Initially daily but now sporadic blog about anime and world animation with a specific focus on the artists behind the work. Written by Ben Ettinger.
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‹ Sunday, February 22, 2009 ›

08:27:03 pm , 170 words, 2172 views     Categories: Animation, Indie

Kunio Kato wins the Oscar

This isn't a very original thing to write, and I usually don't pay it too much attention, but I was quite happy to see Kunio Kato win the Oscar for his latest short, as I've been a fan since his Traveler series, so a hearty congratulations to him for this. This award comes right after Kunio Kato just won the grand prize at the Japan Media Arts Festival. And more generally, it's great to see the Japanese indie scene get some attention. I'm sorry and bemused, albeit not surprised, that Waltz With Bashir didn't win. As nice a film as Wall-E is, it would have been justice to give this award to a truly great animated film that doesn't already have massive name recognition and the backing of major western studios. I don't know what to think about it not having been nominated as an animated film. I suppose it's testament to the unique position the film occupies - it could have equally well found itself in the documentary category.

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6 comments

José Filipe
José Filipe [Visitor]  

The Israeli Academy of Motion Pictures chose Waltz With Bashir to compete in the Best Foreign Language Category.

link
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02/23/09 @ 01:52
Ben [Member]  

D’oh. I keep forgetting that the submitters choose in what categories their films are submitted.

02/23/09 @ 10:46
h_park
h_park [Member]

Having watched both “Cubes” and “Waltz…", I’m glad that at least one of them won the prize. Yeah, “Waltz…” deserved a prize, but it may be the wrong category which was submitted under. What if it had to compete with best animated film category? You think it may stood a chance with megabudget 3D CG films?

02/23/09 @ 16:00
Ben [Member]  

Probably not with the Oscar crowd, I guess. But IMO it’s hands down the better film. I actually think it’s shrewd to have submitted it as a foreign-language film. For one, it won’t have to compete with those CG films, and for two, well, that’s the only category about which there’s no ambiguity, really. I haven’t seen Departures, so I can’t comment on whether the win was justified or not. Though judging by what else won… hrm. I still need to watch Cubes myself.

Movie that had the most impact on me last year? Tropical Manila. Director was at the screening, and he is bat-shit insane. And I mean that as the highest possible compliment. I wouldn’t expect a nightmarish film like this to get Oscar nods, but it’s grating to think that there actually were great films made last year like this that nobody’ll ever see. I saw a lot of other great movies last year, but I didn’t see any of them last night (apart from Bashir).

02/23/09 @ 16:22
Cathy
Cathy [Visitor]  

I agree with you about Wall-E, but I have given up hope of the Oscars giving the big prizes to truly innovative films instead of to the crowd-pleasers. Fortunately, the Academy are more generous with their awards for docs & shorts. I am so excited for Kunio Kato - his hard work has really paid off this year. The Oscars was the icing on the cake after his wins at Annecy and Hiroshima. It was sweet that he even thanked his pencil during his speech - the mark of a true old school animation.

02/25/09 @ 01:05
Ben [Member]  

It’s quite something how he’s managed to sweep almost all of the major animation prizes with this film. This is certainly the most publicity and acclaim a Japanese indie short has received since Mt. Head, so I imagine it has catapulted him into one of the figureheads of the indie scene. Anyway, I saw the film last night, and he really deserves it.

02/25/09 @ 21:29