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.