Animation History
November 27, 2017 posted by Jerry Beck

Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award – 1977

EDITOR’S NOTE: A funny thing happened on the way to researching the Oscar nominees for the Animated Short Film in 1976 – The documentation could not be found. At least not yet. We certainly know what the official nominees were and who the winner was that year, but my various sources could not locate the preliminary screening documents – the basis for these posts. So we shall move on, skipping past that year (for the time being).

The list of films submitted and screened in 1976 now joins 1949 and 1950 on my “most wanted” list. These posts are still preliminary research for a larger project – and I will continue to dig into the following years as best I can. Thanks for your understanding. – Jerry Beck

This week: 1977

The nominees were:

THE DOONESBURY SPECIAL John Hubley, Faith Hubley and Garry Trudeau, Producers [View]

JIMMY THE C James Picker, Robert Grossman and Craig Whitaker, Producers [View]

THE BEAD GAME (NFB) Ishu Patel, Producer [View]

And the Oscar went to:

THE SAND CASTLE (NFB) Co Hoedeman, Producer. [View]

It was finally time for The National Film Board of Canada. Despite numerous submissions, nominees (dating back to the 1940s) and even winning the award in other categories (Norman McLaren won for Best Documentary in 1952, for the pixillation film Neighbors), this was their first win for Best Animated Short. And would be the start of a three year streak – winning six total over the next 40 years.

Co Hoedeman’s The Sand Castle was deliberately ambiguous. Is it a children’s film? A metaphor of life on Earth? A comment on human behavior? It’s what you think it is – and the Academy was charmed by its unique style and technique, and perhaps its meaning and depth. It was also certainly a way for the Academy to recognize the incredible body of work coming from the NFB – and send a salute to its creative community.

On April 3rd, 1978 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion, presenters Paul Williams, Jodie Foster and ‘Mickey Mouse’ handed Co Hoedeman the Oscar for Short Film (Animated) for The Sand Castle at the 50th Academy Awards. 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 1977, there were 30 entries. Submitted, screened, but NOT nominated were:

Academy_Award_trophy175ALL, ALL AND ALL*
ANIMATO – Mike Jittlov
CONQUERING THE PAPER MOUNTAIN*
A COSMIC CHRISTMAS
CRUDE – Paul Boyington*
DAVID – Paul Dreissen
DEAD END – Janet Shapiro*
FAT FOUGHT – Norman Marshall*
FIGHT – Marcel Jankovics
THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE – Sam Weiss
FROGGIE WENT A COURTIN’ – Frank Gladstone
ISABELLA AND THE MAGIC BRUSH – Filmfair*
JOSHUA AND THE SHADOW – John Lange
LAFCADIO-THE LION WHO SHOT BACK
LAST OF THE RED HOT DRAGONS – Shamus Culhane
MINDSCAPE – Jacques Drouin
THE LITTLE BROWN BURRO – Paul Freisen
THE MAKING OF A HABIT*
ODE*
PARTY LINE – Karl Krogstad*
RAPID EYE MOVEMENTS – Jeff Carpenter/Mary Lambert
RED ROCK – Marija Diaz*
SOMETHING*
SYMBIOSIS*
VOO DOO CHILE*
LAY LADY LAY*

* Those marked above with an asterisk are films we could not find video or information on. All others are embed below

Here’s the documentation:

With these posts we ask that you put yourself in the place of the nominating committee – which of the films submitted would you have nominated? Which cartoon should have won? For your edification and viewing pleasure, we have found embeds (below) for 12 of the qualified submissions that the Academy screened, but didn’t make the cut.

Enjoy the show!


ANIMATO – Mike Jittlov

I love Mike Jittlov’s fun little films during the 1970s. There were several Jittlov shorts that used the “Animato” umbrella title – one is “Fashionation”, another is “Time Tripper”; There were others. Not sure which one was submitted but here are those two, to give you a taste of Jittlov’s techniques.

 


A COSMIC CHRISTMAS

Nelvana’s first TV Special was a refreshing jolt for those of who caught it in its initial airings (syndicated in the US; airing in December 1977). The story of Christmas – and what happened to it 2000 years hence, in present day – as seen through the eyes of three wise aliens from beyond the stars. This film (and several subsequent follow-ups) put the little Canadian studio on the map – and I’m happy to say A Cosmic Christmas still holds up rather well.


DAVID – Paul Dreissen

I have great admiration for the work of Paul Dreissen, a true animation artist whose unique minimalist style challenges the viewer – particularly in this film – to come up some of the narrative in the mind’s eye.


FIGHT – Marcel Jankovics

This film, like 1974’s Sisyphus, were (according to Giannalberto Bendazzi) “brief animations trying to visualize life itself. A sculptor and his sculpture form and transform – sculpt – each other, until the artist dies.”


THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE – Sam Weiss (Bosustow Prods.)

Based on the story in Eric Carle’s Storybook, Seven Tales by the Brothers Grimm. That’s Hans Conreid (as the Fisherman and the fish) and June Foray (as the wife).


FROGGIE WENT A COURTIN’ – Frank Gladstone

Cute little film by my friend (and Asifa-Hollywood colleague) Frank Gladstone. Made in Miami, Florida.


JOSHUA AND THE SHADOW – John C. Lange

One of several independent films by freelance Hollywood animator John C. Lang, featuring his character “Joshua”.


LAFCADIO-THE LION WHO SHOT BACK – Larry Moyer

Here’s an oddity – apparently beatnik filmmaker Larry Moyer was given a chance to make a film out of this Shel Silverstein story (I think that’s Silverstein’s voice on the soundtrack). No animation. No nomination.


LAST OF THE RED HOT DRAGONS – Shamus Culhane

This is the last of a Noah’s Ark trilogy of TV specials independently produced (with Italian partners) and directed by Shamus Culhane. I don’t see the whole special online, so this clip will have to do.


MINDSCAPE – Jacques Drouin

Alexandre Alexeieff’s pin-screen was sold to the National Film Board of Canada and was used by Jacques Drouin to make several films, including this one, Drouin’s second pin screen work.


THE LITTLE BROWN BURRO – Vic Atkinson

Aka The Little Christmas Burro, this was a TV special about the Nativity produced by Atkinson Film Arts in Canada. Narrated by Lorne Greene, it was a syndicated in December 1978.


RAPID EYE MOVEMENTS – Jeff Carpenter/Mary Lambert

Psychedelic animated film follows a hip celebrity and his underworld lifestyle through casinos, hotel rooms, parties and odd characters. I believe this was a student film out of the Rhode Island School of Design. Co-director Mary Lambert went on to (and continues) a successful career as a music video, documentary, television (Arrow) and feature film (Pet Semetery) director.


The earlier posts in this series: 1948, 1951, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1955, 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, 1965, 1966, 1967, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975.

(Super Special Thanks to Chris Sobieniak)

21 Comments

  • Foray already had covered the ground in the short above, for Jay Ward 18 years earlier, in what was probably the most straightforward of all the “Fractured Fairy Tales”. She used a deeper voice for the fisherman’s wife in that one … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=14fRDlSBzMY

    • Noticed you linked to a version that crops the cartoon considerably. Here’s an un-cropped copy (watch while you can, I suppose)….
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WF5fIONJP3Q

  • Aside from being the third and final special in Culhane’s Noah’s Ark trilogy, THE LAST OF THE RED HOT DRAGONS was also the only one to be outsource to a foreign studio, in this case, Italy’s “Erredia 70”, who previously worked with Culhane on animating the 1970 Christmas special, “The Night The Animals Talked”. I recall the animation in this third outing was far more fluid than the first two the way poses and movements were handled.

    Too bad LAFCADIO THE LION WHO SHOT BACK wasn’t actually animated. Given the run time for this film, perhaps that’s why, still, it would’ve been nice. What we have here is pretty much a “video storybook” (what the 1980’s brought to the fledgling home video market for parents to keep their kids quiet with).

    Fascinating you were able to find RAPID EYE MOVEMENTS, of course the way that video’s titled, I could see why I kept having problems finding it!

  • According to IMDB, Animato was released in 1969. ?

    • I see there’s a release date of 1977. The only think I could speculate is the possibility it might be crediting Jittlov’s earliest short “Good Grief” as it sounds like it was a compilation of his work up to ’77.

    • I put it on there, but thanks 🙂

    • IMDb now credits “Animato” as being a 1977 release, which is correct — and we are absolutely talking about the film that is now called “Fashionation.” I remember seeing it as the World Science Fiction Convention in 1977, where it received such a rapturous reception that they had to show it twice.

  • A very Canadian year. I always had a soft spot for SAND CASTLE because it is so relentlessly cute. Even “the voice of Canada” (during WW2 and beyond) dominates a popular holiday special, even though most Americans know him from BONANZA

  • What could’ve been Nelvana’s first Oscar nod

  • THE SAND CASTLE would be NFB’s first animated win in a threepeat win (SPECIAL DELIVERY and EVERY CHILD we’ll get to later)

  • I didn’t know that THE FISHERMAN AND HIS WIFE and THE LITTLE BROWN BURRO were considered for an Oscar. BURRO has a few Rankin/Bass veterans in it like Bernard Cowan, Paul Soles and Carl Banas.

  • A Cosmic Christmas which is celebrating it’s 40th Anniversary should have been nominated for the Oscar for Best Ankmated Short of 1977. It was one of the most beautifully animated cartoon in 1977 and is still a staple on Canadian television during the Christmas season. I wish they still show this animated spectacular here in the States.

  • Red Rock may have been the work of Marija Dail.

    • I noticed she had a YouTube account or two but didn’t posted any of her earlier work on there yet.

  • Boxoffice magazine, Sept. 20, 1976:
    A $2,500 animation, “Symbiosis,” depicting in fantasy style the eviction of residents from Toronto Island, won a first-prize Owl Award at the recent International Animated Film Festival held in Ottawa. The movie was made independently by three Torontonians who graduated from Sheridan College in Oakville. All three—David Cox, Ken Stephenson and David Campbell—now work for Videoart Productions in this city. The narration was by CFBR announcer Bill McVean. Two minutes and 50 seconds long, “Symbiosis” won in the category of animated films shorter than three minutes.

    Macleans magazine of Sept. 6, 1976 simply said:
    David Cox, an independent film make of Georgetown, Ontario, won first prize in the under-three-minute category with Symbiosis, a whimsical story about a tiny island under attack by machines.

    Yowp

  • Wait, what did Gladstone also do before becoming part of ASIFA?

    • Frank ran a very successful animation studio in Florida, then joined Disney in Orlando and later became an executive at Dreamworks.

  • Also The Bead Game animated by Ishu Patel should of won the Oscar for best animated short of 1977. His unique style of using beads reminded me of some of the Eastern European animated cartoons that used from yarn to shards of broken glass and the soundtrack, outstanding! Using native folk instruments from India like the Tabla,and others. Truly a outstanding animated film.

    • I couldn’t find BG on Oscars’ video above, but I did heard his name on 1984’s (after Charade and Michael Sporn).

  • I remember seeing The Sand Castle with Watership Down back in 1979. It was a very imaginative short,I really loved the design of the characters.

  • Mickey AKA Jimmy McDonald

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