are two Estonian animations – Morten Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak's "Eeva" and Priit Tender's "Koerkorter (Dog Apartment)."
Written by Morten Tšinakov and directed by Tšinakov and Lucija Mrzljak, Estonian-Croatian animated short "Eeva" takes viewers to the funeral of the title character's husband.
"There's a lot of crying, too much wine, several woodpeckers and a couple of dreams that fill in the gaps," Eesti Joonisfilm and Adriatic Animation write, describing their co-production.
"Eeva" saw its international premiere at the 73rd Berlin International Film Festival this February, marking the first Estonian film to be included in the Berlinale's program.
Directed by Priit Tender, Nukufilm's "Koerkorter (Dog Apartment)," named Best Animated Film in 2022 by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia, among many other awards, is a described as an absurdist drama about a decayed male ballet dancer and his barking apartment.
Based on Andres Ehin's poem "To Be a Dog Apartment" ("Olla koerkorter"), the short film takes viewers to a suburban kolkhoz, where dancer Sergei gets into "mundane fights against routine, domestic animals and alcohol."
Official Oscar nominations are slated to be announced on January 23; the 96th Academy Awards will be held on March 10.
Award-winning doc's Oscar hopes dashed
Another Estonian Oscar hopeful, Anna Hints' "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood," failed to earn a nod for next year's awards; it had been up for consideration in both the international feature film and documentary feature categories.
"Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" saw its world premiere at the Sundance Film Festival in January, where Hints won best director in the World Cinema Documentary category.
Since then, the Estonian documentary has been screened and nominated for various awards at film festivals around the world, from Copenhagen to Hong Kong, and won outstanding female-led feature film at the Cinefest Sudbury International Film Festival in Canada and best documentary feature at the San Francisco International Film Festival.
Most recently, "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" won best documentary at the 36th European Film Awards (EFAs) in Berlin on December 9.
The European Film Academy also named "Smoke Sauna Sisterhood" one of five nominees for the 2024 LUX Audience Awards, all of which will be subtitled in all 24 EU languages in order to be accessible to the widest audience possible and screened in movie theaters across Europe.
The winner of the LUX Audience Award, to be determined by the general public and MEPs at a weight of 50:50, will be announced in March 2024.
Editor: Aili Vahtla