Hair Love: our best animated short of 2019 wins the Oscar

Sony's animation division once again shows we don't need the House of Mouse.

Last summer's Angry Birds 2 flew and went in cinemas with middling results, but movie goers who splashed out on the needless sequel were treated to not just the worst but also the best of Sony's increasingly intriguing animation division. This was all down to the movie's beautiful accompanying short Hair Love; we called the production our best animated short of 2019, and the Academy Awards committee agreed, bestowing it with the same title at last night's Oscar bash.

A beautiful one-off in the vein of Pixar's original shorts heyday, Hair Love is a touching examination of love and hair styling which fully deserves its golden trophy.

Not only is it probably the best example of original American animation since Into the Spiderverse, it also stands alongside that film as one of those rare progressive portrayals of African-American life in animation.

The connection shouldn't come as a surprise considering Spiderverse director Peter Ramsey executively produced the short, with direction coming from Matthew A. Cherry, who Kickstarted the animation to the tune of $200,000, the highest amount ever raised for a short film on the platform. That money also saw a picture book based on the film come out earlier this year, ironically before the film had even been seen in cinemas.

Hair Love itself though is nothing like Spiderverse; think more Dianne Jackson and Dave Unwin with their classic Raymond Briggs adaptations. Either way, it's better than the more recent shorts from Pixar, and perhaps positions Sony Pictures Animation as the 2020s equivalent of Warner Bros. Animation when they were made their killer 1990s Batman cartoons.

Disney better be worried, in other words.

Read now: Spider-Verse's Peter Ramsey on why he doesn’t need to be the ‘Obama of animation’

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