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.
Well, Oscar night came around, and I sat there to watch as I had done every year since the 1997 ceremony. I had told myself that if Spirited Away loses Best Animated Feature, then I'll turn the TV off and never follow the Oscars again. Cameron Diaz came out to present the first category, which naturally turned out to be Best Animated Feature. She gave a meaningless introduction, saying "Once upon a time, parents took their children to see animated pictures. Today's level of animation had reached such a level of sophistication that the children take their parents." It was laughably nonsensical, but I was too nervous to laugh. She read the nominees (Spirited Away received some applause, which was a good sign), and then..."And the Oscar goes to..." I was under so much pressure at that moment that I could swear that I was giving myself a stroke. When she read "Spirited Away," I breathed a sign of relief and had a smile so wide that my cheeks hurt. My favorite film of all time had now won an Oscar. It was without a doubt my favorite Oscar moment in almost fifteen years of watching the Oscars. With the most important award of the night out of the way, I was able to sit back and enjoy the show. Later my Statistics teacher told me that he was the only person at his Oscar party to predict Spirited Away, since I wouldn't shut up about it.
Sorry, no embedding
I had promised myself that if Spirited Away lost, I would forsake the Oscars, but conversely, if it wins, I will be forever indebted. I learned to shake off other awards I disagreed with by reminding myself that at least Spirited Away won the Oscar. Sure, I may not always be happy (I think of myself like Yao trying to contain his anger while cradled by Chien Po in Mulan), but I get over it. It's Hard Out Here for a Pimp beat In the Deep for Best Original Song? That sucks, but at least Spirited Away won the Oscar. Crash beat Brokeback Mountain for Best Picture? That's nuts, but at least Spirited Away won the Oscar. Tom Hooper beat David Fincher for Best Director? That blows, but at least Spirited Away won the Oscar. A Morning Stroll is likely going to beat Wild Life, The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore, and La Luna? That's no good, but at least Spirited Away won the Oscar.
Whew...Best Animated Short. The presentation of Best Animated Short that year was also quite memorable. That was the year a gorgeous Jennifer Garner presented the award alongside a CGI Mickey Mouse. I've seen animated characters present the award all by themselves, but this is the first time a real celebrity presents alongside an animated character. I always wondered what that would be like for the people watching in the theater. Would Mickey Mouse have been projected as a hologram? Or would they see nothing but hear Wayne Allwine's voice instead? And somebody would have to animated the characters along with all of their jokes, not to mention the voice actors reading the lines. Would they get classified info about the winners beforehand? Or are the voice actors present and reading the lines live? Mystery desu. Anyways, that was a good trip through memory lane. Now it's time to review the films that Jennifer Garner and Mickey Mouse read.
Atama-yama (Mt. Head)
*The Shamisen is the stringed instrument that Hitmonlee and Electabuzz play in Riddle Me This.
Katedra (The Cathedral)
Mike's New Car
Das Rad (Rocks)
I must confess, back when I didn't care about the Best Animated Short category and was spending most of my time worrying about the Best Animated Feature category, I assumed that Mike's New Car would take the prize, just because it's Pixar. Little did I know that Mike's New Car wasn't very good (relatively), and that this would the first year the Academy began scorning Pixar in the Animated Short category. Mike's New Car would be the first of seven consecutive Pixar films that fell short in the shorts category. The Chubbchubbs ended up taking home the Oscar, which was kind of a weird choice. It was an enjoyable film, but I didn't think it was quite as good as Das Rad or even Atama-yama. Yet the Academy went for the studio film over the independent films. I don't agree with it, but I can live with it. After all, Spirited Away won the Oscar! :)
My personal rankings (by quality)
Das Rad > Atama-yama > The Chubbchubbs > Katedra > Mike's New Car
My personal rankings (by preference)
Das Rad > Atama-yama > The Chubbchubbs > Mike's New Car > Katedra