'Hair Love' and 10 Years of Kickstarter-Funded Oscar Nominees

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Each and every year for the last decade, at least one Kickstarter-funded film has been nominated for an Oscar. Two of those films, Inocente and Period. End of Sentence, have taken home awards. This year, all of us at Kickstarter are rooting for Hair Love, an animated short film by Matthew Cherry about an African-American father trying to do his daughter’s hair for the first time.

Matthew had already used Kickstarter twice to help fund his feature films. In 2017 he returned to Kickstarter and launched a campaign for Hair Love that raised $284,058, a Kickstarter record for an animated short. His 4,981 backers were from as far afield as Japan and New Zealand. Last August, Hair Love premiered nationally in front of screenings of Angry Birds 2. It’s not often an animated short gets extensive press write-ups, but his film has been covered by The New York Times, The Washington Post, NPR, Teen Vogue, and so many other places. Matthew also turned the story into a children’s book, which became a New York Times bestseller.

Hair Love beautifully dismantles harmful narratives about race through characters that we're not used to seeing on the screen. Kickstarter is a way for people to say that they want stories like this to be told, particularly as so many voices and stories continue to be overlooked by Hollywood.

At the end of his campaign, Matthew expressed his gratitude to his backers:

We are so humbled by the outpouring of love for this project. It has truly been one of the craziest journeys I have ever been a part of in my life and we all are so thankful to each and every one of you for deeming this project worthy of your support.

And the feeling was mutual, with backers excitedly following the Hair Love journey to the Oscars:

This is the most incredible news! I think all of us small donors are just as proud as anyone else to be a part of this project. My heart swells👏🏽👏🏽💜💜

I am so proud of you, Matt! You envisioned a dream and you made it happen. Thank you for envisioning something that has made little girls, including mine, love their hair. ☺️

Best of luck to you and your team! No matter what happens on Oscar night you have already won in our hearts and minds! Thank you for #HairLove forever and always!

The Hair Love team is in very good company on the red carpet, as backers on Kickstarter have played an essential role in funding 16 films that have received nods from the Academy. Here’s the complete list of Kickstarter-funded films that have been nominated for Academy Awards:

2020: Hair Love, Nominated for Best Animated Short

2019: Period. End of Sentence, Wins Best Documentary Short 

2018: Loving Vincent, Nominated for Best Animated Feature 

2017: Joe’s Violin, Nominated for Best Documentary; Pear Cider and Cigarettes, Nominated for Best Animated Short 

2016: World of Tomorrow, Nominated for Best Animated Short; Anomalisa, Nominated for Best Animated Feature; Racing Extinction, "Manta Ray" Nominated for Best Original Song 

2015: Finding Vivian Maier, Nominated for Best Documentary Feature 

2014: The Square, Nominated for Best Documentary Feature 

2013: Inocente, Wins Best Documentary Short; Kings Point, Nominated for Best Documentary Short; Buzkashi Boys, Nominated for Best Live Action Short 

2012: Incident in New Baghdad, Nominated for Best Documentary Short; The Barber of Birmingham, Nominated for Best Documentary Short 

2011: Sun Come Up, Nominated for Best Documentary Short