For best animated feature film we have:
- "Bolt" (Walt Disney), Chris Williams and Byron Howard
- "Kung Fu Panda" (DreamWorks Animation, Distributed by Paramount), John Stevenson and Mark Osborne
- "WALL-E" (Walt Disney), Andrew Stanton
As for WALL-E and Kung Fu Panda, I don't know which one I want to win more. I loved both films--even though it really took me some time to give KFP a chance, I'm really happy I saw it on the "big screen" and have watched it too many times to count once it came out on DVD/iTunes. No matter who wins (even if it's Bolt), I'm happy. Solid choices all around.
I'll also give an honorable mention to Nina Paley's "Sita Sings the Blues." This is a film that should've been nominated, though it was not eligible for various reasons.
On to the Best Animated Short Film category. The nominees are:
- "La Maison en Petits Cubes" A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
- "Lavatory - Lovestory" A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
- "Oktapodi" (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L'ecole de l'image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
- "Presto" (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
- "This Way Up", A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes
"Oktapodi" is one of those films that just showcases the incredible talent coming out of the Gobelins l'ecole de l'image school in France. If I had the cash, I'd definitely go back to school there just for the experience of working with some very gifted students and instructors.
"Presto" is a winner. Another tour de force from Pixar. What more can I say, it's a 3d animated 'Bugs Bunny' cartoon. They got it right.
If you get the chance to see "This Way Up", I highly recommend it. Saw this during last year's "The Animation Show" and laughed myself silly. It's a story about a father and son team of gravediggers who are trying to get a casket to the cemetary. Hilarity ensues!
Again, I admit, I haven't seen "Lavatory - Lovestory" but I did meet the director Konstantin Bronzit back in 2006 at the Ottawa festival. Knowing his previous body of work, and spending some time talking to him, I'll gladly give him the benefit of the doubt and say (sight unseen) that what he's produced deserves to be in the running.
Right now, I'd give the Oscar to "La Maison en Petits Cubes". No matter how good the others are, I think this one is the best. But again, no matter who wins, I'm still happy because the selection is still top notch.
Honorable mentions go out to "Glago's Guest" and "Skhiizein". Two films that were in the running but didn't make it. Still, two excellent films that I think also would have deserved the nomination had they received it.
I heard a rumor that all the nominated shorts are going to be available on iTunes. If so, I'm looking forward to buying the two I don't already have in my collection and also seeing Mr. Bronzit's film for myself.
Kudos to the Academy for a solid group of choices and congratulations to the nominees.