As far as digital platforms are concerned, the big news from Tuesday’s Oscar nominations revolved around Amazon Studios and the Best Picture nod it received for Manchester by the Sea. Further down the list of nominees, however, lies another project with strong ties to the Internet. Pearl, a 360-degree short film released as part of Google’s Spotlight Stories project, earned a nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category.
Pearl tells the story of its titular character and her father as they travel the country in an old hatchback. The film is intended for viewership on VR devices, such as Google’s Daydream headset. A 2D cut of the film has also been created, and it will be that version that will show up alongside the other Animated Short Film Oscar nominees in theaters around the United States.
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This is the second Oscar nomination for Pearl director Patrick Osborne, and given its creator’s pedigree, the short always had a chance to get recognized by the Academy. Still, this achievement is a huge step forward for a medium looking to gain mainstream legitimacy. Osborne’s 360-degree success could bring more accomplished filmmakers to the VR world, especially if he can take home a trophy at February 26th’s Oscar ceremony.