Whatever you thought of the hosts, the win in the Best Animated Short Film for Shaun Tan — which we correctly predicted — was a nice win for a very talented artist. Although the Australian Tan is more of an illustrator than a cartoonist, his best known work, THE ARRIVAL, is certainly an example of graphic storytelling — so if he isn’t exactly on our team, he’s pretty darned close.
THE LOST THING is based on a book of the same name, and making the cartoon took the better part of a decade. School Library Journal’s Chelsey Philpot has a fine pre-win interview with Tan that talks about the long process of making the film:
On the positive side, Sophie assembled a great team, so there was a kind of creative intimacy in working with only one animator (Leo Baker) and one digital artist (Tom Bryant) instead of a big group. We would often joke about the “art department” or “animation department” or “tech support”—actually referring to multi-tasking individuals. There was a laundromat downstairs, and we thought of any mice living there as our additional production crew—so always joking about our small scale. But I think limited resources were, in the end, conducive to working carefully and intelligently, and achieving results comparable to the work of big studios.
He also mentions that a film based on THE ARRIVAL is currently being considered with Sophie Byrne, who produced THE LOST THING, and an unnamed LA producer. Hopefully the Oscar win will give this project a boost — THE ARRIVAL is a masterpiece of universal human emotions, and definitely one of the best comics of the past decade.
[h/t to Brigid Alverson for the interview link]
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.