Thursday, November 6, 2014

Top Five Shortlisted, Non-Nominated Films 2009-2013

Earlier this week the Academy announced the shortlist for the animated short Oscar, and that marked the moment when the Best Animated Short race hits into high gear. The shortlist has ten films. Up to five of them will go into history as Oscar nominees, while the rest of the films will be forgotten by all but the most dedicated animation buffs, which is a major pity. I've been following the Best Animated Short race starting at the Shortlist stage since 2009, and there were plenty of films on the shortlist that missed out on a nomination that were worthy. I've already written about the shortlist in some previous posts, but in preparation for the announcement of this year's shortlist, I'm going to write about five films from the previous five shortlists that were most deserving of a nomination. There is going to be a lot of subjectivity, but I hope it will be a good look at some great films that were unfairly denied their chance of Oscar glory.

A note before we get started. I've seen only 24 of the 25 films on the shortlist, which I suppose is a decent total, but I did never did get to find Raul Garcia's The Fall of the House of Usher from the 2012 shortlist, which is a pity. The trailer sure makes it seem like an interesting film.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Best Animated Short - 2014: The Shortlist

Well, today marks an important milestone in the Best Animated Short race: the announcement of the shortlist for nomination. Each year films are qualified through festivals or qualifying runs, and the animation branch of the Academy sit through all of the films and rank them, and the ten highest ranked films make it to the shortlist for a larger branch to review. This year 58 films qualified, and today the Academy had released the ten films that will be moving on to a select screening in December. Eventually anywhere from three to five films would receive a coveted nomination.

Unfortunately, for the second straight year in a row we didn't get a full list of all of the qualifying films, but Cartoon Brew did preview some of the more highly regarded films from the festival circuit, which I previewed earlier. But even that was not foolproof, as two of the shortlisted films were not previewed in the earlier thread. But even still, these are the films that could end up with nominations this year. Let's sit back and preview all of them in more depth, just like what I did in 2012 and 2013.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Best Animated Short 2015 Possible Contenders

Yes, I know I haven't written a post in...three months. (It's been that long already?) That doesn't mean I've gone MIA. I've just been busy with other things. I had some other non-Oscar related animation posts in mind, but I just hadn't had much time to work on it. As a result, I'm afraid I've probably lost whatever readers I did have during this lengthy hiatus. But oh well. It's time to look ahead to the Best Animated Short race for this year.

We're getting to the time when the Academy screens all of the qualified shorts for its voting members to whittle down to the shortlist. Back in 2012 we had the entire list of qualified films as obtained by voter Michael Sporn. Unfortunately, Sporn's tragic passing means we won't have easy access to this list like we did in 2010-2012. Still, the cycle of Best Animated Short will continue, and there will be films in competition for the shortlist.

Luckily for us, we have other animation historians hard at work looking at animation news, including the fellows at Cartoon Brew, where we obtained the longlist from 2010-2012. We don't have the complete list, but editor in chief Amid Amidi has compiled a list of some of the stronger contenders for the award. It's not going to be the complete list, and some on this list may not actually qualify, and I don't necessarily agree with some of his statements in the intro, such as "the category remains among the most obscure of the Oscar categories" or "this is the first-ever attempt by any animation media outlet to highlight the contenders in this Oscar category" (unless he meant this year), but this is the best we have to take a look at the films that we may be focusing on in the next three months.

Get the complete list here, or look at the individual films after the break. (Most are trailers. Some are interviews with the directors. A handful are complete films. Then there's Konstantin Bronzit's We Can't Live Without Cosmos, where we can find nothing as far as videos go.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Best Animated Short Make-Up Review: O Misto na Slunci... (1960)


Yes, it has been over a month since I wrote a post. I bet all of the readers that I had obtained had fallen away. I apologize for the lack of posts, but I underestimated how hard to compare over 300 different films by how much I like them, no matter how subjective the idea seems. I've gotten the top 100 done, but that took hours of watching one film and comparing it with the other, just because there's so much that I kind of forget, and I frankly don't have the time to watch these films over and over again. So yeah, I guess until I find some time to make the rankings, the only posts I would be able to write are certain lists, or with make-up reviews of films that I was missing. And to my surprise, one of them has just become available.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Randy Johnson's 300th Win - 5th Anniversary

Yes, I know I've been away, but just know that I've been working on my subjective rankings of the animated short films. Meanwhile, it's June 4 again, and it's time to celebrate the anniversary a milestone: Randy Johnson's 300th win! Yes, it's been five years since the last time any pitcher hit the 300 win milestone, and it'll be at least another five years before anybody else will challenge it. (Mark Buehrle has been pitching well, and he can get to 300 wins easily if he chooses to keep it up, although it won't be until 2020-2021.) Meanwhile Randy probably isn't celebrating it considering he's currently halfway around the world in Vietnam, but let us celebrate it our way...with tl;dr-length posts!

Part One: The Introduction
Part Two: The Player
Part Three: The Set-Up
Part Four: The Rainout
Part Five: The Game
Part Six: The Aftermath

Third Anniversary Special

Fourth Anniversary Special (300 Game Winners and Their Graves)

Fifth Anniversary Special

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Best Documentary Short Highlights - Man Alive! (1952)

Well, well. Who knew that I still have stuff to review that didn't require me to travel all the way to Miami? As you know there have been a handful of animated shorts that competed in the Best Documentary Short category instead of the more traditional Best Animated Short category that I've spent the past two years reviewing. I've really tried to pick out the ones that were animated, but it's been a challenge since the Best Documentary Short is the ugly stepsister of the short categories, and most of the nominees fade away to obscurity. I've tried searching which of the nominated films had been animated, but there's just been such a dearth of information about each nominee that I really have no idea which ones are animated or not.

Well, as it turned out there was one animated documentary out there. And it was none other than Steve Segal, my old History of Animation professor, that clued me in about it.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Best Animated Short Make-Up Review: This Changing World Volume I Chapter I (aka How War Came) (1941)

So the longtime readers of my blog (all two of you) have probably heard of me talking about the Missing Seven, the seven Oscar nominated films I haven't seen yet. Of course, it hasn't always been the Missing Seven. It was the Missing Two Hundred when I first started trying to watch all of the nominated films back in 2007. Since then I whittled it down to the Missing Ten by the beginning of 2012. Then I watched The Further Adventures of Uncle Sam on February 27, 2012 and it became the Missing Nine. Then the UPA Jolly Frolics DVD came out in late March 2012 and I was able to watch Trees and Jamaica Daddy on March 22, 2012 and it became the Missing Eight. And finally on May 21, 2012, Steve Moore was finally able to release a copy of his infamous film Redux Riding Hood online and it became the Missing Seven. That was almost two whole years ago. And while I was able to locate two of the Missing Seven, I haven't had a chance to acquire a 16mm projector and make a trip down to Miami to watch Hypothese Beta and The Shepherd. I had no idea where to find the other five films, so I was seriously thinking that I may never be get the Missing Seven down to a smaller number. At least...until today.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014


All the top 10 films (by preference) in all eight decades. Now the job is to rank them.

Sunday, March 2, 2014

2013 Oscars Live Blog


Yes, once again I'm going to be live blogging the Oscars, which means another year of dicking around trying to find a working stream while the red carpet show goes on. I would have gone to watch it with somebody that actually has a working TV, but I have to stay home because I'm going to have to get up at 5 tomorrow to see my five patients...and I'm on call tomorrow. *sigh* I liked my original schedule where I would have had tomorrow off.

Oh well. If you need a refresher of the nominees in the most underrated category, you can check here. Of course the one I'm really rooting for the most is for "Let It Go" winning Best Original Song. I would have liked to see Kaze Tachinu win for Best Animated Feature, but clearly that's not going to happen. Oh well. At least Spirited Away won in 2002.

Previous Live Blogs: 2012, 2011, 2009, 2008, 2007

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Jimmy Teruaki Murakami (1933 - 2014)

Well, the animation world is hit by another sad news of the passing of a well respected animator. Earlier today word came out that the first animator of Japanese heritage nominated for the Best Animated Short Oscar has passed away from an undisclosed cause. No, we're not talking about Koji Yamamoto. Instead, we're talking about Murakami Teruaki (村上輝明), better known around the animation world as Jimmy T. Murakami.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Rainbow Dash is Still Awesome

So the teaser trailer for the new Equestria Girls movie is out, making it pretty much official. It's probably going to cause a lot of angst in the pony fandom again, but to be honest I found the first one enjoyable, despite its lazy writing. Rainbow Rocks is probably be more of the same, except with more of Daniel Ingram's catch songs, but I really don't care because the trailer pretty much confirms one thing.

Rainbow Dash will still be awesome.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Best Animated Short - 2013

Well, I've finally done it. I've seen all of the nominees this year for Best Animated Short. Unfortunately, I had to do it by going to one of the showings sponsored by Shorts HD, thanks to the fact Mr Hublot is not yet available online. I probably would have gone anyways even if I was able to get to Mr Hublot in advance, but now everybody else that does film reviews for a living and those with far more insight into film and animation than I do would have their reviews out. I guess the only thing that sets me apart is that I've done reviews on the 81 other years of the category, but I doubt anybody will take care of that.

But anyways here comes my last full review of a set of nominees until next year's nominees. Unless I somehow get a chance to watch The Shepherd and Hypothese Beta or Lorenzo.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Michael Sporn (1946-2014)

It's only been three weeks since the death of Frederic Back, and already we've lost another well-respected Oscar-nominated animator. Michael Sporn, the man behind the Oscar nominated Doctor De Soto and his well respected animation "Splog," has passed away at the age of 64. While Sporn has never won an Oscar, but his works with Weston Woods were a major part of my childhood, and that includes the aforementioned Doctor De Soto. Furthermore, his Splog was a great source of interesting observations into the world of animation from an insider, and often the source of the long-listed animated short films. A cause of death was not mentioned in his obituaries*, although whatever led to it may have explained why we never did get the full longlist this year. Many of his last few posts were related to the work of Miyazaki, including Kaze Tachinu. Regardless, he will be missed.

*Apparently it's pancreatic cancer. Screw pancreatic adenocarcinomas

Here's a good tribute to his work, and Doctor De Soto after the break.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Best Animated Short 2013 - NOMINEES

And then there were five...

So earlier today the Oscar nominees were announced, and that means the lineup for the 82nd annual Best Animated Short contenders are out. Unfortunately I was busy with work earlier in the day so I didn't get a chance to make a post until now, but the five films that will join the annals of Oscar history below:

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Ranking the Oscar Nominated Shorts: 1932-1941

Has it really been almost five months since the last time I posted one of these? Yes, after switching to the q 2 weeks posting schedule, I've had almost as much time pass as when I took the month and a half hiatus between 1972-1981 and 1962-1971. But I guess I just wanted to savor it, because this will be the last time I do one of these things until 2022, if this blog hadn't become abandoned like my other blogs. But you know how this works. I take the films between 1932 and 1941 that I reviewed over the past four months and rank them by how much I enjoy them. Simple as pie. Mmm...I like pie.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Best Animated Short - 1931/1932

Happy New Year, everypony! Hope it's a good one.

Let's kick off 2014 with my 81st - and final - least until the Oscar nominations are announced on January 16, and there's a new set of five films to review*. After that I'll be doing my darndest to attend one of the showings of the nominated shorts and reviewing those. But for now, this marks the end of the reviews that have dominated my life for a whole 22 months.

*My predictions have somewhat changed since I posted about the shortlist almost two months ago. I talked to Steve Segal, the professor of my History of Animation course a year ago. He had attended one of the screenings and had only raves about The Missing Scarf, which certainly looked interested but the design seemed a bit too new for the old-fashioned Academy. However, he described the film as being surprisingly deep, and as we saw from A Morning Stroll two years ago, new fangled technology has never stopped a film from being nominated. So perhaps we will see The Missing Scarf. I've added it to the predictions, replacing Hollow Land. Of course, almost everybody over at Gold Derby is predicting a nomination for Room on the Broom. It may be populist enough to grab a nomination. Eh oh well.