The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent, 3 European Shorts at the 90th Academy Awards

The Breadwinner, Loving Vincent, 3 European Shorts at the 90th Academy Awards

Both The Breadwinner (Nora Tworney and Anthony Leo) and Loving Vincent (Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman) secured a place in the 5 animated features in the upcoming 90th ceremony of the Academy Awards.

The Irish, Kilkenny-based studio Cartoon Saloon  (here along with Melusine Productions) gets its third Academy Award nomination (after The Secret of Kells and The Song of the Sea) with Nora Tworney's film and story  of Parvana, a 12-year-old girl growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan in 2001 (executively produced by Angelina Jolie). The film was made

Similarly, the  UK/Polish (animated in Poland, UK and Greece) 2D animated film on Vincent Van Gogh's death, Loving Vincent  by Dorota Kopiela and Hugh Welchman is nominated for Best Animated Feature. Breakthru Films has won an Academy Award in the past (2008) for Suzie Templeton's Peter and the Wolf.

The new Academy Award rule, which allows all members of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science (and not only members of the respective animation branch) to vote for their favorite animation feature, did not prohibit two European features to be nominated.  At least for The Breadwinner, credit GKIDS and Eric Beckmann with numerous interventions, festival initiatives and more actions to bring this indie feature to a wider audience -Good Deed Entertainment distributes Loving Vincent in the US.

Films like the exquisite adult feature Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Pedro Rivero and Alberto Vázquez dir.) or Sebastian Laudenbach's The Girl Without Hands (the full list of submitted animation features) were left out of the final nominees. The animation feature field at the Oscars is still only open to films which exclusively feature children or (fine-looking) animals as the main characters.

For the record, apart from Aardman's Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (which won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature back in 2006), no other European animation feature has ever won the statuette. Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away (2001) is the other non-US film to win an Oscar since the award was introduced in 2001. Pixar's Coco here is the main contender for 2018.

 3 European shorts ('Garden Party', 'Negative Space' , 'Revolting Rhymes') are included in the list of Best Animated Shorts.

The French-produced stop-motion short Negative Space by Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata (Ikki Films) won one of the coveted places in the nominees.The sardonic story of Little Red Riding Hood and Snow White in the BBC special Revolting Rhymes by Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer justly secured a spot in the 90th Academy Awards. The brilliantly dark (in a very froggish way) Garden Party by the French MOPA students Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon was the third European entry in the 5 nominations.

Here's the list of the previously 10 shortlisted films to compare. In the animation shorts category, the relevant question doesn't concern the films left out of the 10 shortlisted, but the films not even shortlisted. For instance, Among the Black Waves – Anna Budanova, Impossible Figures and Other Stories II – Marta Pajek Nighthawk – Špela Čadež, The Burden – Niki Lindroth Von Bahr are some of the standouts of 2017, but not included among the 10 coveted films (and, of course, the final nominees).

In the shorts category, Pixar's Lou might seem the obvious choice to win the award. However, considering that Pixar won last year with Piper (and Coco is the most obvious winner in the feature animation category), Academy voters might consider other choices. Legendary animator Glen Keane features with Dear Basketball, and it's quite possible that one of the three European shorts could make the surprise. Recent past victories of Bear Story (2015, Gabriel Osorio, Chile) and Mr. Hublot (2013, Laurent Witz and Alexandre Espigares, Luxembourg) leave the field quite open.

The 5 nominees for Best Animated Feature:

  • The Boss Baby, Tom McGrath and Ramsey Naito
  • The Breadwinner, Nora Twomey and Anthony Leo
  • Coco, Lee Unkrich and Darla K. Anderson
  • Ferdinand, Carlos Saldanha
  • Loving Vincent, Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman and Ivan Mactaggart

The 5 nominees for Best Animated Short:

  • "Dear Basketball,” Glen Keane, director, and Kobe Bryant, writer (Glen Keane Productions)
  • “Garden Party,” Victor Caire and Gabriel Grapperon, directors (MOPA)
  • “Lou,” Dave Mullins, director, and Dana Murray, producer (Pixar Animation Studios) 
  • “Negative Space,” Max Porter and Ru Kuwahata, directors (Ikki Films) 
  • “Revolting Rhymes,” Jakob Schuh and Jan Lachauer, directors (Magic Light Pictures)

Active members of the Academy are eligible to vote for the winners in all 24 categories beginning Tuesday, February 20 through Tuesday, February 27. The 90th Oscars will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Center in Hollywood.

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