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]