Moorhead High grad advances to top 10 for Oscar consideration

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LOS ANGELES - A young Moorhead animator is one step closer to winning an Academy Award.

According to The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Devon Manney's film "Cradle" has reached the top ten for Best Animated Short Film now up for consideration at the 90th Annual Academy Awards.

"I'm incredibly surprised, incredibly thankful and above all, incredibly lucky," Manney says. "This has been a really exciting morning, and it's really touching to see 'Cradle' in such lovely company."

Manney, a 2013 graduate of Moorhead High School, produced the film as a senior at the University of Southern California this spring. He was one of only 17 students— among 1,587 who entered — to win a Student Academy Award for the film which tells the story of a young veteran and his struggle to move forward after losing both arms in Iraq.

As a Student Academy Award winner, "Cradle" was automatically put up for consideration for Best Animated Short Film along with 62 other films. Manney told The Forum in September, it was possible it could win but wasn't likely because it's being judged against films from big names and studios. Pixar Studios' "Piper" won the award last year.

"More than anything, it's just one more opportunity for people to look at it and see if it connects with them," he says.

Members of the short films and feature animation branch will now narrow the list of 10 down to five finalists following additional screenings in Los Angeles, London, New York and San Francisco. The five nominees will be announced alongside all other Oscar nominees on Jan. 23. The 90th Academy Awards airs will be held on Sunday, March 4 on ABC.

"Cradle" was also recently nominated for Best Student Film from the International Animated Film Association's Annie Awards which is held in February.