Every year, the Academy Award nominations spark a fierce flash of interest among film fans.

But for decades, one category languished in the shadows — the short films.

Locally, Ky Boyd, proprietor of the Rialto Cinemas — first in Santa Rosa, and now in Sebastopol — has championed these little gems.

When the shorts, both live and animated, became available to release as a package program to movie theaters in 2001, the Rialto was among the few nationwide to leap at the chance.

“It is a tradition we are proud to have pioneered and continue,” Boyd said.

Starting this Friday, Feb. 8, Rialto Cinemas will present this year’s 10 Oscar-nominated short films — five each in the animated and live-action categories. The films also are being shown at Summerfield Cinemas in Santa Rosa.

The animated nominees:

— “Head Over Heels” (UK), about a couple living parallel lives and trying to regain their equilibrium.

— Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare” (USA), in which Maggie Simpson spends a day at the Ayn Rand Daycare Center.

— “Paperman”” from Walt Disney Studios (USA), a retro love story that screened as a short before “Wreck it Ralph.”

— “Fresh Guacamole” (USA), in which we learn how to transform familiar objects into Fresh Guacamole.

— “Adam and Dog” (USA), The story of the dog in the Garden of Eden.

The live-action nominees:

— “Asad” (South Africa/USA), a coming-of-age drama set in Somalia.

—  “Buzkashi Boys (Afghanistan/USA), the coming of age story of two best friends, a charismatic street urchin and a defiant blacksmith’s son.

— “Curfew” (USA), at the lowest point of his life, Richie gets a call from his estranged sister, asking him to look after his nine-year old niece.

— “Dood Van Een Schaduw” (“Death of A Shadow”)(Belgium/France), a dead soldier’s imprisoned shadow is given another chance at life

— “Henry” (Canada), a great concert pianist, has his life thrown in turmoil the day the love of this life, Maria, disappears mysteriously.