Well, here it is, my first official entry into the world of blogging. I've had a blog before, but I never used it properly as a blog. I just updated it sporadically with random junk like the Heart-Melters Gallery or my series on Randy Johnson's 300th win. But I never wanted to share anything from my daily life, nor did I have anything that I cared enough about to start a blog. I mean, I created a blog to share stuff about a fictional baseball team, but that never really got off the ground. That was four years ago. However, I have recently contributed a lot of writing about a particular interest of mine: the Best Animated Short category at the Academy Awards. I've been trying to review all of the films and putting it all on Facebook, but you know what? This warrants a blog. So I have joined the blogosphere.
So what is this blog for? Well, it's obviously for my reviews, which I've been doing backwards and have reached year 10 out of 80. But it could also be more than that. I could share some of the lists that I've been tossing around in my head, such as "The 10 Weirdest Oscar Nominated Shorts." I could post shorts that I've enjoyed that may not have been nominated for Best Animated Short but should have, like The Cat Piano. I could even venture out and write something Oscar or animation-related. We shall see.
Anyways, time for the same old spiel that I've given on many of my reviews: Why the Best Animated Short category? It's a short category, and nobody cares for the short category because the nominees are hard to see and the award is impossible to predict. I agree with the latter point and at one time agreed about the former point. There was a time a while back when I couldn't care less about this category for the same reason. I enjoyed animation, but I just couldn't get into this category, since to me it felt as though it awarded only obscure, independent, and foreign animation. Then YouTube changed all of that. In 2006, about a year after the advent of YouTube, I came to realization that a large majority of the Oscar winning animated shorts were available online, and I strived to watch all of the winning films. A year after that, I broadened my scope to focus on the films that were nominated but didn't win. Five years later, I've seen 322 of the 332 nominees, or 97%.
Of course I didn't come close to answering the question. Why am I such a fan of Best Animated Short? Well, for one thing I enjoy the medium of animation, a vast field that includes traditional 2D animation, 3D CGI animation, and stop-motion with clay, mixed media, or even people. The Oscar nominated animated shorts include films covering all of these styles. And it's not just the variety of styles that makes them interesting, but the mix of content. The first 30 years of the category was dominated by studio films: Disney films, MGM films (Tom & Jerry), Warner Bros. films (Looney Tunes, Merrie Melodies), Columbia films, Universal films (Woody the Woodpecker & friends) etc etc etc. The 1960s saw the rise of the foreign and independent films, and that's when things get interesting. You've got comic films from Canada, art-house films from Yugoslavia, adult films from England, avant garde films from Italy etc etc etc. Recent years have seen a balance between studio films and independent films. All of these films are different, and it is these difference that makes it interesting.
Finally, the one thing I like about this category is that it is one of the most accessible categories, which is the opposite of what we once thought of it. You can probably find over half of the nominees on YouTube or some of the other video sharing sites like Vimeo or Youku. And as the name suggests, they're quite short, so you can watch a lot of them in the time it takes to watch a full-length feature. A short film is anything less than 40 minutes, but most of the animated shorts are less than a quarter of that total. To sum it up, the category is interesting and easy to watch. Which is why its become my new favorite category. ^_^