Versions is the essential guide to virtual reality and beyond. It investigates the rapidly deteriorating boundary between the real world and the one behind the screen. Versions launched in 2016 at the eponymous conference dedicated to creativity and VR with the New Museum’s incubator NEW INC.

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A VR short film has been nominated for an Academy Award

A VR short film has been nominated for an Academy Award

While last year the Emmy’s recognized the Oculus Story Studio short film Henry, this year another awards ceremony is taking notice of virtual reality—the Academy Awards. Pearl, a VR short from Google, has been nominated for the 2017 Academy Awards for Best Animated Short Film.

Pearl, released in 2016, stands out among the 360-degree, mobile VR, and room-scale VR tales told by Google’s Spotlight Stories. The short is directed by Patrick Osborne, the same of the Oscar-winning short Feast, which screened before the Disney film Big Hero 6 in theaters. But Pearl is a different beast than Feast, because it plops the viewer directly into the same car as its characters and employs them with a 360-degree view of the lived-in, run-down vehicle (though, a theatrical non-360-degree version was screened, according to UploadVR).


Pearl is a somber tale, chronicling the relationship between a father and daughter as they drive across the country. The short constrains the player to the hatchback, where the viewer can gaze all around the car, and even stick their head out the sun roof (if they’re watching from a HTC Vive, at least). The short first premiered at Tribeca Film Festival last year, before its release on the HTC Vive and Youtube later in the year.

You can watch Pearl below from Youtube. The Academy Awards airs on February 26th at 7pm EST. You can view the rest of the nominations here.

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