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Academy Award Talkback; RANGO and MORRIS LESSMORE win

UPDATE #1: The Oscar for Best Animated Feature was awarded to RANGO.

Accepting the award, Verbinski said, “Someone asked me if this film was for kids. I don’t know, but it was certainly created by a bunch of grown-ups acting like children.”


UPDATE #2: The Oscar for Best Animated Short was awarded to The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg (Moonbot Studios).

Joyce and Oldenburg seemed genuinely surprised at winning the honor. Joyce told the crowd “Look, we’re just these two swamp rats from Louisiana. We love the movies more than anything… and there are thousands of men and women, from the beginning of cinema, who inspire us. Everything we do everyday is to honor those people and those films. This is incredibly grand.”

In case you forgot, here were the results of Cartoon Brew’s Oscar Survey.
Read Cartoon Brew’s interviews with the five nominees of the Best Animated Short category. Congratulations to the winners and nominees.

Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis (Wild Life)

Enrico Casarosa (La Luna)

Grant Orchard (A Morning Stroll)

Patrick Doyon (Sunday)

Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg (The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore)

  • Jorge Garrido

    Chris Rock is a great comedian, but the reason he finds voice acting easy is because he’s NOT GOOD AT IT. He just plays himself.

    A comedian giving the animation awards. From one ghetto to another.

    I hope this doesn’t make a trend of live action directors directing animated films.

    • Deaniac

      “A comedian giving the animation awards. From one ghetto to another.”

      Well, that wasn’t racist at all!

      • DJM

        Seems like your reply was pretty racist as well.

      • Matt

        “A comedian giving the animation awards. From one ghetto to another” is not whatsoever racist in ANY way.

        Jorge was referring to the fact that both comedy and animation take a back seat at the prestigious award show. Thus, “Comedy” is the first ghetto, and “Animation” is the second ghetto.

        The comment had nothing to do with the fact that Chris Rock is black.

      • Felix


    • A Painter

      Ghetto? you mad? Animation Studios give these actors millions to show up to work in PJs and say a few lines. He was on the money

      • Jorge Garrido

        Or work ON The PJ’s! /obscureeddiemurphyjoke /alsonotracist

    • Scarabim

      “A comedian giving the animation awards. From one ghetto to another.”

      Oh, I don’t know. Could have been worse.

      Could have been the Muppets.

      • Mike Russo

        How would that be worse?

    • Angie

      “From one ghetto to another”? Are you serious?!? What a horrible thing to say.

      • Matt

        You… missed my comment ^^

      • Angie

        ghet·to/ˈgetō/Noun: 1.A part of a city, esp. a slum area, occupied by a minority group or groups.
        2.The Jewish quarter in a city: “the Warsaw Ghetto”.

      • Matt

        Yes. So, when looking metaphorically at “The Academy Awards” as a CITY, then the categories of “Comedy” and “Animation” become the two ghettos of that city. Comedians and animators are the minorities, while actors and actresses in more dramatic films are the majority of the population.

        The comment STILL has nothing to do with the fact that Chris Rock is black, and is not offensive to anyone in way.

      • Zz

        Those who see racism in the ghetto comment are the same type who took offence to Crystal’s impersonation of Sammy Davis Jr. (calling it “blackface”): http://bit.ly/waFEng

        Just another PC symptom of the post Obama race preoccupation. “Bringing people together” – HAH!

      • Jennifer

        @ Zz – you’re right. Giving out the best animation award at the oscars is like a sane person at born again revival!

    • Brandon

      Oprah Winfrey said on Twitter that she agrees with Chris Rock’s comments about voice acting.

  • Pieter

    I’m just happy Panda didn’t win. Although I still feel that award should be Tintin’s.

    Hated Rock’s speech as well btw…

  • Lib

    Whoever didn’t see Rango’s award coming, is completely clueless about the Oscars.

  • Chris Rock did a great job putting a huge jab at animation studios that hire big name actors for voices instead of people who are professionals. Apparently instead of hiring a talented figure for cheap you can hire a big name who just makes funny sounds for millions.

    At least I think it’s criticism. Either way, he’s a riot.

    • messy

      The big name actors ARE professionals. That’s why they’re “big name.”

      • Funkybat

        Licensed plumbers are also “professionals,” but that doesn’t mean they are qualified to fix your car.

        Big name actors (more often than not) are indeed professionals in the field of live-action acting, but being to top-notch voice actor is another animal. It’s the same way some people are suited to stage acting but can’t cut it on film, or vice-versa.

        The major motion pictures rely on veteran voice talent for some of the supporting roles, but almost all of the primary and secondary characters are usually marquee “names” because the honchos think that’s the only way to guarantee box office success.

        I will say that most of the Pixar films seem to have great voice performances from primarily live-action actors, though that may have a lot to do with the voice directors on those films and close attention from the director himself.

  • What happened to the animated short award? What the heck? Chris Rock couldn’t put that down, too?

  • Congratulations to William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg for winning for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore! It was well deserved!

    • Scarabim

      Completely agree! A well-deserved honor for a delightful cartoon!

      • mj

        yes yes yes! hippity hop – a well deserved short indeed if I do say so myself! Three cheers old chaps! Hip hip!

    • daniel

      The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore in my opinion was one of the worst preachy ill-animated short films I’ve ever seen in my life!! I have no idea how this won over the other short films in this category!

      The story structure was horrible and unclear, The story itself was very one dimensional and had a pretentious shallow theme strung along to it, the animation was unbelievable, had no character, and just was unappealing.. I could go on for days!!

      .. just my two cents!

  • lola

    Apparently Fantastic Flying Books won over La Luna. Ugh, I don’t know how I feel about that one…

    • John

      la luna wasn’t that great in my opinion, even though I know pixar can do waay better. i think the fantastic flying books one is also well deserved

    • GhaleonQ

      Bad for Tilby and Forbis, surely.

      • Lib

        I liked all the shortfilms, but Flying Books was probably my least favorite one as well. There was something about that film, perhaps the conventional look, or maybe a story that was trying too hard to move the audience at every turn. Many of its scenes felt specifically designed to produce a particular response on the viewer, rather than being there for more organic reasons.

        Still, it was a good film, and the Humpty Dumpty book alone made it worth watching.

      • Doug

        Of all the shorts I saw that were nominated this was my least favorite. Wild Life seemed to fly by, Lessmore seemed to drag. I was disappointed in this result.

    • Lucious Parker

      The Academy likes books. Books are good. Animated films about books are even better because children like animation and might read more. Give the vote to the book film.

  • JMatte

    First off, congrats to all the nominee! Congrats to Rango (very well deserved) and the whole crew who worked on it. You guys rocked! May this open the door to more quirky animated films.
    Congrats to the Moonbot crew too!
    NFB peeps, I was rooting for ya. Still thrilled that there were 2 nominees this year.

  • Old Man Father Time

    Okay, Chris Rock. Yeah, you can walk into the booth, record what the director tells you, and walk out. That does last very quickly. The rest of an animated film requires the lives of hundreds dedicated to producing visuals and sounds for hours and hours and hours. I can see that is funny, but I wasn’t laughing.

    So The Fantastic Flying Books Of Mr. Morris Lessmore won Best Animated Short. It’s well-deserved.

  • Edwin Austin

    Congrats to Bill Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg for “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” this short had the most heart of all of the films up for the award, a great pick.

  • Hurray, for Louisiana’s burgeoning animation community!

    • Hoganilly

      Hooray for the NorCal animation community, too. I hear the ILM folks loved doing Rango and want to do more like it. The Artist was the only major film made in LA.

  • Matt

    This years Oscars were fairly predictable, but in a good way, and with what I feel where very justified award winners.

    A big congrats to Mr Bill Joyce, Brandon Oldenburg and the folks & MoonBot! The NFB dames rocked too!
    And Rango, if any 3D-CGI film had to win this year, at least I’m glad it was you.

    Other big congrats go out to Mr Bret McKenzie for
    A) being awesome &
    B) representing New Zealand!

    And to all the folks behind “The Artist”

    Now let’s all get DRUNK! YAY!

    • It was a great night; Rango wins best animated film, the Artist wins best picture and Hugo wins five awards. Too bad Drive and Take Shelter weren’t taken more seriously.

  • Toonio

    Good for Rango, less gore and more Verbisnki FTW!

    And for FFB I could never sit through the whole thing. The first half was awesome but after that my interest went flat line. Anyways, seems I’ll have to sit through out the whole thing to see what I missed.

    La Luna is still intriguing me, but since I couldn’t find a legal on-line site to watch it, I didn’t care anymore.

    • Only have to wait six more months, then it’ll come out with Brave. It’ll be well worth the wait.

  • Matthew Koh

    Will their Oscar put Moonbot Studios on the map?

    • I’m hoping the win will allow them to keep making more films that meld into the form of animated books. Both the film and the book app are well, fantastic. Incorporating animation into the budding e-book market is a wonderful and interesting new way to push the medium of animation and I can’t wait to see more.

  • Congrats to the good folk who worked on “Rango” and “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” Both are terrific productions and a testament to the power of the animation medium.

    And the Muppets finally got an Oscar!

  • Tony McCarson

    “Rango” wins! Three Cheers! :)

  • A Painter

    I bet their blowing crap up at Pixar lmao. They don’t know what’s happening over there.I like it tho. Feels good when Pixar doesnt win EVERYTHING. let others shine.

    • That’s seven losses in a row for them in the Best Animated Short category. Oh well, they have their six Oscars in Best Animated Feature to cheer them up.

  • A Painter

    Why is everyone hating on Chris Rock? Seems to me like he hurt a few feelings on Cartoon Brew. It’s just jokes and the sad part is he is true. Why so sensitive my fellow animators? lol

    • Matt

      I think the hurt feelings come from the fact that, while his jokes were true (any yes, funny)… the casual viewers at home who don’t know anything about behind-the-scenes get the impression that animated films “are so EASY to make! Just pop in, do my thing, and voila!!” The average viewer probably doesn’t differentiate between “Chris Rock is just the voice for Marty” and “Chris Rock IS Marty.”

      I would love for the Oscars to, one year, explain more about the process of how the big name actors are then translated into characters through the rest of the pipeline.

    • Tim Hodge

      I think Mr. Rock forgot that he and Eddie Murphy are not the only African American actors voicing animated characters (And that Eddie Murphy also played a dragon in Mulan):
      James Earl Jones – Mufasa
      Robert Guillaume – Rafiki
      Whoopie Goldberg – Shenzi, Stretch (from “Toy Story 3”), Fantasy (Pagemaster)
      Over half the cast of “Princess & the Frog”, including Oprah Winfrey
      Michael Clarke Duncan – Cmdr Vashir in KFP, and Tug in “Brother Bear”
      Ving Rhames – Cobra Bubbles in “Lilo & Stich”


      • Funkybat

        Phil Morris as Dr. Sweet in Disney’s “Atlantis.”

        Scatman Crothers in “The Aristocats”, and Jazz in the 80s “Transformers” movie.

      • Old Man Father Time

        Wasn’t the voice of King Louie from The Jungle Book black?

      • Tim Hodge

        Actually, no. Louis Prima, who voiced King Louie was indeed white.

      • James E. Parten

        Yes, Louis Prima was white–an Italian-American, to be more precise. But he was also from New Orleans. It would be easy, and proper, to assume that he had been exposed to lots of black music and culture in his younger days in the Crescent City. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to grow up in N’Awlins and NOT be exposed to Afro-American music and culture–and it shows in Prima’s whole act, as any record collector would tell you.

      • Tim Hodge

        Oh, and I totally blanked on Rock’s Madagascar co-stars Jada Pinkett Smith who was Gloria the hippo, and Cedric the Entertainer, who played Maurice the Lemur.

  • Charles

    go MOONBOT! LOVED the short! and I loved Rango! Congrats to all the nominees this year and here’s to the next great year of films! :)

  • Some Guy

    I watched that Flying Books short last week, and knew it would get that Oscar.

  • Roberto

    I like that part of Verbinski’s speech.”Somebody” asked him if the movie was for children—-That’s good cause it means it does have some adult undertones.

    “I don’t know”—That’s good cause he doesn’t say that’s clearly for children.

    “But it certainly was created by a group of adult men acting like children”—That’s good cause it means they had fun creating it.

    No wonder “Rango” had some of the Looney Tunes spirit in it. Maybe I’m analyzing too much…but everything in that line sounds good to me.

    Please, Hollywood, make more animated films like this one.

    Also, congrats to Morris Lessmore, that was very well deserved too. Really fine short. I watched it here on Cartoon Brew and I loved the story and quite liked the animation.

  • Tedzey

    Meh. I thought the award should have went to Kung fu panda 2. But congrats to Rango, the first legitimate nicktoons movie (not the first, but the closest to the spirit of the cartoons).

  • Roberto

    I’m also a big fan of the Panda, but the lost parents plot is kind of a cliche for hero stories, just as much as the first movie was the “underdog becomes a hero” concept this one used this other Bambi/Lion King/Star Wars thingy that’s not super original.

    That’s why I think Kung Fu Panda is done a little more with the kids in mind than Rango. Since it’s a family film they use this “familiar” subjects. But nobody wants to see the same morals over and over again, not even kids.

    Now, the characters, visuals, pacing and humor in both KFP 1 and 2 are FANTASTIC, if they managed to find a more original story for the third sequel (if they do one) then it could be just 100% perfect and even better than Rango (which, at some points, is a little too quirky for its own good, as Lasseter would say, but I prefer this quirky imperfection to lack of originality).

  • Jumpman

    Great quotes from both winners. Congratulations to everyone that worked on those films.

  • Howefitz

    I have to say a HUGE congratulations to Moonbot!!! I really hope that they continue making films this inspiring!!
    As for Rango? I ABSOLUTELY loved this film and felt it deserved the award, if for no other reason than it looks and feels different than your typical animated film. So the film lover in me truly enjoyed it. That being said, I am also a parent of small children and found some of the imagery disturbing, and I was distracted by thoughts of ‘How much am I damaging my children right now?’ while I watched it. This isn’t necessarily a criticism, I guess to this point there has been a different expectation set by seeing the label ‘Nickelodeon’ on a movie. (Don’t go all Ren & Stimpy on me, guys. In my opinion Nick has changed since then, and I just wasn’t expecting what I saw in Rango.)
    At any rate, congrats to ALL the nominees! Here’s to great animation in the future!
    Oh, and for my two cents, I was rooting for Puss In Boots. It was the first film in the ‘Shrek’ series that felt like it’s own story and not just a dig at Disney.

  • messy

    A rare event. I agree with the academy. The right films won. I really liked [i]La Luna[/i], but [i]’Flying Books”[/i] was the best thing Joyce ever did in his entire professional life. I’d forgotten that [i]Rango[/i] was even nominated, but it was by far the most original and entertaining.

  • Brad Constantine

    Congrats to all of the winners!! Well Done!

  • Is it true that the winners for Best Animated Short are two Pixar ex-employees? If that’s true, I find myself amazed how two ex-Pixar exployees beat Pixar itself!

  • Dave O.

    I feel like everyone is overlooking the truth in Chris Rock’s funny statement about race.

    When white guys do voice-over work, the possibilities seem endless but when guys of color do voice-over work, they seem relegated to the sidelines. The clearest-cut example of this is THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG where Disney had a problem with a Black male price so they up and made him Latino or something instead.

    But anyway… kudos to RANGO! It truly was the best animated film I saw last year. Wholly original in the way that shifts paradigms. Fun too!

    • andreas Wessel-Therhorn

      ludicrous. there was no problem about a black prince. and since a black guy wrote a lot of the script, i wouldn’t just go and call things racist when they are not

  • Matt Sullivan

    Rango had to win. It had no real competition. Although, I was secretly hoping the hand-drawn Cat in Paris would win. I’m just tired of motion capture films being called “animation”. Bleah.

    • Is Rango “motion captured”?, I don’t think so… :-/

    • Andrew

      I’m weary of motion capture as well (in stylized animated films), but you do know Rango isn’t motion capture right? Everyone just seems to thing its mocap ever since video came out of the actors performing on set and Gore Verbinski uttered the phrase “emotion capture” (a fancy term for “video reference,” which is nothing new).

    • optimist

      Did you really see all the nominees?

    • There is no motion capture in “Rango.” Every character was key-framed all the way.

      Here’s a tweet from animation supervisor Hal Hickel as proff: https://twitter.com/#!/halhickel/status/161857165009747968

    • Old Man Father Time

      Rango is NOT MOTION-CAPTURED. They recorded the actors in scenes, and the animators used the footage AS GUIDES when animating the characters- they didn’t even trace.

    • James E. Parten

      Ah, the mournful cry of the under-employed animator! As I’ve said before, Motion-Capture is nothing more than high-tech rotoscopy, and should be considered to be just as legitimate a technique as rotoscopy.

      • Ed Thompson

        Ok, it’s just as legitimate. Before Tin-Tin, I hadn’t seen big name mo-cap film that the director WANTED to be included in the animation category, and cannot ever remember a rotoscoped film where that technique didn’t scream “cost cutting”, but if you want to lump the techniques together, go ahead.

  • Barney Miller

    Wild Life was my favorite short. Thought Morris was ok, but especially surprised that the two events that inspired Morris, Hurricane Katrina and the passing of Mr.Joyce’s daughter, were not mentioned in his speech. Maybe he was just nervous after winning such a huge award.

  • Glowworm

    I watched the Fantastic Flying Books yesterday after seeing a charming little snippet of it on the Sunday Morning news. I thought it was amazing and was very pleased that it won. Also, I was pleased that Rango won as I was pleasantly surprised at how gritty it was when I first saw it in theaters.

  • J.M.Walter

    I like the fact that Flying Books is like the equivalent in animation of The Artist the other big winner of the night. These two films smacked the big budget filled with expensive stars movies in their faces and called out for a new beginning in cinema.

    Less Jeffrey Katzenberg from the 90s more Walt Disney from the 40s

    • Jon H

      Flying Books “smacked the big budget filled with expensive stars movies in their faces?” It easily looked like the most expensive film nominated, Pixar’s included, and William Joyce is a pretty big “star” in the humble world of animation.

      That said I am really excited to see this new studio get its due, Lessmore was my least favorite of the films nominated but I honestly did like them all and I can’t wait to see what else Moonbot has in store.

  • I’m happy Gore Verbinski has an Oscar. He makes weird movies. They’re not always good, but they’re always interesting to look at and they’re hardly ever dull.

  • E. Nygma

    Both “Flying Books” and “Rango” Effin deserved to win!

    Chris rock says voicing animation is easy because he doesn’t give a crap about animation or what he is doing…just does it for the money. Any studio that hires him is stupid as well because they are hiring somebody based on fame who doesn’t give a crap about the hard work everyone put into the film. You mine as well flush the whole crap film down the toilet…you heard me Madagascar 1-3.

    Listen to the voice work in animation where people give a damn and put real feeling and emotion into it…it is a far cry from Chris rocks “vocal talent”. Vocal talent is something people craft. Chris rock just talks like himself and people pay him for that….that isn’t talent.

  • MG

    Scatman Crothers and Philip Michael Thomas in “Coonskin.” Just sayin’.

  • Mark Sonntag

    Personally I didn’t like Rango as a movie, it wasn’t bad I just didn’t care about the characters. But man, it sure looked great and I did like the surreal feeling of the film. Kudos, because it wasn’t trying to be PIXAR. Well deserved for breaking new stylistic ground.

  • Mark McD

    I was quite happy for Rango, being as it was a throwback to the mythic westerns with the endless parade of pop culture movie riffs. I also liked KFP2, mainly because the original kung fu movies it riffed on weren’t well known to American audiences. And any cartoon without a character farting or getting smacked in the groin as a joke gets my vote.

    Though I would have truly loved to see one of the two foreign films get a surprise nod, I can at least hope that the nominations will mean they will be viewable. Heck, I was able to buy the DVD of “Secret of Kells” at Target.

    “Cars 2” is the one Pixar movie I didn’t bother to see in theatres. I think Pixar knew it was just a corporate directed cash-in, and they expect to make up for it big-time this year.

  • I loved Rango, and was glad it won. Great look, great motion, top voices. Not only for kids.

    Plot-wise, I also loved it the first time I saw it — when it was called Chinatown.