Congratuations to all the nominees, particularly to our friends at Pixar and John Canemaker. This is a fine set of nominees. Here’s my quick take on the films:BADGERED is the “laugh” film. The quickest way to an Oscar nomination (and sometimes a win) is to produce a film that has some big laughs. BADGERED is about a sleepy badger who lives in a mountain that becomes a nuclear missile silo. It’s no more original than an old Barney Bear cartoon, but it’s nicely drawn and very very funny.
THE MOON AND THE SON is Canemakers powerful autobiographical account of his relationship with his father. Strong, absorbing, skillful – and clearly hard for the Academy to ignore.
JASPER MORELLO is an amazing half-hour fantasy “mini-feature” done with some combination of silhouette cut-outs and CG (or for all I know, it’s entirely CG). Beautifully art directed, great Jules Verne-esque story, and produced at very high level of craft.
Shane Acker’s “9” is supposedly a student film produced at UCLA – but it’s an extremely well made, slick, professional piece of science fiction filmmaking. Excellent CG art direction and animation.
ONE MAN BAND is another great Pixar short – as lavish and handsome as any of their feature films, and just as clever. Produced in widescreen CinemaScope, BAND once again shows the range of subject matter and the strong character animation talent the studio is known for.UPDATE: Our friend Steve Segal weighs in on “9”: I attended Shane Acker’s talk at Siggraph and he wasn’t really a student when he made 9. He had already worked on The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as an animator. And I believe he was working at Rhythm & Hues at the time. He had gone to UCLA years ago and went back to take advantage of their equipment. That in no way deminishes his achievement; it is basically a one man operation with the help of some friends (no small feat to compete with Pixar).