February 23, 2009
Last night, the 81st Academy Award winners were announced.

Continuing a trend, award favourite Wall-E won for Best Animated Feature and the winner of Best Animated short is La Maison en petits cubes by Kunio Kato

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January 22, 2009

The Oscar nominations were announced this morning, as usual too early for anyone who likes a decent sleep. Wall-E has been nominated for Best Screenplay, which though mostly dialogueless is an extremely worthy nomination.

Waltz With Bashir has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film.

The Academy has played it safe with the nomination of Bolt, Kung Fu Panda, and Wall-E in the Best Animated Film category. They are all great films, but I expect no upsets in that category. There seem to be some great choices that are not in the running.

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February 24, 2008

Brad Bird accepted the Academy Award 25 minutes ago for Best Animated Feature Film for Ratatouille. In his acceptance speech, Bird thanked Pixar, Disney, John Lasseter, Steve Jobs, Ed Catmull, Brad Lewis, Jan Pinkava, and Dick Cook. Ratatouille edged out Surf's Up and Persepolis to win the Oscar.

Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman won the Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for Peter and the Wolf, beating out I Met the Walrus, Madame Tutli-Putli, Même les Pigeons vont au Paradis and My Love.

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January 22, 2008
Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the 2008 Oscar nominees. For all the concern of Beowulf getting a spot, the worry was for naught. The shorts are diverse, in technique, storytelling and geography.


Persepolis (Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud, France)
Ratatouille (Brad Bird, US)
Surf's Up (Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, US)


Even Pigeons Go To Heaven (Samuel Tourneux and Simon Vanesse, France) entire short
I Met The Walrus (Josh Raskin, Canada) clip
Madame Tutli-Putli (Chris Lavis & Maciek Szczerbowski, Canada) clip
My Love (Alexander Petrov, Russia) clip
Peter and The Wolf (Suzie Templeton and Hugh Welchman, UK) clip

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January 16, 2008
Montreal's Cinematheque Quebecoise is screening two modern anime favourites this month. Today, they are showing Akira, and next week Thursday, they offer the opportunity to see Princess Mononoke on the big screen.

Princess Mononoke was overlooked for an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film in 1997. It seems like the pattern has been repeated this year. Check out this Cartoon Brew post about this year's snub of Persepolis.

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November 8, 2007
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences just released their list of films that have been submitted for consideration for the animated feature film category for next year's Oscars. The features are Alvin and the Chipmunks, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, Bee Movie, Beowulf, Meet the Robinsons, Persepolis, Ratatouille, Shrek the Third, The Simpsons Movie, Surf's Up, Tekkonkinkreet and TMNT. Alvin, Beowulf and Persepolis still haven't had their Los Angeles qualifying runs, but I'm sure Fox, Warner and Sony will get right on that.

It also appears that the Academy has gotten over its uncertainty with regards to tagging Beowulf and Alvin as animated features (the former because of its extensive use of motion capture—which even direct Robert Zemeckis doesn't feel is animation—and the latter because of its blend of animation and live action).

So which three films do you think will actually be nominated for the li'l gold guy? Here's what I think, and why:

Beowulf: Gosh-wow technology; eye candy in the form of both lush imagery and Angelina Jolie; Hollywood loves a good epic; the novelty of a PG-13 animated feature.

Persepolis: Great festival buzz; the hand-drawn look balances out the CG of most of the other entries; topical themes; more straightforward plotwise than Tekkonkinkreet; a nod to foreign animation.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters: Just kidding. Though I expect that The Simpsons Movie and Ratatouille will split the vote and we'll get something like Shrek the Third or Surf's Up in there.

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April 25, 2007
Two great events are happening in Montreal on Thursday evening, April 26th. The problem is figuring out which one to go to or how to attend both without running oneself ragged.

At 6:30, The Cinémathèque Québécoise screens a program of Hélène Tanguay's picks for Animation Classics of the 1970s, with an emphasis on Polish shorts and cream of the crop from the NFB. Shorts by Ivanov Vano and Yuri Norstein, John Weldon and Eunice Macaulay are included and this will also be another chance to see Frank Film. The program continues next week with the '80s picks.

[Correction: The April 26 and May 3 programs aren't related to the Hélène Tanguay program, which is top-secret and appears on May 10. However, the lineups are still several levels of amazing. —Emru]

At 8:00, Red Bird Studios (135 Van Horne) is hosting a one-night only art show for the creators of the indie comics anthology Hickee. I especially like the work of editor Graham Annable (check out the Grickle comics and shorts), Scott Campbell and Raz. The contributors also work in other artistic disciplines, including animation and game design, but after picking up an issue - you don't need to be told - it becomes pleasantly obvious in much of the work.

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February 26, 2007
In case you have not yet seen Torill Kove's The Danish Poet in its entirety, you can view the recent Oscar-winner (the National Film Board's 12th) online, courtesy of the NFB. If you do it soon, you can even have a chance at winning some original artwork from the short.

Marcy Page, one of the films co-producers and also a producer of Kove's previous NFB outing, My Grandmother Ironed The King's Shirts, was featured in the July 2005 issue of fps, available as a free PDF download.

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February 25, 2007
Give it up for the Canucks, Norwegians and Aussies. Torill Kove's The Danish Poet took the Academy Award for best animated short film, and George Miller's Happy Feet got a statuette for best animated feature. Congratulations all around, especially for the heartfelt and gracious acceptance speeches. (Now, if only the Academy would recognize that grace and stop introducing the awards with cutesy animated bits and lame visual puns. How about it, folks?)

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Defending the nominees for Best Animated Feature Film isn't as hard this year. All three nominees feature accomplishments that outweigh their most glaring flaws. The films share the familiar, family-friendly buoyancy typical of American animated filmmaking, but that familiarity shouldn't overshadow their unique achievements.

Read the commentary

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February 3, 2007
Angelenos will also be able to feel the Oscar-short love; as in New York, all ten nominated shorts will be screened at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills on February 20 at 7:30 p.m. Unlike New York, this screening will feature onstage discussions with the nominated filmmakers (the ones that can make it, at any rate) and admission is free. To reserve your free tickets, call (310) 247-3000 or visit the Oscars website.

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New Yorkers will have two chances to see all ten of this year’s Oscar-nominated films in the Animated and Live Action Short Film categories.

The Oscar PR department has announced in a press release that their annual Shorts! program will be presented on Saturday, February 17, at 12 p.m. and 4 p.m. at the Academy Theater in New York City.

The screenings will be hosted by Robert Osborne, Hollywood Reporter columnist, host of Turner Classic Movies and official biographer of the Academy Awards. The 2006 Animated Short Film and Live Action Short Film nominees are:

Short Film (Animated)
The Danish Poet, Torill Kove, director
Lifted, Gary Rydstrom, director
The Little Matchgirl, Roger Allers, director; Don Hahn, producer
Maestro, Geza M. Toth, director
No Time for Nuts, Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmeier, directors

Short Film (Live Action)
Binta and the Great Idea, Javier Fesser, director; Luis Manso, producer
Eramos Pocos, Borja Cobeaga, director
Helmer & Son, Soren Pilmark, director; Kim Magnusson, executive producer
The Saviour, Peter Templeman, director; Stuart Parkyn, producer
West Bank Story, Ari Sandel, director

Tickets for Shorts! are $5 for the general public and $3 for Academy members and students with a valid ID. All seating is unreserved. Tickets may be reserved by calling 1-888-778-7575. Depending on availability, tickets may be purchased the day of the screenings. Doors open at 11:30 a.m. The Academy Theater is located at 111 East 59th Street in New York City.

The Academy Awards will be presented on Sunday, February 25, 2007, at the Kodak Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center. If you don't yet happen to have tickets to the big event, you will of course be able to catch it live on ABC TV like the rest of us.

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