VR-Compatible Short ‘Pearl’ Gets Oscar Nomination


The Google Spotlight Story is in the running for best animated short.

One of 2016’s favorite animated VR shorts is getting a big time nod Tuesday, receiving an Oscar nomination in the animated short category. The Google Spotlight Story film from Patrick Osborne, the director of Disney’s Oscar-nominated short film “Feast,” is a coming of age story about a girl growing up with her musician dad set to the song “No Wrong Way Home.”

Pearl was first made available as a 360-degree video that could be viewed in a Google Cardboard, with a later version distributed for VR headsets like the HTC Vive. It does appear the Oscar Nomination is for a 2D version of Pearl, but nonetheless, this a nomination well-deserved for one the most heartfelt VR experiences we’ve experienced — one we’ve seen numerous people take their headsets off in tears.

This is the first time a VR-compatible film has been nominated for an Oscar. In 2016, Oculus Story Studio won an Emmy for their VR short Henry and in 2015, Emmy nominations were given out to FOX’s Sleepy Hollow experience and Taylor Swift’s VR app.

ar-vr-siggraph-tango-pearlAlthough we are sure the 2D version of Pearl is just as powerful a story, the VR version adds a whole new layer to the immersive experience, for example, giving you the option to stand up and look through the sunroof while the car is driving, taking Pearl to an entirely new viewing experience.

“Pearl” is one of a number such Spotlight Stories that have come out of Google Spotlight Stories, including including “Duet” from Disney legend Glen Keane, “Help” from Fast and Furious director Justin Lin, “Rain or Shine” and “On Ice.”

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder of VRScout.

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