pixar bao toronto

Toronto-based short film Bao scores Oscar nomination

Imagine seeing footage from the inside of a TTC streetcar celebrated onstage at the Oscars.

You might not have to, come February 24, when the 91st annual Academy Awards take place in sunny Los Angeles, California, bringing film industry greats together in celebration of their craft.

Domee Shi, a Toronto-raised, Sheridan-educated storyboard artist for Pixar, could very well be one of those greats who go home with a statue that evening thanks to her work writing, directing, and producing the 2018 short film, "Bao."

Bao, which is set in Toronto, is just 7 minutes and 42 seconds long, but it packs a powerful emotional and aesthetic punch—enough, at least, to land it on the list for best animated short during this morning's Oscar nomination announcement ceremony.

"In Disney•Pixar's Bao, a Chinese mom who's sad when her grown son leaves home gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life as a lively, giggly dumpling boy," reads a description of the short film on YouTube Movies.

"Mom excitedly welcomes this new bundle of joy into her life, but Dumpling starts growing up fast, and Mom must face the bittersweet truth that nothing stays cute and small forever."

Shi, who graduated from the renowned animation program at Oakville's Sheridan College in 2011, was making waves well-ahead of today's Oscar nod.

Not only is she the first-ever woman to direct a short film for Pixar, she's one of the Disney company's most-prolific young talents. Previous to Bao, she worked on such films Inside Out, Toy Story 4 and Incredibles 2. It was during her time on the former film, in fact, that she developed Bao as a side project.

Now, the 29-year-old artist (who was born in Chongqing, China but settled with her family in Toronto by the age of 3) is working on her first 90-minute feature project for Pixar.

Congratulations to her for doing Torontonians, Chinese-Canadians, female filmmakers and animators everywhere proud.

Lead photo by

Disney Pixar


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