CONTRIBUTED BY JAKE THOMPSON
Best Animated Short should be the short film Oscar category that most people should be familiar with due mainly to Disney, Looney Tunes, Popeye, Tom and Jerry, and more recently Pixar. As with the other two short film categories, I was originally not going to include them in my journey through major Oscar snubs (mostly because trying to determine which shorts actually qualified as MAJOR snubs would take weeks, months, perhaps even a year of research). Since I have a deadline (the day the Oscar nominations are announced: January 10, 2013), I cannot present major snubs for the short film categories. I’ve decided, however, to present contenders for the short film categories that were NOT nominated for an Oscar, but could’ve (perhaps should’ve) been. I’m doing this to be fair to the short films and so that I will have covered every current Oscar category. Some of the shorts might be familiar to you; some might not be. Please take a look at these possible contenders.
1980’s Disc Jockey is a black-and-white stop-motion and cut-out animated short directed by Jiri Barta. It tells the story of a day in the life of a disc jockey. He gets up, eats breakfast, drives to work, spins records, then goes home, and takes pills. Barta uses the imagery of circles throughout the film. His animation also invokes the rise of pop art materialism that would later dominate Czechoslovakia (currently the Czech Republic). It’s such a shame that Barta wasn’t nominated for his work here, for he has yet to receive a single Oscar nod.
The actual nominees at the 53rd Academy Awards were:
The Fly – Ferenc Rofusz (*Winner)
All Nothing – Frederick Back
History of the World In Three Minutes Flat – Michael Mills
1982’s Vincent is a black-and-white stop-motion animated short directed by Tim Burton. Narrated by Vincent Price, it tells the tale of a young boy (who bears a resemblance to a young Tim Burton) who pretends to be like Vincent Price, is obsessed with the tales of Edgar Allan Poe, and believes himself to be a tortured artist who has been deprived of the woman he loves. It’s such a shame that Burton wasn’t nominated for his work here. Burton is a one-time nominee (1 Animated Feature nod for 2005’s Corpse Bride).
The actual nominees at the 55th Academy Awards were:
Tango – Zbigniew Rybczyński (*Winner)
The Great Cognito – Will Vinton
The Snowman – Dianne Jackson
1987’s The Cabinet of Jan Svankmajer is a surrealist stop-motion animated short directed by Keith Griffiths and the Quay brothers (Timothy and Stephen). It tells the story of a professorial puppet who gives lessons to a pupil about, among other things, illusions and perspectives, the migration of forms, and animation and filmmaking in this homage to Czech animator Jan Svankmajer. It’s too bad that Griffiths and the Quay brothers weren’t nominated for this film, for they have yet to receive a single Oscar nod.
The actual nominees at the 60th Academy Awards were:
The Man Who Planted Trees – Frederic Back (*Winner)
George and Rosemary – Eunice Macaulay
Your Face – Bill Plympton
1989’s War Story is a stop-motion animated short directed by Peter Lord. It uses a real interview with Bill Perry, a British war veteran, as he relates stories about his youth, his tilted house, and his adventures in Bristol during the blitz in World War II. His stories are animated (as well as him) in order to visualize them for the audience. This animated short also doubles as a documentary short. It’s a shame Lord wasn’t nominated for his work here. Lord is a two-time nominee (2 nods for 1992’s Adam and 1996’s Wat’s Pig).
The actual nominees at the 62nd Academy Awards were:
Balance – Wolfgang & Christoph Lauenstein (*Winner)
The Cow – Aleksandr Petrov
The Hill Farm – Mark Baker
1990’s The Prince and the Pauper is a traditionally hand-drawn animated short directed by George Scribner. Adapted from the Mark Twain novel, this short features Mickey Mouse in a dual role as a peasant and a prince who accidentally meet one day. They decide to exchange identities and lives, unaware that the villainous Captain of the guard is planning to take control of the throne after the King dies. Scribner wasn’t nominated for his work here, and has yet to receive a single Oscar nod.
The actual nominees at the 63rd Academy Awards were:
Creature Comforts – Nick Park (*Winner)
A Grand Day Out – Nick Park
Grasshoppers – Bruno Bozzetto