Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1965

Ah, the joys of residency interviews. People keep saying that these are informal and that the residencies are making sure that we can work well with the staff in that facility, but that's what they said about medical school interviews. You still have dozens of people interviewing for one spot, so the chances of you getting that one spot is much diminished. Perhaps I'm still haunted by my med school interview season back in 2008-09, one that ended up with me getting waitlisted on seven schools in ten interviews, even though I was told that the interviewers liked me. Thinking back to those days turn me into a nervous wreck like Rainbow Dash over there. Maybe that's why I bomb these interviews. I can only think back to my failures and that set me into a cycle of failure. Well today is my ninth interview (at Eastern Virginia Medical School, which waitlisted me in 2008) so hopefully I can keep my composure, but I doubt it. Perhaps that's why I scheduled 27 interviews and am planning on going to all of them. Because part of me knows that's what it's going to take in order to get in somewhere. I wish I had the confidence to take only 5 - 12 interviews like everybody else that's doing psych at my school, but just look at poor Rainbow Dash. You think she'd be fine doing only 12 interviews in that state of mind? I thought not.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1966

Well, we're closing in at the end of the year, and now we're entering the time of year when all of the Best Picture hopefuls are coming out in theaters. Today is a pretty significant day where no less than two films with Best Picture aspirations are opening wide. The first is Life of Pi, the film based on the highly symbolic novel from Yann Martel. While the film deals a lot with Indians, it was actually helmed by Taiwanese director 李安 (Ang Lee), the man behind such classics as 臥虎藏龍 (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon), Brokeback Mountain, and my personal favorites 喜宴 (The Wedding Banquet) and 色,戒 (Lust, Caution). He has a special skill of mixing art and symbolism and would be a perfect choice for a film like this. Of course, the one that I'm more curious in is Silver Linings Playbook. The trailer caught my attention with its portrayal of a guy that's clearly in a manic state, and then showed Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence's characters swapping lists of mood stabilizers and benzodiazepines that they took. I have no idea how accurate the portrayal of psychiatric illnesses will be, but as an aspiring psychiatrists I am very curious. All of the Oscar buzz doesn't hurt either. Unfortunately my life will be rather turbulent for the next month what with interviews and traveling to Conshohocken, Pennsylvania for the COMLEX Physical Exam test, but hopefully I'll find some time to watch it. And work on more reviews.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1967

Well, our journey backwards through the history of the Best Animated Short category continues. I really hope I'll get time to write all this in the next two months because I'll have residency interviews up the wazoo. I have 27 interviews scheduled, which is 2.7x more than the number of med school interviews I had. And since some of my interviews will be two in one, I'd have to rank 31 programs come match time. Yep, it's going to be a busy three months.

But I cannot take a break. After all, there are still 36 more years to review, and the 2012 Oscar season is starting. Why, the shortlist was posted just last week. And the final list of nominees will be announced in January, and I'll have a review for that to interrupt the reviews from the 1950s. And then the cycle begins again with new films competing in new festivals and so on and so forth. Hopefully I'll get to go to some of these festivals someday.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Documentary Short Highlight - Why Man Creates (1968)

You stay classy, Rainbow Dash
So today was the premiere of Season 3 for My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, and to be frank it was soooooo awesome! Yeah, the adventure elements are kind of underdeveloped. All of the possible tension points were resolved anti-climactically, and there were a lot of build-up for something that never delivered with the villain. Still, there were a lot of great moments: Pinkie Spy with her night vision goggles and undercover costume. Some more hilarious over-the-top Rarity moments. It convinced me that the show should stick with the slice of life angle because that's what they do best. Why worry about adventures and stuff when it's more interesting to see how the characters with distinct personalities interact?

Of course, as you can probably tell that's not the reason for this review. It's been a while since I did a review on a film that wasn't nominated for Best Animated Short. The last one I did was Oink back in May. The last time I did a review on an animated film nominated in a different category was Sunrise over Tiananmen Square from April. Sunrise was nominated in 1998, and now we are at the 1968 review, a difference of 30 years. It's not that there hasn't been an animated film nominated in this category in the years in between. The Colours of My Father: A Portrait of Sam Borenstein utilized animation in telling the story and the art style of a famous Canadian artist, and was nominated in 1992. However, the film is not available online, and my efforts to acquire a copy of the DVD failed, probably because my address was in flux at the time. (I really should ask NFB for a refund.)

However, animation was featured quite prominently in Why Man Creates, the documentary from legendary graphic designer Saul Bass that was nominated for the Best Documentary Short film Oscar in 1968.

Best Animated Short - 2012 - The Shortlist

And then there were ten...

Well, it's that time of the year again. The Short Film and Animation Branch has voted, and they whittled the list of 57 qualifying films into the list of ten finalists on the shortlist. They will reconvene to vote on these ten films and determine the 3-5 nominees. Of course, there hasn't been a year with less than 5 nominees since 2000, so I don't really expect this year to be any different. Of course we won't find out which ones made the cut until January 10.

To be honest this announcement kind of caught me off guard. For one thing, in the past three years the shortlist had been announced in late November or early December, and I was kind of expecting it to happen again. Still, I usually check Cartoon Brew every day just for the heck of it, and could have got the news from there during my lunch hour. However, the Gameloft My Little Pony game was released on iOS on Wednesday and Android on Thursday, and I spent my lunch break playing the game on both my iPod and my Android phone*.

*So sad. Rainbow Dash is the last of the Mane Six ponies to be unlocked, at 43. I'm at level 23 so there's only 20 levels left, but knowing the way these games work, I'd probably need twice as much XP as I have now to get to level 43. 

Before we move on to the shortlist, here's a few films that were lauded by folks that actually go to these festivals. Don Hertzfeldt was nominated for Rejected back in 2000 (the last year with fewer than five nominees), and since 2006 he had been working on a trilogy of films that many consider his masterpiece. Everything Will Be OK made it onto the shortlist in 2006 but failed to garner a nomination, and I Am So Proud of You missed in 2009. The final film of the trilogy, It's Such a Beautiful Day, similarly missed the cut. Other films include Oh, Willy... and Junkyard. I haven't seen any of those films in their entirety, so I can't really comment on those. One film that I did see that didn't make it was Daffy's Rhapsody. It was the newest entry in the new 3D Warner Bros. films. The interesting thing is that two other entries in the past two years had made it onto the shortlist: Coyote Falls and I Tawt I Taw a Puddy Tat. Of course, the Academy had nominated several Wily Coyote/Road Runner and Sylvester/Tweety films. They had never nominated Daffy Duck. This bias still persists.

And then there were the ten that made it.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1968

Okay, I'm not even going to wait until the end to announce this. I don't even know why I do that because I post the title screen for the winning film on every single of my reviews, so it's not like I'm spoiling anything. It's even more true for this years because I wrote about this year's Best Animated Short winner four months ago. That's right, we have finally reached the year that Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day took home the Best Animated Short Oscar, ending the 13 year drought for Disney and making him one of the select group of people to win a posthumous Oscar. It's hard to believe that it's been four months since I was working on the puzzle based on the film, but I guess time passes when you're busy with clinical rotations, board studying, baseball*, and My Little Pony.

*No idea what to think about the Giants beating the Tigers. I mean, I like both teams. I was born in Michigan and still have aunts that are die-hard fans of the Tigers. And I've kind of gotten board the Giants bandwagon since the entire Randy Johnson's 300th win thing three years ago. I've always liked it when teams that hadn't won for a while wins again, and the Tigers haven't won since 1984, a few months before I was even born. However, I'm also not very pleased with the Tigers' efforts to essentially buy their way to the title with that massive deal for Prince Fielder. On the other hand, the Giants had won two years ago, and they beat the hometown Rangers to do so. So, it really was a lose-lose situation. At least it wasn't the Cardinals that won. 

So in my post back in June I talked quite extensively about Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day, but I didn't mention any of the films that it was competing against, so there will still be something to talk about in this post.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1969

Happy Nightmare Night, Halloween, everybody. My friends at the Longview Comic Book Club will probably be hooting and hollering it up at their Halloween party, but me? I'm on a plane going to South Carolina for the fifth and sixth residency interviews. Sure, I'd rather have it be to Atlanta to watch Game 7 of the World Series at Turner Field, but that dream kind of died when the Braves were knocked off by the St. Louis Cardinals. Oh well, at least they got knocked off by the eventual World Champion San Francisco Giants. I think I'm less bitter at the Giants ruining the Rangers' World Series hopes than the Cardinals, because the Rangers were so close to the title. And now both Rangers are pretty much going to join the Indians and the Royals as also-rans. It was a good run while it lasted. But I digress. Even though I'm on a plane right now, I have this review up because I'm writing it in advance. There really was no point to this paragraph, but it doesn't matter because the only people that will end up reading this are my sisters, who are more into Japanese anime anyways. So yey, my target audience for this blog is essentially myself! No wonder I've lost the motivation to write it. But I will keep trucking on! We still have 38 years to review, and by golly I'm going to review them!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Best Animated Short - 2012 - Qualifying Films

Well, it's that time of year again, when the Academy reveals their list films that qualify for the Best Animated Short film Oscar. As I revealed in an earlier thread, a film can qualify by either getting a public showing in a Los Angeles County theater, wins a competitive award at an approved film festival, or a Gold Medal at the Student Academy Awards (for student films.) Any film that meets one of these requirements qualify, and they'll go in front of a committee that will vote on the films. The top 10 goes on the short list.

This year there are 57 qualifying films. That's a LOT, especially since there were only 33 in 2010, the first year that I paid attention to the qualifying films. The full list, courtesy of Oscar nominee Michael Sporn (Doctor DeSoto, 1984) and Animation Magazine after the jump. I'll write a short blurb that hopefully I can expand once the nominees are announced in January. Plus I'll link to trailers or even the short film whenever available.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1970

The late 1960s and early 1970s were a highly turbulent time in American history. It was a time of political and social unrest. There were demonstrations and riots over the Vietnam War, whose public support eroded in the light of the Tet Offensive, and over civil rights issues, especially after the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. in 1968. There were protests and riots at the Democratic National Convention. This culminated in 1970 when students at Kent State University were shot during a demonstration over the invasion of Cambodia, killing four.

Films tend to reflect the society in which they were made, and this era was no exception. There were films about the alienation of our country's youth, such as Easy Rider and Five Easy Pieces. There were films about war, such as M*A*S*H and Patton. Yet the highest grossing film of the year was a more conventional film, Love Story. The romantic tragedy about love and loss barely beat out the ensemble disaster film Airport in box office receipt

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1971

So, we're in the middle of baseball playoffs, normally a magical time for me, but I just can't find myself getting excited, mostly because I don't really care for any of the teams that are left. I was able to ride the Rangers bandwagon to World Series games the last two years, but this year they blew the division lead on the last day, and then dropped the Wild Card game at home to the Miracle O's, my only postseason game of the year. Similarly, the Washington Nationals dominated the regular season, finishing with the winning record, but like the Philadelphia Phillies last year, they dropped the division series to the Wild Card St. Louis Cardinals. Of the remaining team the only team I like is the Yankees, and that's because it had Mickey Mantle, one of my favorite players of all time. Except you know, their offense has completely disappeared, so they're probably not going to be getting #28 anytime soon.

Also an interesting fact is how the Pirates ended up with a 79-83 record, even though they had a 67-54 record on  August 19, when they played a 19-inning game against those same Cardinals that are well on their way to a second straight World Series title. While they won the game, they fell completely off the cliff, winning only 12 games in their last 41 games. That helped them extend their record for consecutive losing seasons to 20. It's so surprising that the Pirates are one of a few teams to win five World Series titles. The first was in 1909, when Honus Wagner led them to a victory over Ty Cobb's Tigers in the first seven-game World Series. It was the Tigers' third straight World Series defeat. The Pirates won again in 1925, when Max Carey and Pie Traynor led the team over Walter Johnson and the Washington Senators, ending their hopes for back to back Series. The Pirates' third title came in 1960, when they were outscored and outplayed by the Yankees, but managed to squeeze in three tight wins, and then came out on top in the most thrilling Game 7 off Bill Mazeroski's walk-off blast. The 1979 Pirates were led by Willie Stargell, whose "We are Family" motto led them to a victory over the favored Baltimore Orioles.

And then there was 1971.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Ranking the Oscar Nominated Shorts 1972-1981

When I started this blog back in February, I was posting reviews at a rate of two a week, but I later had to pare it down to one a week as I couldn't keep up with the pace. With the new rate it felt as though it would take us forever to get through, but now we've hit the halfway point in our reviews in what feels like a blink of an eye. True, it has been eight months and a whole lot of things have happened in my life in that time, but it still feels like nothing more like a hop, skip, and a jump since my first review on this blog. And the halfway point of 80 years is 40 years, and you know what happens every 10 years? I rank the nominees by preference. I've been maintaining these rankings in each individual years by quality and preference, but when combining them all into one big list I focus solely on preference because that is much more subjective. Of course, that would lead to some incidents where some films that are not quite so good gets ranked high and masterpieces that are ranked low. But hey, at least there are no absolutely mediocre films that have been nominated...right? Well, except for A Greek Tragedy, and that film actually won. *grumble grumble*

So...1972-1981. For the most part there were three nominees a year, like the decade that came...after. However, there were two years with four nominees, and one busy year with five nominees, so that comes out to 34 films, just a wee bit above the 1982-1991 list. Is that going to change the complexion of things? We shall see. But for now...let the countdown begin!

NULL: Dedalo (1976)
Impossible to find, especially since my online course is turning out to be a dead end. However from what I've seen of it I'm not quite as excited about this as Lorenzo, but dammit! It still needs to be seen somehow!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1972 (NSFW)

Well, it doesn't seem like it'll ever get here, but we are on our 40th review. That means we are officially halfway done with reviewing these Oscar nominated shorts! Sure, it took eight months, but it sure as heck doesn't feel that long. And guess what? We still have pitiful page views! Hooray! I'd like to thank my loyal readers, all three of them that I know of: my sisters (one of whom says she mostly skims the reviews) and Christopher Sobieniak. Man, I suck at advertising my blog. I tell people about it but they don't read it.

Meh, but we're halfway through the reviews. We've gone too far to just give up! So let's keep forging on. We are now at 1972, which is a significant year because it saw the introduction of one of the monumental films in American cinematic history...The Godfather

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1973

So on the surface it seems like I've been updating this blog regularly. A new post comes up every Wednesday as I said it would. Yet as I mentioned in earlier posts I've been writing these in advance, and I churned out a lot of them back in August. However, I've been procrastinating, so my queue of finished reviews is getting shorter every week. And I'm freaking out, possibly justifiably.

So what have I been doing with my time? Well, I've been doing my rotations in the hospital, which I've been doing since I've started my blog so that's not really contributing to my procrastination. I've been working to submit my residency applications, but that was mostly a lot of procrastination as well. I'm also back in the town of my med school, so I've been hanging out with friends, but that's it's not really fair to blame others for my own laziness. My online course on the history of animation that I mentioned in the 1976 review has started, but it doesn't take me THAT long to work on stuff. It's probably just the fact that it takes me forever and a day to write these things, so my motivation isn't exactly very high. So what have I been doing instead? Well, it's mostly just playing The Sims 3 and watching My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1974

Well, I've had quite an adventure since finishing my last review back on Thursday, August 30. The day after that, I finished my Infectious Disease rotation in Akron, OH and went on a detour to Atlanta, GA to watch a Braves game. You see, I had seen eight games at eight stadiums so far this year, and hadn't even seen a Rangers game yet, even though they are the closest team to me. I figure I'll probably watch a Rangers game by the end of the year. If I can just see another game on my way back from Ohio I'd have seen games at 1/3 of the Major League stadiums, which would be a mini ballpark tour. When I found out I get a Labor Day weekend, I immediately set off to look for home games that wouldn't deviate too much from the 18-hour drive.

In the end I found that the Cubs and Braves had home games on Saturday, September 1, and attending those games only adds 4 hours to my drive. Chicago is six hours away from Akron while Atlanta is 12 hours away. The Cubs game is at 1:05 while the Braves game is at 4:05. In the end I opted to visit Atlanta.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1975

So in my last review I tried getting rid of the excess topics in my introductions, and I was able to streamline it quite well! Sure, I didn't talk about baseball as much as I would have liked, but at the same time I wasn't spending two to three hours on just the introduction alone. It's worked so well I'll keep limiting my discussions on the Oscar awards of a particular year. Yeah, I won't be getting to talk about the Big Red Machine and the legendary World Series they had with the underdog Boston Red Sox (which included the memorable Game 6 that ended with Carlton Fisk's home run, a moment that was referenced in the Best Picture nominated Good Will Hunting). Nor would I have the chance to talk about my classmate Brian Barkley, who actually pitched for the Red Sox in 1998. But you know what? I'm okay with that.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1976

So I've been here fretting about the length of my introductions while blabbering about who I know that was born a certain year or the major current events in the world and in baseball from that particular year. It was up to my sister that told me a solution: why bother spending my time writing about those excess things? It's just a waste of time and space about stuff that has absolutely nothing to do with animated shorts in the first place, and she doesn't even bother reading them. At least the Oscars has some connection because it's, you know, the Oscars, but even she skims through that stuff.

So I'm going to follow her advice and not write anything about the Bicentennial, and not write anything about Chris Chambliss's triumphant home run that broke the hearts of the Kansas City Royals. And we'll see how it goes.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1977

Hmm. I just realized a certain inherent flaw in my "Who was born in this year" game for these introductions. The fact is, I don't know very many people. I couldn't think of anybody that was born in 1977 that I knew until I cheated and looked up the birthday chart that I've been keeping for people in my med school class. (As it turns out four of my classmates were born in 1977. Actually two of them are no longer with us but with the class of 2014 instead. Such tragedy.) Also, the attending physician for my infectious disease rotation in Akron, OH was born in 1977. Still, I can't keep doing this, as the oldest person in my class was born in 1955, and there were 23 years of animated shorts that came before that.

One thing I can do, of course, is take somebody born in that particular year and talk about their life.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1978

Well, I kind of suffered through a crisis situation with this blog, one that on led me to question whether or not to keep on going. In the end I decided to keep the blog, but I still never even touched it for a good three weeks. Good thing I had enough posts in queue to weather this storm, but now the crisis is over and I can move on. Although if you consider how much fun I had the past three weeks maybe I shouldn't have to stress about the blog.* Then again I had agreed to take up the responsibility of sharing these Oscar nominated films to the world, and I might as well make good on this responsibility!

*After all, since that little crisis I had a great lock-in with the people of the Longview Comic Book Club; I drove 20 hours from Texas to Northern Virginia in essentially one sitting, where I watched the Sun set and rise again nine hours later; I went to a Nationals game and watch the Nats topple Cole Hamels; I went to the National Sports Collectors Convention and got to meet Whitey Herzog, Phil Niekro, and Gaylord Perry; I went to Akron General where I had a great rotation in infections disease; I went to Pittsburgh and saw the grave of Pud Galvin and watched Jason Marquis throw a complete game shutout against the Pirates, my first since August 7, 2005

Friday, August 24, 2012

Spirited Away: A Personal Journey

So, this post is kind of unrelated to Oscar nominated animated shorts, but it is about an Oscar winning piece of animation, so it's got more in common than the one post that has the most views on this blog: the top 5 animated nuclear explosions.

Anyways, my favorite movie of all time turned 10 last year. It's a pretty significant milestone, and I celebrated it by watching the film (although I missed the actual anniversary by a couple of days.) I didn't do any writing about it, probably because I wanted to get back to playing Tales of Symphonia. However, now is the time that is a much more significant anniversary for me personally: the 10th anniversary of the first time I watched the film. Now that this anniversary has arrived, I think it's a good time to look back on my experiences with the movie.

So what movie am I talking about? Well, it's in the title, but just for the heck of it, it's 千と千尋の神隠し (Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi), better known in the United States as Spirited Away.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1979 (NSFW)

We have arrived in the 1970s in our trip through the Best Animated Short Oscar. The 1970s, as you know, are a decade full of crisis and turmoil. Another source of crisis and turmoil for this blog is our ever-lengthening introductions. Originally I had trouble putting enough substance in my intros, but for the past four reviews I've noticed that my introductions are getting longer than my reviews. This probably came about from when I started adding baseball stories for that particular year. I love baseball and have the tendency to ramble when it comes to baseball. And I can go off on Oscars stuff as well. Frankly I love doing these things more than coming up with historical events for that year, but if you have any suggestions as to what I should to please leave it in the comments. I've only gotten one comment so far, and it wasn't even in any of the reviews.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1980

Our valiant journey through the best of the Academy Awards has taken us to 1980. It is a significant year not only because it was the first year of the 1980s, a decade that certainly left a strong mark on pop culture, but it is also an important year in my family history. After all, it was the year that saw the birth of The First Child in my generation.

I don't know how common it is to celebrate the first child born in a generation, and I don't even think it was that big of a deal in my family. However, it is still quite significant. I guess if you go back far enough there were many people that is considered my generation that were born before 1980. There are people from my generation that are the descendants from my great grandfather's eldest brother that are older than my parents. If you take just my parents' immediate family, then there are 15 people in my generation, a rather small amount considering I have 7 aunts and uncles on both sides of the family. Of the 15 I rank as the fourth oldest. The youngest was born in 1999. And there were two born in 1980. My cousin Andy was born in June, and my cousin Ada was born in January, exactly five years before I was born. Now she is an osteopathic physician who is taking some time off to take care of her three kids, and also keeping a blog featuring her husband (an anesthesiologist) sleeping.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1981

We have now begun the fourth decade through the annals of Best Animated Short. And so far I have reviewed all but one of the nominees. Since we are going backwards we have arrived at the year 1981, a year that I seem to remember being as pretty tumultuous, not that I was alive for any of it.

The year began on a rather high note, as 52 American hostages were freed after being held for well over a year in Iran. This happened just as Ronald Reagan was being sworn in as President in the US. However, only two months later Reagan is shot by an insane murderous psycho who was hopelessly in lust with Jodie Foster. Thankfully, emergency medical care was much improved since the James Garfield assassination 100 years earlier and Reagan survived. The Space Shuttle program launched in April when Columbia lifted off, but only after three workers died from asphyxiation during a test run. The first reports of a strange form of pneumonia immunocompromised homosexual men came out. The disease would later be classified as Acquired Immuno Deficiency Syndrome. 114 people were killed when a walkway collapsed in the Hyatt Regency in Kansas City. Egyptian president Anwar Sadat was assassinated in October. He wasn't as lucky as Reagen. And two months later 900 civilians were killed by the El Salvadore army during the Salvadorian Civil War. And MTV is unleashed upon unsuspecting viewers of cable television. On the brighter side of things, Sandra Day O'Connor becomes the first female justice of the Supreme Court. And Prince Charles marries Lady Diana Spencer for the largest royal wedding until 30 years later.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

Ranking the Oscar Nominated Shorts: 1982-1991

Well, we have gotten through the third decade of reviewing Oscar nominated shorts. And you know what that means, don't you? It means G-men! To be shot down like a...okay, I guess we're getting ahead of ourselves. Actually, it's time for yet another super special awesome post where I rank the nominated films in the ten year period we just finished, just like what I did for 1992-2001 and 2002-2011. Anyways, I just think it's fun, even if you'll probably disagree with almost all of the list.

So the era we just finished established a record for fewest nominations in a ten year period, one that may never be broken. After all, the rules state that the minimum number of nominees in a year is three. Even if less than three meet the scoring minimum, they just take the three films with the best average score and name them the nominees. So I don't believe it's possible that there would be a year with only two nominees, like Best Makeup did in 2002 or Best Original Song did this past year. (Embarrassing.) Every single year in this ten year period had exactly three nominees, so there were exactly 30 nominees to rank. And I'm able to rank them all, because this was the first ten-year period where I was able to watch all of the nominees. And how do they rank? Let's get started and find out.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1982

Well, we have finally reached the 30 year mark. Sure it's taken us almost six months, and part of that time was spent at a rate of two reviews a week, but we're making our way slowly but surely. At this rate we'll probably be looking at finishing less than a year from now! Huzzah!

So it's kind of hard to believe that 1982 is thirty years ago. I mean, it was before I was born, but not much earlier. There are people that I went to high school with born in 1982. Sure, they were juniors or seniors when I was a freshman, but that still doesn't change the fact that, well, I'm getting old. And yet I'm still watching animated shorts and reading comics like "Amelia Rules." But you know what? There's no shame in that! Especially since all of these has much better storytelling and entertainment value than some of the more "adult" things out there!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1983

In recent entries we have moved into the era where I've had infantile amnesia, and now we're all the way out to the years preceding my birth. That's why these introductions have been less my anecdotes and more an overview of what happened that year. Normally I can come up with a few items off the top of my head, but 1983 is such a non-descript year for me (other than the fact that a couple of my good friends were born this year) that I just can't think of anything. So it's off to Wikipedia I go. Hmm. Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie is arrested in South America. Bjorn Borg retires from tennis. The last episode of M*A*S*H airs to great ratings. The EPA evacuates Times Beach, MO for dioxin contamination. Nintendo's Famicom (short for Family Computer) launches in Japan. Those are interesting news items, I suppose.

Maybe I should stick with the things I know without having to look stuff up: baseball and the Oscars.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1984

Whew. It feels as though we got through some harrowing times, what with the special countdown post. It would be easy to say that it would also be because of my second COMLEX board exam, which happened the day before, but in reality I'm writing these posts far before they actually go up. For example, right now I am writing this on June 24, three weeks before my board exam. So I can't really use that as a reason why I'm so mentally drained, but I did finish that countdown post earlier today, and I just power-washed my parent's driveway, so I guess I do have a reason to be exhausted. Nevertheless, we must press on!

Saturday, July 14, 2012

The List: Top 5 Animated Nuclear Explosions (NSFW)

One thing that I like to do is making lists, especially ranked lists. Countdowns are one of the joys in my life. Well, one thing I can do on this blog is make countdowns based on topics in animation. I've already been doing some of this through my rankings of my favorite Oscar nominated films every ten years, and I'll do things on other animation-related topics from time to time. And this first one is something that had been bouncing around in my head since I saw The Big Snit for the first time back in 2007: the top five animated atomic explosions.

And yes, in case you hadn't seen it before, NSFW means Not Safe For Work. Even though these next scenes are animated, there are still images that are quite graphic. You have been warned.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1985

And we have now arrived at 1985, the year of my birth. Now I'm sure anybody would be biased towards their year of birth, but I do think 1985 was something special. For example, it was the year of "We are the World" and the Live Aid concerts, which raised millions of aid for the famine in Ethiopia. The NES launched in October, lifting console gaming from the Atari Crash and making it the profitable industry it is today. Calvin and Hobbes debuts in newspapers, beginning a 10-year run where they become an integral part of pop culture. And that was the year the Kansas City Royals, the team I grew up watching, ended years of playoff futility by winning the World Series.

Yeah, there were a few dark sides of 1985. There was the New Coke fiasco. There was the hijacking of TWA flight 847, which resulted in only one death, and the crash of Japan Airlines flight 123, which resulted in 520. And the Royals have gone on an even longer 27-year streak where they never even made the post-season. Nevertheless, 1985 was a pretty good year.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1986

We are now at 1986, which was a fairly interesting year, although most of the major events were tragedies. It began with a literal bang with the Challenger disaster, which killed six astronauts and a schoolteacher in their prime. Then in April came the Chernobyl disaster, the worst nuclear accident in history, and one that still resonates in popular culture 26 years later. Thousands were killed in Cameroon in August as Lake Nyos released a large cloud of carbon dioxide. It was an up and down year for Boston sports. Roger Clemens put his stamp in baseball history for the first time with his 20-strikeout game, and then the Celtics won the NBA finals. And then they went on to draft Maryland basketball star Len Bias, seemingly ensuring a Celtics dynasty. Yet it all came crashing down only two days later when Bias died from a fatal cardiac arrhythmia after trying cocaine for the first time. The Red Sox seemed to make up for the tragedy by getting only one out away from their first World Series since 1918, but then Bob Stanley allowed the game-tying run with a wild pitch (or a passed ball depending on who you want to believe), and then the game-winning run scored when an over-eager Bill Buckner rushed to field a grounder so quickly that the intertia closed the glove, letting the ball slip between his legs.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1987

Well, here we are in our 25th review! On one hand I'm thinking, "Yey! We're at 25 reviews already!" On the other hand, we've been doing this since February. With only 25 reviews in four months, it'll take a long time before I finally finish. Oh well. I'm liking this one review / week pace. I don't foresee myself doing it any faster again, especially with board studying coming up. Plus, it should give me more time to get those last seven shorts I am missing. Although it'll be hard with one still locked up in Disney vaults, this time without a Prometheus-like director to release it to the public, and another one considered lost. But I'll still do my best.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

'Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day' Jigsaw Puzzle

The year was 1968. Walt Disney Studios was in a bit of a funk when it came to the category that they had dominated over 30 years ago. Between 1954 and 1967, they received eight nominations in the Best Animated Short category, but Disney could do nothing but watch as films from other studios and later independent studios took home the Oscar. They had not won since Toot, Whistle, Plunk, and Boom won in 1953. They hadn't even been nominated since A Symposium of Popular Songs in 1962. And it had been two years since Disney himself had died from complications of lung cancer in 1966. Yet before he died he oversaw productions of three final projects: The Jungle Book, The Happiest Millionaire, and Winnie the Pooh and the Blustery Day. The latter was the second film based off of A.A. Milne's classic Winnie the Pooh series, following Winnie the Pooh and the Honey Tree in 1966. Blustery Day saw the introduction of the energetic Tigger, and the re-introduction of Pooh's very best friend Piglet. It also featured a half dozen wonderful songs from Richard and Robert Sherman. And when the Academy Awards came around in early 1969, Blustery Day beat out a NFB film, a Murakami-Wolf film, and a Hubley film for the Oscar. Disney was credited posthumously with the win for being the executive producer. It was his 22nd Oscar win, a record which may never be broken, and his final one.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1988

1988 was one of the more significant years in the turbulent decade of my birth. It was the year of the Bush/Dukakis presidential race, the year Soviet Russia begins its perestroika movement that will eventually contribute to the fall of the USSR. Lee Teng-Hui and Benezir Bhutto come into power in Taiwan and Pakistan respectively. US Surgeon General C. Everett Koop releases the groundbreaking report that nicotine is addictive, which may or may not (probably not) have led to tobacco giant Philip Morris buying Kraft Foods. And Pan Am Flight 103 explodes over Lockerbie, Scotland, killing 270, all victims of terrorism.

In the sports world, the Summer and Winter Olympics were held in Seoul and Calgary respectively. Kirk Gibson, who was almost essentially lame after injuring both lower extremities, hits a backdoor slider off of Dennis Eckersley blowing the minds of Jack Buck and Vin Scully. In the film world, Rain Man was the surprise box office champ, and was later the Oscar champ, taking home four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Dustin Hoffman. Dangerous Liaisons and the live action/animation hybrid Who Framed Roger Rabbit were big winners as well.

Yet the most significant race may have been the with the animated shorts.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1989

Ah, we have reached 1989. Not only are we at a new decade, but as a popular xkcd comic noted, we have arrived at a year which is closer to the moon landing than it is to present day. Then again, the first year of the Best Animated Short category (1932) is now closer to the birth of Old Hoss Radbourn* than it is to the present day. Beyond the fact that most people born in 1989 would now be finishing college, it was also a rather significant year in animation history, as it was the year that marked the beginning of the Disney Renaissance.

*Charles Gardner "Old Hoss" Radbourn was the earliest born of all 300-game winning pitchers in baseball, having been born in 1854. He began his career with the Providence Grays in 1881, and three years later won 59 games in one year, a record which may never be broken. He was also the first person to be photographed giving the finger back in 1886. He won his 300th game on June 2, 1891 and died in 1897 from neurosyphilis. Yet his spirit lives on - as snarky as ever - on Twitter.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1990

This going backwards thing certainly makes for some interesting dynamics. We're now at the first year of the 1990s, which happens to be our last year in this decade. After that we'll be going into the 1980s and 1970s and so on. The 1990s were certainly a meaningful decade for me. It was the decade where I spent most of my formative years, since I was going on five when the decade started and going on 15 when it ended. I've thought about doing some sort of a retrospective write-up of the 1990s where I'd rank each year by how good it was, along with some special memories. But I've been too lazy to get it started, and I'm sure nobody would want to read it. So I'll just be reviewing the Oscar nominated animated shorts instead.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Randy Johnson's 300th Win - 3rd Anniversary

And now for something completely different.

My other interests besides animation is baseball, and one of my favorite things about baseball is keeping track of pitcher wins, even though that has become one of the most useless stats. In addition to following the baseball scores every night, I also make sure to pay attention to the winning and losing pitchers so I can follow their career record, as they make the long and often futile trek to the most glamorous and also most elusive of the pitching milestones: 300 wins. Well today is the 3rd anniversary of the last time any pitcher reached the 300th win milestone, and I had the opportunity to be present and witness baseball history. This would be something nice that any baseball fan would enjoy, but it was extra special for me because I had been a die-hard fan of the 300-win milestone since 2005. I obsessed over the moment for around a year afterwards, collecting as much memorabilia from the milestone as I can (including the crown jewel: a game-used baseball), and watched the game enough times to remember every single play (although never to the point where I recall every pitch.) The furor reached a point where I wrote a massive six-part series on my other blog coinciding with the 6-month and 12-month anniversary. The fascination has died down since then, and I don't feel like writing another 80,000 words anymore. However, on this the third anniversary, I would like to share my posts about the milestone from back in 2009-2010.

Part I: The Introduction
Part II: The Player
Part III: The Set-up
Part IV: The Rainout
Part V: The Game
Part VI: The Aftermath 

Pictures from the big day after the cut.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1991

So one thing about writing these reviews is that they take a lot of time to write. Before starting this project I wrote a couple of reviews for the nominees for the current year, but it never really registered how long they take, as I wrote them only once a year. When I started this project it became clear that I underestimated how long it would take to write these reviews. In the beginning a review of five nominees was taking me a good three hours. This includes the time it takes to watch a short to jog my memory of it and writing the review. Now it's taking me five to six hours. I'm spending a lot more time per short, and I don't even think the quality is getting any better. (Of course if I had any regular readers, which I don't, I might be able to get some feedback, *hint hint*)

However, hopefully things will be getting better. After all, we have left the era of five nominees and entering into the Golden Age of Three Nominees. In the 20 years between 1992-2011, five nominees were the norm. There were only two years where there were fewer than five nominees: 1996 and 2000. Conversely, in the 27 years between 1965-1991, three nominees were the norm. There were only four years with more than three nominees: 1968, 1974, 1975, and 1977. I went over the rules for this category as it currently stands in an earlier post. It states that any three to five films that fulfill a certain score criteria gets a nomination. I have no idea why there is this disparity in the number of nominees. Was there a rule change sometime between the 1991 Oscars and the 1992 Oscars, one that changed the number of nominees (with exceptions) or one that changed the score limit? Did people just grade harder? Unfortunately I hadn't been able to find the answer, as I can't find the Academy Award rules from back then.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Ranking the Oscar nominated shorts: 1992-2001

Back in March, after I completed the reviews of the Oscar nominated shorts from 2002-2011, I wrote a special post ranking the nominated films in those years by personal preference. That turned out to be one of my favorite posts, since it was fun going over all of the nominated films in making the ranks, and I just like making ranked lists. It was so much fun that I've decided to make one of these ranked lists once every ten reviews. Since I just completed my 20th review, I will now present my rankings of the films nominated between 1992-2001, which were the 61st - 70th time that the Best Animated Short award was presented.

For the most part there were five nominees per year in these ten years. The only exceptions came in 1996, when there were only four nominees, and 2000 when there were only three. That makes for 47 total nominees, three short of the 50 that were nominated between 2002-2011. And there was one film that Disney had locked up in their underground vaults guarded by Cerberus for 15 years, but one courageous man had risked life and limb to bring Redux Riding Hood to animation audiences everywhere. While director Steve Moore will probably end up chained to a rock having his liver eaten by an eagle every day, his contributions will never be forgotten by me, as it allows me to rank all 47 nominees!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1992

We have finally gotten to the 20th set of nominated shorts! That means there's another 60 more to go! That's not too exciting, actually. What is more exciting is that it's the 20th anniversary of all things 1992. Fasten your seat belts. We're going to take a trip down memory lane.

1992 was a whirlwind year in my life. It was the year that I turned seven. I was at the stage where I was able to have some pretty vivid memories, but very few that withstands the effects of 20 years of neuronal reconstruction. More importantly, it was the year that I moved from California to Kansas. I've lived in five states in my life. Michigan was where I was born, and where I lived until 1989. We still go there frequently because of family. Virginia is where I lived the longest - I've lived there since 1999 - and it's where my family still lives. I've been in Texas since 2009 for school. Kansas was where I spent the majority of my childhood (1992-1999), and it is where I have the fondest memories. That leaves California as kind my forgotten home. I lived in Pleasanton from 1989-1992: I was too young and it was too distant to have any lasting memories. Or so I thought.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Best Animated Short Make-up Review - Redux Riding Hood (1997)

So if you're one of the two people that have been following my blog since I started it, you should know that in the 19 years that I've reviewed, there are two films that I haven't seen. And they both happen to be from Disney. One was Lorenzo, the 2004 film about a pompous cat whose tail comes to life thanks to some witchery. And the other is Redux Riding Hood, the 1997 film that serves as like an afterstory to the Little Red Riding Hood fairy tale. Both films were nominated for the Oscar, but neither film won. After the losses, Disney had shelved the films and they have not been found online or on DVD releases for years, with only a guest appearance at a festival with Oscar-nominated animated shorts. Lorenzo is still MIA, but after 15 years under lock and key, Redux Riding Hood is finally available online. I wrote about the film back when I did the 1997 reviews, but now that I have finally seen it, I might as well do a full review.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Non-nominated Highlight: Oink (1993)

Well, as I like to point out (and have been kind of proving with the ability to embed or link to 74 of the 92 nominees between 1993-2011), many of the nominated short films are readily available online. However, there are those handful of films that are impossible to find online. I've still managed to find many of them on videotapes or DVDs with many other short films. I usually like to watch the other shorts, because they may be more interesting than the ones that were actually nominated. Nowhere is this more evident than in this film, the next entry into our series of great short films that were not nominated. (Although to be honest I did link to three other great films that were not nominated since the last entry. See if you can find them.)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1993

Our journey in reviewing the Oscar nominated animated shorts has taken me to 1993 Oscars. This was the first time I remember watching any parts of the Oscar ceremony. Before I get into that story, let me first clarify something. The Oscars are an annual thing, so there will have to be a way to designate which ceremony you are talking about. There are generally three ways to do so. The first way is to do the official title, which counts the ceremonies using the 1927-28 one as the first one. So for example one we are reviewing is the 66th annual Academy Awards while the one that just passed is the 85th annual Academy Awards. I don't like this method because it is annoying and requires a lot of math. An alternative method is to do it by year, but even then there are two ways to do so. One is to do it by the year of the ceremony, so in this case would be the ceremony from 1994. The other is to do it by the year the movies they were celebrating came out. So this would be the 1993 Oscars, since the films that were nominated had their release in 1993. This is the way I do it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1994

Whee! We're at 1994! Whenever I think of 1994 I always it as the year my youngest sister was born. And now she is 18, about ready to graduate from high school, and starting to complain about how old she is getting to be. (If I had posted the articles at the original intended rate of two a week, I might have been able to post this closer to her birthday.) But in my heart she will always be my baby sister. Awwww. 1994 was also the year that my middle sister received a box of Topps 1994 cards, the ones with my favorite font. I used to sneak over and "borrow" a pack. I ended up opening more packs of those cards than she did. Finally, 1994 was the year of one of the most epic Best Picture lineups in history. Seriously, any lineup that includes Forrest Gump, Pulp Fiction, and The Shawshank Redemption is one to be reckoned with.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1995

1995 was a milestone year of sorts in my Oscar history. It was the year that I first became aware of the Oscars. Oh, before then I knew there was an award show that celebrated the movies, but I didn't know what films won or were nominated until well after the fact. 1995 was the year when I first learned the nominees (at least some of them) BEFORE the ceremony. Okay, it was only one film, which was Apollo 13, which I saw in theaters the year before, but still I cared enough about its Best Picture chances that I wanted to watch the show. I ended up watching just enough to see Apollo 13 lose Best Visual Effects to Babe, and Hank Aaron: Chasing the Dream lose Best Documentary Feature to Anne Frank Remembered. I can't remember why I stopped watching, but it wasn't until the next day that I found out Apollo 13 lost to Braveheart.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1996

The year was 1996. That year saw an event that happened only a handful of times before, and has yet to happen since. From our review of the rules for the Shorts categories we know that the number of nominees can range from 3 - 5, based on how many of the shortlisted films achieve a certain benchmark. It's easier to get three and five nominees. If three or fewer films reach the benchmark score, then the top three films will be nominated. If five or more films reach the benchmark, then the top five films will receive nominations. The only way there can be four nominees is if exactly four films reach the statistical benchmark, no more, no less. That might explain why there have been 35 years with three nominees and 31 years with five nominees, but only nine years with four nominees.*

*Back in the early days of the category they didn't seem to have any limits on the number of nominees, so there were two years with six nominees, two year with seven nominees, and one year with a whopping ten nominees. That's going to be a fun review to write. -_-

Thursday, April 19, 2012

The Nominated Shorts of 1997-2011: Where Can I Watch Them?

So I've had a lot of people (well, just one) ask me how exactly they can watch these Oscar nominated shorts that I've been writing about. I suppose it's an important question since I keep saying how these films are worth watching, but then do nothing to tell you how to watch them, posting films that were not nominated for Best Animated Short instead, like The Cat Piano and Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square (although the latter was nominated for Best Documentary Short.) I was initially loath to post them for fear of copyright issues, but then I realized that as long as I'm not uploading them myself I suppose there's nothing wrong with linking to videos that others have posted. Then I just got But now that I'm desperate for page views I figure I might as well stop procrastinating and actually get to posting the films, now that I've accumulated 15 years worth of nominees that I've reviewed.

Here's the deal. Most of the films are readily available on YouTube, which is probably one reason why I've been too lazy to post any videos. I assumed that you people would be like me and actively search out the videos. However, if I'm going to post about these videos I might as well take it all the way and post them here in the blog. After all, what else would this be good for? So if a video is available online I'd link to it or embed it if possible. And many of the videos are available for a little bit before getting taken down by the companies, so I'd only link to a video if it's been up for over a year. (Except in the case of The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, which was posted two months ago, but by somebody I am pretty sure is related to Moonbot. And even if not, there's a Vimeo link I know is from Moonbot that I can link to. So no big deal.) And if it's not available, I will mention where you may find it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1997

Ah, we have now arrived at the year of the very first Oscar ceremony that I had watched, the one transformed me into an Oscar maniac. The ceremony was held on March 23, 1998. At the time I knew the Oscars were the major film awards, and I had watched parts of the ceremony from 1993 (when Deborah Kerr received an Honorary Oscar) and 1995 (when Babe won Best Visual Effects and Anne Frank Remembered won Best Documentary Feature). However, I didn't pay attention to it and didn't even know they were being held that night until I came downstairs and saw it playing on the TV. I came down around just as the show was starting, catching parts of Billy Crystal's opening movie when he inserts himself into the Best Picture nominees. It didn't mean much to me, since the only Best Picture nominee that I knew of was Titanic, which I hadn't seen since I elected to stay home when my family went to watch it. Still, even though I wasn't invested in any of the nominees, I decided to stay and watch the ceremony.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Documentary Short Highlight - Sunrise Over Tiananmen Square (1998)

Ah, the Best Documentary Short category. Of the three short film categories, it seems like this one is the one that is most frequently overlooked. At least it's the one I always overlook, especially now since I am so biased towards the Animated Short category. I can look back at the nominees and even winners from the years since I started following the Oscars and be like, "What? I never heard of this before." However, by ignoring this category I am missing out. One thing we learned about the short categories from looking over the rules back in the 2000 review was that animated documentaries can qualify for either the Best Animated Short category or the Best Documentary Short category. If you're too lazy to look it up yourself, the rule reads: "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." That is how When Life Departs was nominated for the Best Animated Short category in 1998, because the makers submitted it in that category.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1998

We have arrived to the wonderful year of 1998, currently my favorite year for reasons that are beyond this blog. That was the year that I became a fan of the Oscars. I'll go into more detail about this in the next entry, but suffice it to say I was hooked after watching the ceremony in March. I committed the list of Best Picture winners to memory, and would spent the next several months watching as many of them that I can. So when the nominations were announced in January, I was all over it. Of course, at the time I was all over the Best Picture category, and that was where I focused most of my attention. That was the year Saving Private Ryan burst onto the scene, showing that there was still hope for the summer blockbuster. I saw it on its re-release after the nominations were announced and that was who I was rooting for, but even then I had heard about the Weinstein Machine, and knew nobody could top Shakespeare in Love.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Best Animated Short - 1999

We've now reached the 1990s in our Best Animated Short journey. I remember this as being the year when I first took notice of this category before the ceremony, although not necessarily in a good way. 1999 was the height of Pokemania, and I was caught in the middle. I played the games (although the only games were Red, Blue, and Yellow) and devoured the anime. I was well aware that the first movie was coming out in September, as the Japanese version was my favorite movie at the time. I convinced my mom to take me to a showing on its premiere, even though it was a Wednesday. Needless to say, I was deeply disappointed by the quality of the dub. Not only did the translation dumb down the story, it inserted pointless errors (i.e. Team Rocket calling a Scyther an Alakazam), and had pretty insipid voice acting. It was the moment that not only contributed to the cooling of my Pokemon Fever, but also destroyed my faith in dubs in general. There was one thing that I didn't find so bad: Pikachu's Summer Vacation, the short film that played before the feature.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Best Animated Short - 2000

Well, we've reached the final year of the second millennium, or the first year of the third millennium, depending on your stance on these definitions. At any rate, this year's Oscar race started out to be quite special, as the Chinese film 臥虎藏龍 (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon) earned ten nominations, including Best Picture.  Yet it ended up kind of a downer. While it won four Academy Awards in the end, including Best Foreign Language Film (the first for a Chinese film), it lost out on the two top prizes. Losing Best Picture was not entirely unexpected, but losing the Best Director award was a bit more crushing. 李安 (Ang Lee) won the DGA award, which should have made him a front-runner. Instead he became only the sixth person in 50 years to win the DGA and lose the Oscar. He would eventually win the Oscar in 2005 for Brokeback Mountain, but it would have been better to see him win for a Chinese film.

Anyways, enough of that tangent. This is supposed to be about Best Animated Short. There was something quite different about the race in this category, although this difference was once quite common. What is this difference? Well, there was only three nominees. It was the first time in nine years that happened, and it hasn't happened since. So why was there only three nominees? Well, it would be helpful to review the rules for the short film categories as stated on the Academy Awards website.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Best Animated Short - 2001

So we've come to the ceremony ten years ago. This was the year that Lord of the Rings made a splash onto the scene, leading people to wonder whether or not this would finally overcome the Academy's bias against science fiction or fantasy films that cost Star Wars a Best Picture Oscar. (In the end, it wasn't.) This was also the first year of the Best Animated Feature Oscar, which Shrek pulled off the win over Monsters Inc. But it wasn't a total loss for Monsters Inc., as it helped end Randy Newman's streak of nominations without a first win at 16, when he won for his song "If I Didn't Have You." (The record is now at 20, held by sound mixer Kevin O'Connell). And then there's the Best Animated Short category. This was the first year when I became aware of the nominees of the year. Before then the nominees had always been nameless art-house independent films that I never really cared about, and that the popular stuff never gets nominated (more about that in a later entry). Then a few days before the Oscars, I went to IGN and saw this article showcasing the Oscar nominated animated shorts. They seemed interesting, but I wouldn't watch them for another five years, except for one of the nominees which I saw later that summer.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ranking the Oscar nominated shorts: 2002-2011

Well, lets pause and take a break here. I've reviewed ten years worth of Oscar-nominated animated shorts, and since the history of this category can be broken down into eight ten-year blocks, we should pause and take a look back every ten years. And how would I look back? Well, I like making ranked lists, so I figure why not rank the films by how much I liked them? There have been a total of fifty nominated shorts, meaning that there was five nominees every year. It's the second time in a ten year stretch that has happened, and the first one was 2001-2010. I've seen 49 of the 50 nominees, so it's a good time to reflect on the shorts that I just saw.

And remember, this is solely by how much I liked the short. There are excellent films that rank low because it didn't click with me, and mediocre shorts that rank highly because I have terrible tastes.

NULL: Lorenzo (2004)
It's the film Disney refuses to release, a fact that still drives me absolutely nuts.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Best Animated Short - 2002

We have come to 2002. In many ways this was the most memorable Oscar ceremony, even more so than 1997, the first one I saw. It's got Michael Moore blasting the Bush administration while accepting the Best Documentary Feature Oscar for Bowling for Columbine. It's got Eminem winning the Best Original Song Oscar for Lose Yourself in 8 Mile without even performing it. It's got Adrien Brody laying one on Halle Berry after becoming the youngest Best Actor winner for The Pianist. Most importantly, it featured the one award that made me forever loyal to the Academy Awards: Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi (aka Spirited Away) winning Best Animated Feature.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Best Animated Short - 2003

Welcome to my review of the Oscar nominated animated short films from 2003. So we are in 2003. The big news this year was that The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King won all 11 nominations, thus tying it with Ben-Hur and Titanic for the films with the most awards. (West Side Story could have been on the list if only it had won Best Adapted Screenplay over Judgment at Nuremberg . :() I remember posting the results on Nintendo NSider after the awards. I'm pretty certain I included the Animated Short award, but I glossed over it as I didn't care about the award back then. How things have changed.