Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Congrats to Kunio Kato who won the Oscar last night for his animated short The House of Small Cubes (La Maison en Petits Cubes). He gets bonus points for thanking his pencil in his acceptance speech and also for the funny reference at the end.

Below is Kato’s Oscar-winning short in two parts:



  • Marc Gagnon

    Wow, that was tremendously moving. I’ve seen Kato’s other work, it’s all beautiful stuff, but this definitely deserved the Oscar.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    More people need to appreciate the power of the pencil!

  • Dr. Pepper

    To me it just looks like another dull short with some pretty drawings and sad music.
    Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time one of those has won this award.

  • http://doubleben.blogspot.com Emmett Goodman

    I love this film. Its got a wonderful design, a great concept, and its highly emotional. I was so excited that it won. Its nice for a hand-drawn film to win a big award in such a big overblown-parade like last night.

  • Chris

    “To me it just looks like another dull short with some pretty drawings and sad music. Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time one of those has won this award.”

    Did you try, you know, watching it?

  • http://www.taberanimation.com Taber Dunipace

    What an amazing little short. I don’t often feel like crying while watching films, but this one got me. I’m glad it won!

  • Dave K

    Y’know, not everything has to be chases, fart gags, and violence. I found it a very affecting, emotionally charged piece. It was an inventive, metaphoric way to explore the bittersweet trail of one’s memories. I was pulling for Oktopadi, but after seeing this I’m happy they won. Beautiful work.

  • T

    Indeed great to see a hand drawn 2D film take this award, and one that raises more questions than it answers, to boot. Reminds one that animation is about ideas and talent, not hard drive space nor corporate sponsorship.

  • http://www.superu.ca Melissa

    It is definitely refreshing to see such a beautiful, hand-drawn short take the award. CG stuff can be great, but putting pencil to paper and creating something like this is always impressive.

  • http://doodlin.blogspot.com/ arna

    I love this film. For me it’s layered with meaning. Beautifully drawn.
    The softness of the familar family moments contrast with the terrible metaphor of the waters drowning his world. Goes straight into my heart. Then he toasts his life at the end as well lived. Bravo.

    …in tone this reminds me a bit of Michaël Dudok De Wit’s Father And Daughter.

  • Tim Schuit

    “To me it just looks like another dull short with some pretty drawings and sad music.
    Then again, it wouldn’t be the first time one of those has won this award.”

    Why are you even posting on an animation site?

  • http://checkeredgeekcartoons.blogspot.com Zach Cole

    Wow. I’ve been having a sh***y day today.

    This kind of cheered me up.

    Who has thanked animation and pencils before? And having a sense of humor and not taking yourself too seriously is something I really admire. Especially if they do great work.

    I appreciate this man.

  • http://animationinventory.blogspot.com/ Ajduk Teodor

    i agree.
    very, very dull short with some pretty drawings and sad music.
    much, much, much beter is Lavatory — Lovestory

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com Tom

    When I think about animated shorts, this is the kind of thing I’m thinking about. Experimental, skilled, 2D animation. This is great.

  • BobT

    Glad to see that this one won. I hadn’t seen it, but I had the feeling it was the one that deserved to win the most.

    Interesting that the 3D shorts in this category al relied on a series of gags in some way, while both 2d shorts both told an endearing story.

    I’m not saying one way is better than the other. Just an observation.

  • http://reanimate.ca Chris L

    One of the impressive things about this film is that it really pours it on thick – the dramatic emotional music, the sad lonely shots — and somehow succeeds. In the hands of a less-skilled filmmaker, all that stuff would just come across as cheesy. Great short.

    Still, it’s a shame Shkizein wasn’t nominated. The most creative way of dealing with mental illness that I’ve seen.

  • Matthew

    Very nice, the memories tower parallel is a stroke of genius. Simplicity at its best.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Noticed someone made a mention of “Father and Daughter”, for which I thought of as well when seeing this film. Both films tear at your emotions through the actions of these characters and the lives they live. What makes La Maison en Petits Cubes rather interesting is in it’s set-up and further exploring of this man’s life and how it got to where it is. We may wonder why he is in the state he’s in, but we later find how through the memories that rush through his mind as he ventures further down through the ‘cubes’ of his home.

    The way it is explained to us in a somewhat reverse fashion reminded me a bit of T.R.A.N.S.I.T., a short film from a decade ago that similarly used a concept of telling a story in reverse. While I felt that film confused me a little, La Maison doesn’t put me in the same off-putting mood through the memories of it’s character. We may never know what catastrophic event has changed the lives of many who have lived in this world, but we see how they learned to live with it, and in the case of the old man, he has lived a full life against all odds and deserves to feel he has accomplished many tasks along the road of life.

  • Steve

    This should be a lesson for me to check Cartoon Brew more often – before the video links are taken down. Anyone have a working link?

    On a related note, does anyone remember what year Bugs Bunny presented the animated short award? (superimposed on stage) and who may have animated him? He briefly demonstrated the process of animation. I think it was sometime in the late 80s. The following year, Mickey Mouse was a presenter.

  • Chris D

    The art style and the music of this short reminds me heavily of the DS title, Professor Layton and the Curious Village, which was developed by Level 5 of Japan. The animation for the game was done by P.A. Works (Fullmetal Alchemist: Conqueror of Shamballa, Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex: Solid State Society) and 3D CGI by Production IG.

    You can see a trailer here:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IzzTCSIXXjM

    Overall, I enjoyed this short immensely. I wish I could have watched all the shorts before the Oscars to really getting a feel for this year’s winners.

  • Dave
  • http://bakertoons.blogspot.com/ Charles Brubaker

    YouTube took the video down.

    Thankfully, the entire film is posted on Google Video.

    http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=918072409397842222

  • Paul N

    I’ve seen this film twice, and it was better the second time. I thought every one of the nominees was deserving of the award (not always true), but I’m happy this one won.

  • Dr. Pepper

    To contradict the last comment (which was made out of brief disappointment at Presto and This Way Up losing) , I did like the film, and I thought all the nominees definitely deserved their nominations.

    But I enjoyed the other films more as a whole, and I felt like I could get more of the same enjoyment by re-watching Father and Daughter.

  • http://www.jeva.hu jeva

    if someone says he did not like this short .. does it make him a bad person?? I don’t think so. we are not the same ..

  • http://www.jessica-plummer.com Jessica Plummer

    This was one of my favorite pieces when I went to Ottawa. For being a bunch of “pretty drawings with sad music”, it held my interest and emotion all throughout and I truly enjoyed it. Was really glad to find out this won best animated short!

    Also, totally agree with the title of that video…best Oscar speech ever!

  • Mitch K

    That really was the best speech ever, on so many levels.

  • Chris George

    This film reminded me of the Cat segment of the feature “Allegro Non Troppo”. In that segment, a cat walks around the inside of a house which ends up just being his memories because it was all destroyed by a nuclear(?) bomb.

    It has been awhile since I’ve seen this so I may not remember it correctly.

  • Jason

    Beautiful, and totally deserved the Oscar. Kind of Suprising Oktopodi was nominated tho…

  • Silver

    I discovered Kato from the Diary of Tortov Roddle. If you liked this you should check it out.

  • http://www.cartoonsmart.com Justin

    Thanking his pencil should have gotten a laugh.

  • RODAN

    Well geesh… where can ya go to see this one? Not Youtube, not Google… Where? It doesn’t look like anything that I’d care to see. Still I want to know why it one..and feel I should see it?

    Is it up anywhere on the web?

    if so..someone email me and let me know. Please?
    [email protected]

  • http://nishikataeiga.blogspot.com/ Cathy

    Kato Kunio’s films are available at CrunchyRoll http://www.crunchyroll.com/la-maison-en-petits-cubes