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Award Season Focus

‘Frozen,’ ‘Mr. Hublot’ and ‘Gravity’ Win Animation Oscars

The results are in for the 86th annual Academy Awards. No surprise in the Best Animated Feature category. Frozen won. It’s Disney’s first win in this category in the 13-year history of this category. They had previously been nominated six times (Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, Brother Bear, Bolt, The Princess and the Frog, Wreck-It Ralph).

No surprise in the Best Visual Effects category. Gravity won. It was one of seven awards that the film won.

Huge surprise in the Best Animated Short category. Mr. Hublot won. Get A Horse! was the frontrunner, but there was also talk of Room on the Broom and Feral as being possible contenders. Mr. Hublot wasn’t part of most discussions which made it an unlikely choice. The Luxembourg/France co-production, about a man and his robotic pet, was made by first-time director Laurent Witz and co-directed by Alexandre Espigares. This marks the fifth year in a row that the Academy has awarded the best animated short to a computer animated film.

See: The Art of Mr. Hublot

In the Best Original Song category, Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez won for “Let It Go” in Frozen.

Congratulations to all the winners!
  • Alex Irish

    Congrats to Frozen! A much better win that Brave, that’s for sure

  • I kind of hoped Get A Horse! would win Best Animated Short. It’s okay, though. Frozen got a win, so that’s nice.

  • Derreck Garcia

    Good for the three of them. I’m pretty surprised “Mr. Hublot” won over the heavily favored “Get a Horse!”. But at least i give my congrats to them.

  • Delta

    I saw all the animated short nominees, and “Feral” was probably my personal favorite. (The short-listed “The Missing Scarf” was wonderful though…) However, “Mr. Hublot” had great atmosphere and a gentle pace. “Get a Horse” was boring to me. I thought it could’ve used better slapstick. It doesn’t matter how groundbreaking it looks if the story is lacking. I know it’s all subjective, but I’m happy (and surprised) “Get a Horse” wasn’t the one to take the award. I thought the rest of the shorts were more interesting anyways.

    • Joe

      Same here. I have no idea why The Missing Scarf didn’t even make the final list. It just goes to show how flawed the process is.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I thought it was a toss-up between Frozen and The Wind Rises to win. I’m suprised Get a Horse lost to Mr.Hublot. I’m happy that Frozen won Best Animated Feature & Best Song. Still,I’m disappointed that The Wolf Children wasn’t nominated.

  • Fernando Garcia

    I expected some ticked off Madoka fans to whine…

  • there were actually a lot of practical effects done in gravity – physically puppeting sandra bullock in the spacecraft scenes, shooting the actors underwater, etc. Lighting and camera work for those kind of effects is very technical and challenging….I know we all want animation to be taken more seriously, but that doesn’t mean looking down on cinematographers.

    (plus….the VFX team won too. Nobody’s work is getting ignored here..)

    • Tim

      But it’s not cinematography, it’s effects, and they have an Oscar for that. So I would say the cinematographers who shot other films were ignored.

      • “practical effects” mean “in-camera effects”…meaning the cinematographer has to shoot and light for them.

        • Tim

          I understand, but when 80 percent of the shots in a film have been digitally altered or are just plain digital, it is not cinematography, they are effects shots. The guys who shot the effects for Star Wars did not get a cinematography award, they got a Oscar for Visual Effects. I think a unfortunate precedent has now been set for that particular Oscar category.

  • Michael Howe

    While I was pretty much “Team Disney” all night, I still was happy that Mr Hublot won, though it makes me sad that I didn’t see the 5 animated shorts when they were showing at my local art house a week ago.

    I will admit, ‘I found ‘Get a Horse’ to be amusing, but for recent Disney animated shorts, my heart still belongs to ‘Paperman.’ I always think of it as the animated short I could have made, had I been brave enough to go to California in my youth. Yes…I have regrets.

  • Mike

    I just saw The Wind Rises tonight and can now only express my profound disappointment that such a magnificent film was cast aside for….well, Frozen.

    • Marco_Sensei

      Totally agree on that. Even if you like Frozen, for me The Wind Rise is a much more powerful and profound film.

    • antoine tous

      it is to be expected, after all there is only , like say a 99% chance they didn’t see any other movie if they saw frozen at all , it has disney writen over it so it nust be good type of stuff

      • Cascade-Wvera

        Then explain why most of the Disney films have lost to Pixar every year.

        • antoine tous

          Because they saw both or none at all and went with the popular voice because they heard pixar is amazing and all of that. That’s the cynic version , the regular version is that pixar movie were superior to disney ones , but they missed so many good titles to give it to pixar ones that i don’t care what they think anymore. I am just sad that for a award that is supposed to be given to the best animated film , thay fall short of doing that.

          • Cascade-Wvera

            Hmm… maybe. But I recall Monsters Inc. losing to Shrek, Spirited Away beating Lilo & Stitch/Treasure Planet, and Happy Feet beating Cars.

  • Am I the only one totally unimpressed with Mr. Hublot? Sorry to be so “bah humbug” but everything about it seemed to fit with all the tropes you’d expect from an animated short, like a student film from the early days of CG. The quiet lack of voice-acting. The “man and his dog” storyline. The vaguely steampunk, techno-whimsy aesthetic. The cute, benign tone and plodding pace. And of course, it’s french. Is any of this new? Clearly a lot of time was put into it, but it’s not like it was groundbreaking from a technical perspective either. Some of the textures were so chunky. I thought the central character’s design was very, very tired too. Sorry to see that “Room on the Broom” didn’t make it, and “Get a Horse” was much more impressive and fun for me.

    • Ranting Swede

      The thing that irritated me about Mr Hublot is the fakeout relies on you thinking the absolute worst of Mr Hublot and my reaction is just “Yeah right. You’re not going to go there.” And then The Missing Scarf actually went there, which soured me even more on Mr Hublot.

    • Steve

      I totally agree. It was too long and unclear (especially the beginning). Though it set up interesting premises (struggling with OCD, a dog outgrowing his home), it never resolved any of them. The ending was also very disappointing and left too many questions unanswered.

      I also have no idea why he had numbers counting on his head.

  • Klyph14

    I wouldn’t call Mr. Hubolt’s win a “huge suprise”. The shorts voters almost always favor independent shorts over big studio shorts.

  • akira

    i think a lot of people voted based on the still of hublot. i think it wasn’t even in the top 4. it looked the most like dispicable me so it got votes for cg fans. people who really loved animation were splitting their votes between other better films. i wish i could interview about 50 people that voted for hublot and ask them what happened in it to see if they watched it. i don’t think hublot could even have bested any of the last several years of gobelins fims. oh well at least anime got a nomination. pixar, WHERE ARE YOU?!?!!?

  • Lucky Jim

    The old comments sections for Frozen are really funny. Here’s a good one from when Jennifer Lee was announced as co-director:

    “No experience in directing or animation – just one screenplay to her name – and she had no hand in the story concept and played second fiddle to Phil Johnston on the book.

    WDAS looking for diversity no doubt. A horrible decision. I wonder if we will ever see supervising animators directing again.”

    Congrats to the crews of Frozen and Mr. Hublot. They’re awards well-earned.

  • Mr Tibbs

    Yeah but lets not forget the DP is still the one who’s composing the shots and shaping the light. He’s just working with animators/lighting techs/etc instead of camera operators, gaffers, AC’s and so on.

    The job isn’t that much different

  • The one award that I thought hands down was Gravity’s – production design. I guess last night that meant ‘set art direction’.

  • truteal

    The only reason why Frozen won was because it was made by Disney (if it was made by a less recognizable studio, nobody would care about it)

    • antoine tous

      i guess we can’t expect the academy to see something not made by anglophone…

    • Strong Enough

      what???! smh

  • Mapache

    Also, mocap’d cameras. Those are a thing.

  • Larry Ruppel

    Congratulations to the Mr. Hublot team at Zeilt Productions! It was very touching to see Laurent Witz almost moved to tears during his Oscar acceptance speech. Clearly he was ecstatic beyond belief, as any of us would be in the same situation.

  • JK Riki

    I’m glad Mr. Hublot took home the prize. There were some good films in the Animated Feature category, but it was pretty obvious Frozen was going to win. I personally enjoyed DM2 more, but Frozen was a visual masterpiece in the effects department.

  • daniel thomas

    Yes, that was nice to see, but it also sad that Michael Sporn was overlooked. He created Oscar-nominated short films, so there’s no excuse on the part of the Motion Picture Academy. Oh, well, they were probably too busy working on their next “pizza delivery” bit.

    • Tim

      Michael was not overlooked, he died this year, not last.