Sorry. No last minute entries from United Artists or Universal – sparing the Academy from screening any DePatie Freleng Blue Racer or Walter Lantz Beary Family cartoons this time around. The Hollywood studio short was dead and buried. That said, the Oscar wasn’t exactly handed to an indie filmmaker from the midwest, the National Film Board of Canada, or some depressing film produced behind the “iron curtain”. It was in fact given to a film produced by veteran Hollywood animator Chuck Jones, and directed by the internationally renown Richard Williams.
Richard Williams’ A Christmas Carol was a game-changer, or maybe I should say a “rules” changer. Not that is wasn’t worthy of an Academy Award, but it was the first time a film made-for-television would win the Oscar for ‘Best Short Subject (Animated Films)’ – and the last. According to Wikipedia: “some industry insiders were so unhappy that a short originally shown on television was given the award, that the Academy changed its policy, disqualifying any future works initially shown on television.”
It was also the last year animation entries could even qualify under “Short Subjects”. The term “Short Subject” had by now become obsolete. Beginning next year it was tweaked – animation would simply fall under the ‘Best Short Films’ heading.
This week: 1972
The actual nominees were:
TUP TUP Nedeljko Dragić (Zagreb Studios) [View]
KAMA SUTRA RIDES AGAIN Bob Godfrey [View]
And the Oscar went to:
A CHRISTMAS CAROL Richard Williams, director. [View]
On March 27th, 1973 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, presenters Beatrice Arthur and Peter Boyle handed the Oscar to director Richard Williams. Here’s the video, below:
And so we continue our ongoing research into what other cartoons were submitted to the Academy for Oscar consideration but failed to make the cut. In 1972, there were only 9 entries. Submitted, screened, but NOT nominated were:
GOOD GRIEF Mike Jittlov (UCLA)
THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN OF SLEEPY HOLLOW Sam Weiss (Bosustow Productions)
THE GIVING TREE Charlie O. Haywood (Bosustow Productions)
THE MAD BAKER Ted Petock
SUPER JOE Dan McRae
Here’s the documentation:
With these posts we ask that you put yourself in their place – which films would you have nominated? Which cartoon should have won? For your edification and viewing pleasure, here are the cartoons the Academy screened which didn’t make the cut. Enjoy the show!
GOOD GRIEF – Mike Jittlov
One of Mike Jittlov’s earliest student films. Perhaps a bit too amateur for an Academy nomination, but you can sense something is there – and Jittlov would be back.
THE HEADLESS HORSEMAN OF SLEEPY HOLLOW – Sam Weiss
I’m not saying Disney made the definitive animated version of The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, but heck, you gotta do better than this low budget, aimed strictly for showings in English classes, version of the tale. John Carradine brings a bit of class to it as narrator. Bill Davis’s drawings are good – but, like last years Bosustow submission Freedom River, his designs seem “mis-cast” for such a dark tale.
THE GIVING TREE – Charlie O. Haywood
Now THIS Bosustow production was worthy of an Oscar nomination. Sensitive adaptation of Shel Siverstein’s classic illustrated book – which has been interpreted in many ways (positively and negatively) by many people and religious groups. Nonetheless the story has become a classic and this animated version, based on Silverstein’s drawings, and with Silverstein himself reading the text, works perfectly. Oscar-snubbed, to be sure!
SUPER JOE – Dan McRae
First of all – if you watch only one cartoon in this post this week, Super Joe is the one to watch. This is a real candidate – not for an Oscar – but to win a slot in my WORST CARTOONS EVER screening next July at Comic Con.
Produced by Al Guest (Rocket Robin Hood), an animation producer, second to Sam Singer, known for his notoriously bad cartoons – and financed by Larry Spangler (producer of “The Joe Nameth Show” and later, a series of blax-ploitation movies in the 1970s). “Super Joe” Nameth was a huge American football star and charismatic actor of the 1960s and early 70s. Why this film was made exactly, I do not know – but its an early production by Patrick Laubert and Michael Hirsh (as Laff Arts, soon to become Nelvana). The film even includes some of the earliest professional work by Frank Nissen and Marv Newland!
This film is hilariously bad – must-see “bad”. I’m grateful to JJ Sedelmaier for digging this up and posting it online exclusively for this post. JJ – You’ve made my day!
(Thanks, J.J. Sedelmaier and Chris Sobieniak)