Is anyone surprised that Persepolis wasn’t nominated for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar? No foreign animated film submitted by its home country has ever been nominated in this category.
And its interesting to note that Persepolis wasn’t even the first animated nominee from France. In 1953 France submitted Jean Image’s Johnny The Giant Killer. In 1975 Belgium submitted Tarzoon, Shame Of The Jungle.
For the record, here’s a complete run down of previous animated films submitted to the Best Foreign Film category:
None of them made it. Most of these entries were submitted in the years before the Academy recognized animated features. Unlike some of my colleagues, I’m grateful the Academy’s Best Animated Feature category exists. With the exception of Beauty And The Beast, the organization has failed, time and again, to recognize the art. The industry simply does not consider animation in the same league with live action. Eliminating the Animated Feature Oscar will not change how Academy voters consider animation. Having that award at least brings us to the table.
To some the Best Animated Feature category may be a “ghetto”, but ultimately it’s up to us to raise the consciousness amongst the filmmakers, the Academy and the public.
Reader Jim Engel wrote in to let me know that Kohl’s department stores are having a charity fundraiser where for $5. you can purchase for a limited time, several exclusive Dr. Seuss character plush dolls (from Horton Hatches The Egg, Yertle The Turtle, Hop on Pop, and Fox In Socks) that look pretty good to me. Profit from the sale of these items will support health and educational opportunities for children nationwide. You can even purchase them online. Sounds like a deal!
Circulating amongst the animation blogs this past week was a very shortlist of possible nominees in the Animation Short Film category. HereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s what Academy members may be considering:
Even Pigeons Go To Heaven(Meme Les Pigeons Vont Au Paradis) (Samuel Tourneux) Animated in CG, tells the story of an elderly man who gets a sneak peak at the hereafter by a con-man minister. Funny. Link
How To Hook Up Your Home Theatre (Disney, Kevin Deters and Stevie Wermers-Skelton) Hilarious traditional hand drawn Goofy short. They nailed it! Link
I Met The Walrus (Josh Raskin) A 1969 recording of John Lennon animated with stream-of-consciousness graphics creates a powerful anti-war message, still painfully relevant. Link
Jeu (NFB, Georges Schwizgebel) A beautiful abstract moving painting. This one should be running continuously at the Museum of Modern Art. Link
Madame Tutli-Putli (NFB, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski) Incredible stop-mo. A surreal head trip. Great filmmaking – how did they do those eyes? Link
My Love(Moya Lyubov) (Alexander Petrov) Magnificent painting on glass technique and a beautiful visualization of first love. Trailer
The Pearce Sisters (Aardman, Luis Cook) Dark, macabre humor with an incredible mix of 2D design and 3D animation. Link
Peter And The Wolf (Breakthru Films, Suzie Templeton) Charming, modern retelling of the Russian classic with edgy stop-mo puppets and realistic settings. Link
All seem Oscar-worthy to me. The final five nominees will be announced January 22nd. Good Luck to all!
Apparently you can purchase a hardcover copy of my book Pink Panther: The Ultimate Guide on Amazon.com for one copper penny (plus $3.99 shipping). Now you have no excuse not to own the only book with double page spreads on Hoot Kloot, Crazylegs Crane and The Blue Racer!
I’ve been going ga-ga over the Disney and Pixar Little Golden Books for several years now. Jenny Lerew tipped us off to the new Ratatouille tie-in several weeks ago. I couldn’t find it on sale anywhere (I still use Amazon as a last resort), but loyal-friend-of-Brew Dana Gabbard just sent me a copy and now I’m recommending it to everyone. Pixar and Disney have opted to illustrate Little Golden Books for their current features in the classic style of the 1950s Golden Book artists. This new book, an adaptation of the Pixar 2D short Your Friend The Rat, which was itself an homage to Ward Kimball’s Disneyland educational TV shows, is brilliantly conceived by writer Jim Capobianco and designer Nate Wragg (both of Pixar) and illustrated by ten of Pixar’s finest (including Teddy Newton, Jeff Pidgeon, Scott Morse, et al). Twenty-four pages of artistic genius (including the sheet music for the short’s theme song, Plan B) for only $2.99. This may be the first Little Golden Book worthy of setting on your coffee table next to The Art Of The Incredibles and Cartoon Modern! Here’s the link.
Here’s a shout out to my friend Karl Cohen and all the volunteers at ASIFA-San Francisco, who have unveiled a redesigned website today. Now it’s even easier to find out about events and screenings in the Bay Area. And the eight pages of links are a great resource filmmakers and animation buffs.
The ultimate Looney Tunes collectible, the historic Bob Clampett studio on Seward Street in Hollywood, is for sale.
I don’t know the whole history of the building, but in addition to being the home base for the animated Beany & Cecil show, it’s where Klasky Csupo got its start, the Tracey Ullman Show Simpson’s bumpers were created and first episodes of The Simpsons produced. Several post production companies have used the space over the years, and daughter Ruth is currently running Clampett Studio Collections on the second floor.
And it’s where Bob had his incredible memorabilia-filled office, where he welcomed fans like me in to chat about the great Warner Bros. cartoons of the ’30s and ’40s. The building has been the family for over 40 years and holds many great memories. I hope it ends up in good hands.
Dayton Allen, Tom Morrison, Lionel Wilson, Doug Moye, Allen Swift… these are a few of the performers known to voice characters in Terrytoons. Now add Jo Miller to the list of those who lent their talents, anonymously, behind the mike for producer Paul Terry.
Through my Cartoon Research website, I was recently contacted by a woman, Debbi Rigdon, who wanted information on an obscure one-shot Terrytoon, A Wolf’s Tale (1944). Upon inquiring why, Ms. Rigdon replied, as follows:
My grandmother’s name was Jo Miller Frackman (Stage name Jo Miller) and in A Wolf’s Tale, she did the voices of Little Red Riding Hood and the (Mae West style) Granny. My mother was hoping to get the cartoon while my grandmother was still alive (she suffered from Alzheimer’s the last 9 years of her life) but got it shortly after her passing.
I’m attaching a picture of my grandmother from around 1940. Living in New Rochelle, Grandmother was the client of furrier, Paul Terry, who asked her to do the voices for his cartoon project. As far as we know, it was her only one. My mother told me how exciting it was when the family went to the theater to see the cartoon premiere and she was allowed to stay up, LOL! My grandmother was also a comedienne and came in 2nd place the contest auditions for the voice of Betty Boop, when she was 17.
Paul Terry, a furrier? What’s that about?
From what I understand, Mr. Terry was a furrier and my grandparents were both friends and clients. My grandfather was a prominent Jeweler in New York and, as was common with the times, discouraged my grandmother’s career after they married. So aside from performing for some troops and doing a few vaudeville acts, there were few achievements later. She passed away January 1999 at the age of 94.
So now we know. Thanks to Ms. Rigdon (and the internet) we have another piece of the giant jigsaw puzzle of researching animation history. A Wolf’s Tale was a color remake of a black and white 1938 Terrytoon The Wolf’s Side Of The Story, which featured a different actress doing the voices. Below is an excerpt from the 1944 remake featuring Ms. Frackman’s performance:
The current film Juno is one of the smartest, sweetest and funniest films now playing. The icing on the cake is the hand made cut-out style animated opening titles (thankfully at the beginning of the film, where they belong) that really set the tone.
They were created by L.A.’s Shadowplay Studios. Studio founders Gareth Smith and Michael Horowitz specialize in mixed media — check out their short film This Guy Is Falling (2000). And check out Juno when you get a chance.