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Congratulations to Pixar on Three Oscar Nominations!

Animation, Awards, Josh Cooley, Oscars, Randy Newman, Short Film, Shorts, SparkShorts, Toy Story 4

Posted by Nia • January 13, 2020

This morning storytellers and film aficionados alike gathered around their TVs, cradled their smartphones, and hunched over their computer monitors awaiting the announcement of this year’s Oscar nominations. Despite some obvious snubs and a few shockers, the broadcast concluded with a solid list of nominations, including THREE for Disney/Pixar.

The studio snagged a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category for Toy Story 4, the Best Original Song category for Toy Story 4, and in the Best Animated Short category for Kitbull.

A lot of time and hard work goes into making any kind of animated content and we wanted to congratulate EVERYONE who was involved in Toy Story 4 and Kitbull. Great work!

Now… it’s time to begin the official award show countdown. We can’t wait for the Oscars, which airs on Sunday 9th of February!

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Pixar Appears Twice In Oscars Shortlists

Awards, Oscars, Shorts, SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • December 17, 2019

The 2020 Oscars shortlists have been revealed for 9 categories: Documentary Feature, Documentary Short Subject, International Feature Film, Makeup and Hairstyling, Music (Original Score), Music (Original Song), Animated Short Film, Live Action Short Film and Visual Effects. Pixar appears in the shortlists twice, and we couldn’t be more happy and hopeful for the teams involved.

Randy Newman’s “I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away” from Toy Story 4 has been shortlisted for Best Music (Original Song). Newman’s music always evokes such a strong sense of nostalgia in me, partly because it brings me back to watching Pixar movies on VHS tapes, but also because the lyrics are always so thoughtful.

The wonderful Sparkshort Kitbull, directed by Rosana Sullivan and produced by Kathryn Hendrickson, has also been shortlisted for Best Animated Short Film. It’s great to see one of the Sparkshorts gaining attention in the awards season, especially with them missing out at the Annie Awards nominations. Out of all the Sparkshorts that Pixar released on YouTube, Kitbull currently has the most views, and holds the record for the most tears I have shed while watching an animated cat.

Good luck to all those that have been shortlisted! As ever, we’re intrigued to see how the awards season plays out.

So far this season, Toy Story 4 has been nominated for Best Animated Feature at the Golden Globes, and at the Annie Awards it gained 6 nominations: Best Feature, Best FX (Alexis Angelidis, Amit Ganapati Baadkar, Greg Gladstone, Kylie Wijsmuller and Matthew Kiyoshi Wong), Best Music (Randy Newman), Best Voice Acting (Tony Hale as Forky), Best Writing (Stephany Folsom and Andrew Stanton), and Best Editorial (Axel Geddes, Torbin Xan Bullock and Greg Snyder).

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Kitbull Might Be Pixar’s Cutest Short Yet

Short Film, Shorts, SparkShorts

Posted by Joanna • February 18, 2019

Pixar’s series of SparkShort YouTube releases is coming to an end with their latest short “Kitbull”, and it’s absolutely the cutest one out of the bunch. Even the YouTube thumbnail is enough to make my heart grow a couple sizes.

The most immediately noticeable thing about “Kitbull” is the fact that it’s 2D – it has joined the small and highly respected group of 2D-animated Pixar shorts. It’s not often we get to see Pixar tackling hand-drawn projects (and so beautifully!), but this isn’t the only thing that makes “Kitbull” special.

“Kitbull” follows a tiny stray kitten who is independent but frightened of the unfamiliar. The kitten is also a strong contender for Pixar’s cutest creation to date. You can tell the animators took inspiration from the internet’s wealth of cute cat videos: its playful behaviour, clumsy, unpredictable movements, and ridiculously dilating pupils are all spot on.

The kitten meets a dog – a pit bull – but is too scared to approach it at first. This is partly, and understandably, due to the enormous size difference, but also because of the kitten’s fear of anything new or unexpected. It takes a vital moment of brave empathy and vulnerability for the kitten to finally extend a paw of friendship to the poor dog – a moment that ends up improving both of their lives for the better.

It’s difficult to put into words how delightful “Kitbull” is. The digitally hand-drawn style is beautiful. When you see storyboards and colour scripts from Pixar movies, there’s always this wonderful sense of fluidity and ease to them, and “Kitbull” feels like a collection of these brought to life. Obviously the 3D-animated movies Pixar are famous for are stunning in their own way, but it feels special to see something different, especially when it’s done so well. The kitten is also quite abstract in its design, which is something I feel makes the world of animation so magical.

“Kitbull” is unique in its animation style, but also in its use of darker themes. On the surface, it’s heart-achingly cute, which makes it memorable in itself, but also cleverly adds to the impact of the moment you realise the pit bull is a victim of animal abuse.

As with the other SparkShorts, you can see the Behind the Scenes and Meet the Filmmakers videos for “Kitbull” on YouTube too. It looks like the team had a lot of fun on the project! Writer and director Rosana Sullivan clearly found the whole thing incredibly rewarding, and I think that really shows in the end product. This quote from her was particularly lovely:

“At first, I just wanted to draw something that made me feel good and was fun, but it evolved into something more personal for me eventually. I realised that growing up I was always very sensitive and shy and had actually a lot of trouble kind of making connections…making friendships. So I related to this kitten. Because it never really stepped outside of its comfort zone to be vulnerable and make a connection. So that’s eventually what the story became.”

“Kitbull” is the last of the SparkShorts that we’ll be seeing for a while. At the end of the year, Pixar plan to have them all available on Disney+, along with three other SparkShorts that are already complete – “Loop”, “Float”, and “Wind”.

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