The animated short category reflects a broader range of animation sources and styles than its feature counterpart.

Two nominees have enjoyed multiplex platforms: Disney’s winsome, wordless romance “Paperman” played alongside the studio’s nominated feature “Wreck-It Ralph,” while Fox’s less artful “Maggie Simpson in ‘The Longest Daycare’ ” was programmed with “Ice Age: Continental Drift.” A rollicking “Simpsons” spinoff, “Daycare” won’t win, but by nabbing a nod, it has succeeded where 2007’s “The Simpsons Movie” failed.

Both these 3D Goliaths could, however, lose out to a smaller, scrappier competitor. Potentially, 2D nostalgists may gravitate toward the beautifully drawn “Adam and Dog,” from moonlighting 27-year-old Disney character designer Minkyu Lee; it already won last year’s Annie Award and, at 15 minutes, is the category’s most substantial nominee.

The most affecting, however, might be the one non-U.S. contender – “Head Over Heels,” a whimsical stop-motion study of marital estrangement by graduates of Britain’s National Film & Television School. It probably stands a better chance of pulling off an upset than the field’s other stop-motion effort: “Fresh Guacamole,” an absurdist visual recipe for the eponymous dip by hip ad director PES that might be the most ingenious of the lot. But at less than two minutes, its likeliest reward is YouTube immortality.

Returns to the Best Picture Preview 2013