Animation History
January 22, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award – 1984

This week: 1984

The nominees were:

DOCTOR DESOTO Michael Sporn (Weston Woods) [View]

PARADISE Ishu Patel (National Film Board of Canada) [View]

And the Oscar went to:

CHARADE Jon Minnis. [View]

Once again, the Oscar went to ‘the funny film’. And Charade is indeed a very funny film. The other two nominees were also strong, worthy contenders. Michael Sporn’s gently humorous and heartfelt adaptation of a William Steig book is the very model of how to adapt such book to another medium. Ishu Patel’s gorgeous Paradise flaunts its visual virtues, its craft and high style. But ‘funny’ has a way of being long-remembered by Academy voters

On March 25th, 1985, at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion, Jeff Bridges and Ann Reinking presented the Oscar for Short Film (Animated) to Jon Minnis for Charade. 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 1984, there were 39 entries. Submitted, screened, but NOT nominated were:

Academy_Award_trophy175

* Those marked below with an asterisk are films we could not find online video for (All others are embed below):

BRUSH STROKES – Sylvie Fefer
CARICATURES BY ARON KINCAID – Robert Dulad*
CURIOUS GEORGE – John Matthews
FISH AND CHIPS – Susanne and Johan Hagelback
FOOTLIGHTS AND FLATFEET – Tom Whelan and Mark Jiett*
THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM – Tina Jorgensen (Kraty)
J.C. OSCAR AND THE YOLK*
JUMPING – Osamu Tezuka
LIFE IS FLASHING BEFORE YOUR EYES
NOUVEAU RICHES – Wendy Siep and Schlomo Friedman*
QUEEN VICTORIA AND THE INDIANS*
SILAS MARNER – Nicole Gouve*
THE WHITE GAZELLE – Anthony Laudati
ACTING OUT – Al Sens*
AINIJAM – Marv Newland
AUGUSTA MAKES HERSELF BEAUTIFUL – Csaba Varga
A BLACK AND WHITE FILM – Stanislav Sokolov
BOOMTOWN – Valeria Vasileuski
BOOP-BEEP – Howard Beckerman*
THE BREATH OF SETH – Melinda Littlejohn
CAMELEON – Stefan Anastusin
CONNY – Ivan J. Rado*
HELLO – Faith Hubley
HIGH FIDELITY – Robert Abel
THE MAGIC EGG – Eddie Garrick
MARXIANS – Zoran Zovanovic*
MASQUERADE – Gaston Sarault*
MY LITTLE PONY – Tom Griffen and Joe Bacall
PIES – Caroline Leaf
REAL INSIDE – John Weldon and David Vierrail
RECTANGLE & RECTANGLES – Robert Forger
ROBOTS – Cathy Karol
THE ROMANCE OF BETTY BOOP – Bill Melendez
SPOTTING A COW – Paul Driessen
TAKING A LINE FOR A WALK: A HOMAGE TO THE WORK OF PAUL KLEE – Liesliey Keen
YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS – June Foray

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 25 of the qualified submissions that the Academy screened, but didn’t make the cut.

Enjoy the show!


BRUSH STROKES – Sylvie Fefer


CURIOUS GEORGE – John Clark Matthews

Mathhews was an incredible stop motion animator – and incredibly successful. Later works included The Mouse On The Motorcycle and Runaway Ralph.


FISH AND CHIPS – Susanne and Johan Hagelback

I see what they are doing here – and you will too…


THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM – Tina Jorgensen (Kraty)


JUMPING – Osamu Tezuka

One of my favorite Tezuka shorts; an incredible feat of animation.


LIFE IS FLASHING BEFORE YOUR EYES – Vince Collins

I love psychedelic animation – and I like this picture – but it feels like something that should have been made 15 years earlier. That’s probably what the Academy thought too…


THE WHITE GAZELLE – Anthony Laudati

A tribute to Willis O’Brien and Ray Harryhausen…


AINIJAM – Marv Newland

A classic as far as I’m concerned… Mark Kausler, Osamu Tezuka, Guido Manuli, Sally Cruikshank, Paul Vester, Kathy Rose… and a dozen others.


AUGUSTA MAKES HERSELF BEAUTIFUL – Csaba Varga

Clay animation. I remember this being very popular back in the day… haven’t thought of it since until it popped up here.


A BLACK AND WHITE FILM – Stanislav Sokolov

The official synopsis: “The cartoon character is an adult. On the day of his jubilee, he unexpectedly finds children’s photographs. Old pictures come alive and this gives the hero the opportunity to relive the episodes of his childhood.”


BOOMTOWN – Bill Plympton

Lest you think Bill Plympton’s first film was Your Face – the first animation he submitted to the Academy Awards for a possible nomination was Boomtown, which was in fact his first animated film.


THE BREATH OF SETH – Melinda Littlejohn

Bill Littlejohn and Barrie Nelson help Melinda make this film…


CAMELEON – Stefan Anastusin


HELLO – Faith Hubley

Goodbye – Oscar…


HIGH FIDELITY – Robert Abel

An early CG test film.


THE MAGIC EGG – Eddie Garrick

More early computer graphics. Trippy.


MY LITTLE PONY – Tom Griffen and Joe Bacall

Apparently producers Griffen and Bacall submitted the pilot for My Little Pony to the Academy. (cue uncontrollable laughter).


PIES – Sheldon Cohen

From the NFB.


REAL INSIDE – John Weldon and David Vierrail

This is a classic… Sort of a precursor to Roger Rabbit.


RECTANGLE & RECTANGLES – Robert Forger

Seizure Warning!


ROBOTS – Cathy Karol


THE ROMANCE OF BETTY BOOP – Bill Melendez

The Academy shorts branch had to sit through this. That ought to teach ’em for never awarding anything to Max Fleischer.


SPOTTING A COW – Paul Driessen


TAKING A LINE FOR A WALK: A HOMAGE TO THE WORK OF PAUL KLEE – Leslie Keen

Love the images in this film – but the soundtrack is horribly annoying.


YOU CAN’T TEACH AN OLD DOG NEW TRICKS – Barrie Nelson and June Foray

June Foray produced, wrote and narrated this R-rated (NSFW) cartoon, animated and directed by Barrie Nelson. I can’t explain how this short came to be – but I’ll bet June just wanted to try her hand at actually making a cartoon herself for once – something to bring to Annecy perhaps. God bless her.


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, 1975, 1977, 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1983.

(Once again, super-heroic special thanks to Chris Sobieniak)

13 Comments

  • Here are some additional notes for the above:

    Although Tiny Jorgensen takes credit for THE IMPOSSIBLE DREAM, it’s design/direction goes to Czech animator Dagmar Doubkova, who’s earlier effort from the 1970’s, “O Páradivé Sally”, recently came into light when it was discovered to be the nearly forgotten “CLOCK MAN” short, as seen on Nickelodeon’s Pinwheel series in the 1980’s.
    https://vimeo.com/250658280

    AUGUSTA MAKES HERSELF BEAUTIFUL – Csaba Varga

    Reminded I have this on 16mm someplace! There was a few other such shorts featuring this “Augusta” clay figure Varga animated. Later he formed his own studio that worked on some American productions including the Simpsons music video “Do The Bartman” for Fox. I noticed this webpage that suggest he did a lot more than just animation before his death in 2012, such as being a linguistic scholar who had wrote a number of books on different ancient languages, numbers and other subjects.
    https://maghon.weebly.com/csaba-varga.html
    http://2010.animationfest-bg.eu/Csaba_Varga_CV_en.pdf

    Apparently he had a few books published in English like this one about the English language!
    https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-english-language-from-the-hungarian-view-mr-csaba-varga/1029285732

    Also of interest, Plympton’s BOOMTOWN was the first to use cels as well. Plympton would stick with animating directly on paper for the next half decade of shorts until his first feature “The Tune”.

    Although I suppose the copy of HIGH FIDELITY seen here was the first vid spotted while searching, the original version of the film had a different, highly orchestrated soundtrack, probably from a stock music library. Here it is with it’s title and credits!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vQ-g7YNxjEY

    I remember Showtime playing both SPOTTING A COW and CHARADE plenty of times, and I never got tired of ’em! It was always fun when premium channels had time to kill and you had the lucky to see them when they popped up. It was my first exposure to planty of these odd little films I wasn’t seeing elsewhere.

  • Finally the Japanese broke through with a great, but still very “western” style, cartoon that was much like the independent stuff making the rounds among the film festivals. Yet JUMPING is still well regarded in many animation text books. (Yes, I know it wasn’t the first from Japan to attempt an Oscar nomination, but there was an attitude among the feisty Americans that “oh no, we can’t include… them!”)

    As wonderful as THE WHITE GAZELLE is as a Harryhausen tribute, you have to question if it would have been easier to just make it in live-action with a human dressed as a Neanderthal and a gazelle borrowed from the San Diego zoo.

    So many NFBC films online are stellar prints compared to the very grainy stuff of yesteryear that we all watched. REAL INSIDE looks especially beautiful. I wasn’t as impressed (a.k.a. better in concept than execution) when I saw it in the eighties pre-Roger Rabbit, but it definitely gets better with repeated viewings. A bit over the top, but certainly worthy of an award nomination over CHARADE.

    • Finally the Japanese broke through with a great, but still very “western” style, cartoon that was much like the independent stuff making the rounds among the film festivals. Yet JUMPING is still well regarded in many animation text books. (Yes, I know it wasn’t the first from Japan to attempt an Oscar nomination, but there was an attitude among the feisty Americans that “oh no, we can’t include… them!”)

      Certainly, perhaps the Academy thought of “The Fly” from a few years earlier and thought it was too similar in scope (even if both films share in a ‘point-of-view” approach to the animation shown).

      As wonderful as THE WHITE GAZELLE is as a Harryhausen tribute, you have to question if it would have been easier to just make it in live-action with a human dressed as a Neanderthal and a gazelle borrowed from the San Diego zoo.

      Who knows, sometimes I suppose not having to go to that much bother to get a trained gazelle for the purpose might’ve been a perfect reason to go with stop-motion animation.

      So many NFBC films online are stellar prints compared to the very grainy stuff of yesteryear that we all watched.

      A lot of that has to do with where most of these videos come from. The NFB, as a crown corporation of the Canadian government, obviously has the proper funds to produce new digital transfers of their material, and to make them freely availalbe, either on their own website or via their YouTube channel. I’m glad that they do this.

      REAL INSIDE looks especially beautiful. I wasn’t as impressed (a.k.a. better in concept than execution) when I saw it in the eighties pre-Roger Rabbit, but it definitely gets better with repeated viewings. A bit over the top, but certainly worthy of an award nomination over CHARADE.

      It does stand out, if only for it’s interesting concept of a cartoon character trying to get a ‘live action’ job. For something that was pre-Roger Rabbit, I could see how the over-the-top tacky nature of the film might’ve kept it form going too far, but from the perfective of today, it was an interesting small achievement for the topic of equality and equal opportunity in the work force. Of course any film that begins with a guy being turned off over the assumption of the color of his skin was a pretty interesting hook.

      The subject of cartoon characters looking for work would also be the basis behind James Baker and Joe Haidar’s 2008 opus “Animated American”.

    • Your one comment on REAL INSIDE is particularly interesting. Note that the cartoon dog is even asked about his marital status, followed by “that is of no concern”. This is an indication that it shouldn’t have even been asked. Mister Boom then provides way too much information (a.k.a. “live action girls really go for…”). These days such a question is being eliminated in interviews, unless it is specific to the job, since the interviewer could be accused of job discrimination based on one’s lifestyle outside of work. Back then, of course, more men worked than women and if “he” was the provider with a wife and children, “he” got pushed ahead of the competition.

      Back then I considered it a sub-par Disney imitation with its animated/live-action combination. Today it has improved considerably and is possibly the least dated, while still being the most progressive socially, cartoon listed above. Intriguingly 1984 was also the year Eddie Murphy did his infamous “white like me” sketch on Saturday Night Live, so it wasn’t alone in its social issue commentary.

    • Your one comment on REAL INSIDE is particularly interesting. Note that the cartoon dog is even asked about his marital status, followed by “that is of no concern”. This is an indication that it shouldn’t have even been asked. Mister Boom then provides way too much information (a.k.a. “live action girls really go for…”).

      We even get a bit of clever innuendo with the way he tied a knot in his tail and then it suddenly inflates at the excitement of such thoughts!

      These days such a question is being eliminated in interviews, unless it is specific to the job, since the interviewer could be accused of job discrimination based on one’s lifestyle outside of work. Back then, of course, more men worked than women and if “he” was the provider with a wife and children, “he” got pushed ahead of the competition.

      That is an interesting historic viewpoint here.

      Back then I considered it a sub-par Disney imitation with its animated/live-action combination. Today it has improved considerably and is possibly the least dated, while still being the most progressive socially, cartoon listed above. Intriguingly 1984 was also the year Eddie Murphy did his infamous “white like me” sketch on Saturday Night Live, so it wasn’t alone in its social issue commentary.

      Interesting to see it that way. I first saw this short back in the late 90’s when Cartoon Network was playing it alongside other NFB films as part of the “O Canada” block. At the time, I wasn’t sure whether it was dated or not, but it certainly was an interesting curiosity then.

  • Surprisingly how My Little Pony (The so called “Toy Toon” pilot that spawned a animated series (with the schlocky Potato Head Kids and The Glow Friends as part of the series in season one), a animated feature film, and two reboots including the newer version and it’s animated feature film that was released last year – and The Romance of Betty Boop were broadcast on television (My Little Pony the Pilot on syndicated television and The Romance of Betty Boop as a tv special on CBS) were even considered for a Oscar for Best Animated Short of 1984. But Curious George should have been nominated for the Oscar for Best Animated Short with its fantastic stop motion animation.

    • I thought the Academy already made it clear by this point that stuff that debut on television was not eligible.

    • I guess some producers didn’t get the memo (or had managed to get these screened in local LA theatres prior to their airings just so it would qualify).

  • Who made the notations on the screening lists?

    • The person who donated these documents for my research wishes to remain anonymous.

  • “The Adventures of André and Wally B.” wasn’t submitted for nomination? That’s surprising.

    • Pixar’s first nod for LUXO JR two years later

  • Hey, I noted that It’s Flashbeagle Charlie Brown was not submitted (THANK GOD! Y’know what they say-“Whatever Happens in..stays in..) and that this post was followed by 1986, with no 1985, as the swan song.

    Interesting to see June Foray herself do a cartoon (then again, she did some independent work as the 1968 Oscar winner by Saul Bass “Why Man Creates”. (Her voice is in the middle during the cowboy scene, shot against black, with June as the gunslinger’s “ma”, doing her most famous voice, ‘Rocky’, for the character.)

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