Wallace and Gromit in "The Wrong Trousers" (1993).
Wallace and Gromit in “The Wrong Trousers” (1993).

Aardman Animation’s breakthrough stop-motion series about a cheese-loving inventor and his genius dog gets the Hollywood restoration it deserves — right before its clever sheep comes calling stateside.

On Friday, August 7, Wallace and Gromit’s four beloved shorts, restored by Aardman and the Academy Film Archive, make their world premiere at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences in Beverly Hills. Tickets to “Wallace and Gromit Restored,” part of AMPAS’s annual Marc Davis Celebration of Animation, cost between $3-5. The event will also feature a discussion about the production of the shorts with Aardman co-founder Dave Sproxton and Wallace & Gromit cinematographer Dave Alex Riddett. (Wallace and Gromit creator Nick Park, who is currently directing the Aardman feature Early Man, will sadly be absent from the event.)

Nick Park animating a scene of Wallace and Gromit.
Nick Park animating a scene of Wallace and Gromit.

We’ll see if those good vibrations can continue to spread when Aardman’s similarly smart and cheeky Shaun the Sheep Movie, based on the stop-motion series of the same name, arrives in American theaters earlier that same week. Like Wallace and Gromit, Shaun the Sheep manages to charm both kids and adults with a string of accessible but intelligent gags that demand, and reward, the kind of patience that Americans might be running out of, as more hyperkinetic franchises take over the multiplexes.

Wallace and Gromit’s Hollywood bow-down starts with the 1990 sci-fi goof that introduced the pair — A Grand Day Out — a film that took its director Nick Park six years to make. It earned an Oscar nomination for Park, who won instead for his other nominated short that year, the hilarious and sobering Creature Comforts. That film will be followed with restorations of The Wrong Trousers (1993) and A Close Shave (1995), both of which won Park Oscars — as well as Park’s fourth short, A Matter of Loaf and Death, which followed his duo’s first big-screen outing Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit.

An encore matinee screening of the restored films will take place on Sunday, August 9, followed by a stop-motion workshop for children between the ages of 8 and 13. Details on that event found on the Academy website. We’ll report if this Wallace & Gromit love spreads out to screenings of Shaun the Sheep Movie.

For those who can’t make the screening, here’s an Australian TV profile of Nick Park from the mid-Nineties: