Animation History
January 29, 2018 posted by Jerry Beck

Cartoons Considered For An Academy Award – 1986

This week: 1986

The nominees were:

LUXO JR. John Lasseter (Pixar) [View]

THE FROG, THE DOG AND THE DEVIL Bob Stenhouse [View]

And the Oscar went to:

A GREEK TRAGEDY Nicole Van Goethem. [View]

Again, humor wins out over technical achievement (Luxo, Jr) or any elaborate dramatics and mood pieces (as in The Frog, The Dog and The Devil). A Greek Tragedy, a Belgian made comedy featuring three scantily-clad female figures struggling to hold up the crumbling remains of an ancient Greek temple, is fun, but – not to knock the winner or the nominees – the submissions (below) were of particularly high quality this year. Personally – and in hindsight – John Lassseter’s Luxo Jr. probably should have won (though Pixar will make up for that oversight in years to come), but I do wish that Tezuka’s Broken Down Film had been nominated. Wendy Tilby, Paul Driessen, John Canemaker and many other top talents were likewise turned away. Brad Caslor’s Clampett/Scribner-influenced Get A Job is pretty amazing for any year.

Regardless, on March 30th, 1987 at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion in Los Angeles, actor Tom Hanks and cartoon star “Bugs Bunny” presented the Oscar for Best Short Film (Animated) to producers Linda Van Tulden and Willem Thijssen for A Greek Tragedy. 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 1986, there were 25 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):

ALL ABOUT THE STATUE OF LIBERTY – Jimmy Picker
DEBTS*
THE EXPANDING UNIVERSE*
HOUSECATS – Peg McClure
POPOL VUH: CRERATION MYTH OF THE MAYA
SET IN MOTION – Jane Aaron
SNOOKLES – Juliet Stroud
TABLES OF CONTENT – Wendy Tilby*
BARTAKIADE – Oldrich Haberle
BROKEN DOWN FILM – Osamu Tezuka
THE CHARACTERS – Evert de Beijer
CITYSHAPE – Carol Blum*
ELEPHANTRIO – Paul Driessen, Graeme Ross and John Weldon
EVERY DOG’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE HOME SAFETY – Bill Pettigrew
GET A JOB – Brad Caslor
I WAS A THANKSGIVING TURKEY – John Schnall
JOHN LENNON SCRAPBOOK (Imagine) – John Canemaker
KASPAR – Stefan Anastasiu*
LUCRETIA – Einice Macauley
NO ONE TURNS AWAY FROM THE CAMERA
TIME OF THE ANGELS – Faith Hubley
WHERE DID I COME FROM? – Ian Mackenzie

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

Enjoy the show!


ALL ABOUT THE STATUE OF LIBERTY – Jimmy Picker

Release on video as “My Friend Liberty” – Jimmy Picker clay animation intermixed with live action:

“Johnny Wise falls asleep as his teacher talks about liberty … and awakens to find that everything has turned to clay. Suddenly a giant green hand plucks Johnny from his seat … The Statue of Liberty herself has stepped down from her pedestal to teach a skeptical youngster the true meaning of liberty!”


HOUSECATS – Peg McClure

I recall this being quite popular at festival screenings at the time – and later on Nickelodeon. Me? I’m allergic to cats.


POPOL VUH: CRERATION MYTH OF THE MAYA

Not my cup of darjeeling tea – but nice graphics.


SET IN MOTION – Jane Aaron

Wow – haven’t seen this in 30 years. And it still holds up. Love it. (RIP Jane Aaron 1948-2015)


SNOOKLES – Juliet Stroud

Remember loving this when it came out. I believe this is one of the first Cal Arts student films (originally done at school in pencil test) that Mike & Spike paid to finish in color (on cels) to put in their festival. Stroud has since gone on to a distinguished career at Disney.


TABLES OF CONTENT – Wendy Tilby

Wendy Tilby’s Tables of Content was her graduation film from the Emily Carr College of Art and Design, Vancouver in 1986. The movie is set in a bygone era; the location, a rather stuffy restaurant during the day.


BARTAKIADE – Oldrich Haberle


BROKEN DOWN FILM – Osamu Tezuka

MUST-WATCH: If you haven’t seen Tezuka’s Broken Down Film, please do so now. Warning: It’s un-restored.


THE CHARACTERS – Evert de Beijer

Dutch animator Evert de Beijer’s second film. Won numerous awards, played all the festivals. Neat stuff.


ELEPHANTRIO – Paul Driessen, Graeme Ross and John Weldon

Interesting attempt to meld three independent animators styles into one film…


EVERY DOG’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE HOME SAFETY – Bill Pettigrew

In its day this was a popular little film. Not much else to ay about this one.


GET A JOB – Brad Caslor

An NFB film about job hunting – reimagined by Winnipeg animator Brad Caslor as a Bob Clampett/Rod Scribner-esque surrealist daydream. Love it!


I WAS A THANKSGIVING TURKEY – John Schnall

Nightmarish turkey POV on that famous day in November.


JOHN LENNON SCRAPBOOK – John Canemaker

I love this little film – but that may be because of my profound fandom of all things John Lennon, mixed with my admiration of John Canemaker’s work. Yoko One commissioned Canemaker to put together this film using rare recordings of John & Yoko – and Lennon’s doodles, sketches and artwork. Great idea for a film.


LUCRETIA – Heidi Blomquist


NO ONE TURNS AWAY FROM THE CAMERA – Kevin Dole

Early music video. Cool imagery.


TIME OF THE ANGELS – Faith Hubley


WHERE DID I COME FROM? – Ian Mackenzie

From Australia – an animated sex education video for children based on the best-selling book of the same title. NSFW.


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, 1983 and 1984.

(Once again, special kudos to Chris Sobieniak for his invaluable assistance)

SPECIAL EDITOR’S NOTE: This may be the last Oscar nominee post for the time being. Next week I hope to begin a new series of posts, based around my favorite subject – Warner Bros. Cartoons. Check back here next Monday – and every day. Always something new, something surprising, something just for you.
– Jerry Beck

 

19 Comments

  • EVERY DOG’S GUIDE TO COMPLETE HOME SAFETY – Bill Pettigrew

    In its day this was a popular little film. Not much else to ay about this one.

    If it was still last year, we’d probably bring up the fact the late Harvey Atkin, probably best known for voicing King Koopa in the Super Mario cartoons produced by DIC, voiced the husband Bernard in this short (and in the follow up, EVERY DOG’S GUIDE TO THE PLAYGROUND). I remember him more for this personally, and I actually liked this one when I first saw it, thinking it would make for a cool TV show had it happened (of course a later NFB Oscar winner would do that anyway).

    Kinda impressed to see WHERE DID I COME FROM? here. Aside from the Australian production involvement, in the US, the narration was replaced with a female voice, and there’s a different voice used in the UK version of the video as well.
    UK Version: https://vimeo.com/65880384

    There was even another version released sometime in the 90’s that had Howie Mandel doing the narration.

  • I will miss this feature. It’s been a highly informative ride. I’ve learned more details about the Academy Awards than I ever knew before. I had no idea so many short films were submitted for consideration. Thanks for your painstaking research that made this possible.

    I look forward to the new delights that you will be bringing in future posts. Keep up the great work, Jerry!

  • “Warning: It’s un-restored.” <- Nice. Tezuka deserved to be nominated, in my opinion.

  • Couple of notes of my own:

    • Cordell Barker (Oscar nominee two years later for THE CAT CAME BACK) also worked on GET A JOB.

    • SNOOKLES was also featured in Jim Reardon’s “infamous” fan film BRING ME THE HEAD OF CHARLIE BROWN (no ink and paint)

  • Just chiming in to say this series of posts has been a fun ride. Thanks Jerry for sharing your informative research and doing your best to unearth some of the more unusual obscurities considered for an Oscar. Looking forward to any upcoming posts of course, interested to see what you have in store re: the Warner Bros studio.

  • Anyone know who animated Bugs Bunny co-presenting the Best Animated Short?

    Also, apparently Mel Blanc still voiced Bugs but he HAD to have been pitched up. By 1987, time had naturally taken its toll on Blanc’s voice (see “Daffy Duck’s Quackbusters”).

    • Probably Greg Ford and Terry Lennon (QUACKBUSTERS)

    • I can confirm that the animation was directed by Ford and Lennon – and Mel Blanc does the voice. Just spoke to Greg this morning.

  • Luxo Jr was the beginning of the Pixar Animation empire and of course they will win several Oscars for Best Animated Short in the future along with Disney in future Best Animated Feature category.

  • This brings me memories, since 1985 was the first year I attended the Annecy International Animation Festival and was able to see several of the films listed above. After A GREEK TRAGEDY, Nicole Van Goethem did another short, FULL OF GRACE (1987), about two nuns discovering the ‘outside’ world. Sadly, she passed away in 2000, leaving a third film uncompleted.

    • I saw “Full of Grace” and loved what she did there. It was sad to lose her as she had some very interesting ideas going into her work. I noticed there was a exhibition of her work some years back that was put on YouTube.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0LA21H-RMfI

  • Jerry: Thanks for posting this series of posts about the shorts considered for the Oscar.

  • (a la the WB “Chow Hound” bulldog): “What? no 1985?”

    (Good mis-quote given Jerry’s next subject).

    RIP to an excellent series of posts, the earlier of which had Golden age classics!
    Thank you, Jerry Beck!

  • I like ‘Broken Down Film’ , nice spoof of silent cartoons. Apart from ‘Animated Self-Portraits’,was this the last thing regarding animation that Osamu Tezuka worked on?

    • I believe Tezuka passed away while his half-hour short LEGEND OF THE FOREST was in post production. That film is another ‘must-see’ for Cartoon Research readers – it tells an ecology story (of animals in nature versus man and machine) in the style of the history of animation: The film begins in black & white, “Winsor McCay style” then morphs into silent era style, then two-color early 30s, then Technicolor Disney lush, and on and on towards a TV limited… a comment, as well, on the state of animation through 1987.

    • It’s certainly worth a watch.
      http://www.totalshortfilms.com/ver/pelicula/180

      A while back, his son, Makoto Tezuka, decided to finish Legend of the Forest by animating the other two movements of the symphony used. I haven’t seen a full version outside this clip, but it’s a start I suppose.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iICEVFnZhOY
      http://tomodachi.us/tag/legend-of-the-forest/

    • I’ve just watched it. Brilliant stuff.

      Was it ever nominated for Best Animated Short? It should have been.

  • My take on 1985 considerations:
    VOICES (Joanna Priestley)
    THE BOLLO CAPER (Rick Reinart-I doubt it)

  • Jerry, perhaps if you ever find most of the rest of the missing submission years, you could compile a “50 greatest snubbed cartoons list”😂 featuring shorts you detailed in previous posts!

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