Once again, Hollywood confabulates and celebrates the best of motion picture arts and sciences March 2, at the 86th Academy Awards. Among the many awards will be two showcasing the best in animation: Animated Feature Film and Short Film Animated. Many people have seen the feature films (or had a chance to…dunno how many actually saw “The Wind Rises”, which officially opens February 21), but few get a chance to watch the animated shorts, as they are usually screened only at film festivals.
So, we offer the following analysis, for those who take the Oscars as seriously as others follow the Super Bowl or Final Four. (Read my next post for a system for voting on the other categories.)
If you would like to watch them, Magnolia Films and ShortsHD have once again created anthology screenings of the nominees as well as notable also-rans. Check your local indie movie theater. Here in NYC, IFC and BAM are showing the film. Many of them are also available via Amazon and iTunes.
Here are the rules, with special notice for animated shorts (19.II.A):
Animated Short Film
An animated film is created by using a frame-by-frame technique, and usually falls into one of the two general fields of animation: character or abstract. Some of the techniques of animating films include cel animation, computer animation, stop-motion, clay animation, pixilation, cutouts, pins, camera multiple pass imagery, kaleidoscopic effects, and drawing on the film frame itself. Documentary short subjects that are animated may be submitted in either the Animated Short Film category or the Documentary Short Subject category, but not both.
(Yeah, I’d love to see an animated documentary!) (Hey! There was one!) What’s especially cool is that a student can qualify by winning a gold medal in the Student Academy Awards! (The Gold Medal winners for 2013 were Lindsey St. Pierre and Ashley Graham (and Kate Reynolds) of Ringling College of Art and Design for DIA DE LOS MUERTOS.
Any member of the Academy who has seen all nominees may vote in this category. The Annie Awards are not a guild award (membership in ASIFA is open to the general public), and failed to nominate the 2011 Academy Award winner. So there isn’t a simple touchstone for selecting the winner…I usually go with whichever one moved me the most, and/or had amazing technique.
Analysis: Imagine the court of Versailles, with chickens. Add in various site gags, a comedy of errors, and the general silliness of chickens in period costumes, and one will see an enjoyable, funny cartoon.
Analysis: I thought this had screened in 2012, but actually, it was attached to “Monsters University”. It is a romantic and heart-warming story of two umbrellas who meet by chance on a crowded rainy street in a metropolis. The CGI is real enough to make you believe that this is a hybrid, and it is shocking that Pixar did not receieve a nomination, the first time since… 2000 that Pixar did not receive a nomiation for either animated short or feature. (Did Disney/Pixar lock this short in the attic so that Mickey Mouse had a better chance at a nomination? Was it submitted for consideration?)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA —The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences today announced that 10 animated short films will advance in the voting process for the 86th Academy Awards. Fifty-six pictures had originally qualified in the category.The 10 films are listed below in alphabetical order by title, with their production companies:
“Feral,” Daniel Sousa, director, and Dan Golden, music and sound design (Daniel Sousa)
“Get a Horse!” Lauren MacMullan, director, and Dorothy McKim, producer (Walt Disney Feature Animation)
“Gloria Victoria,” Theodore Ushev, director (National Film Board of Canada)
“Hollow Land,” Uri Kranot and Michelle Kranot, directors (Dansk Tegnefilm, Les Films de l’Arlequin and the National Film Board of Canada)
“The Missing Scarf,” Eoin Duffy, director, and Jamie Hogan, producer (Belly Creative Inc.)
“Mr. Hublot,” Laurent Witz, director, and Alexandre Espigares, co-director (Zeilt Productions)
“Possessions,” Shuhei Morita, director (Sunrise Inc.)
“Requiem for Romance,” Jonathan Ng, director (Kungfu Romance Productions Inc.)
“Room on the Broom,” Max Lang and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)
“Subconscious Password,” Chris Landreth, director (National Film Board of Canada with the participation of Seneca College Animation Arts Centre and Copperheart Entertainment)
The Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation Branch Reviewing Committee viewed all the eligible entries for the preliminary round of voting at screenings held in New York and Los Angeles.
Short Films and Feature Animation Branch members will now select three to five nominees from among the 10 titles on the shortlist. Branch screenings will be held in Los Angeles, New York and San Francisco in December.