We’ve always loved awards shows. The pomp and circumstance, the fashion, the inspiring performances, the potential acceptance-speech meltdowns, and the odd displays of protruding appendages (what was up with that, Angelina?). They rarely fail to give us fodder for discourse. But one of the best things we take away from these events every year is an introduction to new and inspiring works in the field of animation. The Oscar presentation a few weeks ago was no exception.
A couple of the Animated Short nominees this year caught our attention. The first was A Morning Stroll by Grant Orchard. Based loosely on a tale recounted in Paul Auster’s book True Tales of American Life, the film tells the story of one New Yorker’s early morning encounter with a chicken that plays out over 100 years.
We are struck by the use of different types of animation to depict the different periods of time.
Plus, we love the look on that chicken’s face when it turns around.
The Best Animated Short Film winner this year was The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. According to their website, “inspired in equal measures, by Hurricane Katrina, Buster Keaton, The Wizard of Oz, and a love for books, ‘Morris Lessmore’ is a story of people who devote their lives to books and books who return the favor.” Sounds pretty cool.
The film is another example of the use of various styles of animation from miniatures to computer animation and 2D animation.
Check out the trailer to see it all come together.
These got us thinking about some previous Oscar contenders. For an example of feature-length animated brilliance, one of our favorites from a few years ago is Persepolis. The film, based on a graphic novel by Marjane Satrapi, is the story of a young Iranian girl coming of age during the Iranian Revolution.
Not only is the animation (predominantly black and white) beautifully done, the story is totally engrossing and captivating.
But our all-time favorite by far has to be The Triplets of Belleville by Sylvain Chomet.
A gem of a movie that employs a rich, yet retro, animation style, the story slowly and beautifully works its magic on you from beginning to end.
If you’ve never seen it (or heard of it, for that matter), get your hands on a copy as soon as possible. Possibly the most beautiful, funny, touching, heartfelt portrayal of familial love ever filmed (animated or otherwise).