Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann accept the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for work on “The Lost Thing” from Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis during the live ABC Television Network broadcast of the 83rd Annual Academy Awards® from the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, CA Sunday, February 27, 2011. (Photo by Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S.)
AAP staff report
Los Angeles, Calif. (February 27, 2011) – The 83rd Academy Awards ceremony was held Sunday, at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood. For Asians, the night belonged to Shaun Tan, who together with Andrew Ruhemann won the Best Animated Short Film Oscar for their Passion Pictures film, “The Lost Thing.”
Based on the popular book, the 15-minute animated short about a boy who discovers a lost creature on the beach and attempts to help it find its way back. It is a journey of encountered indifference, empathy and adventure.
Tan and Ruhemann were present and on stage during the televised ceremony.
“Wow, this is quite surreal,” said Shaun Tan on stage. “Our film is about a creature that nobody pays any attention to, so this is wonderfully ironic.”
Tan remembered to thank his wife Anari, and said the award should also go to producer Sophie Byrne, who he called the true champion of a decade-long project. He also credited the animation team of Leo Baker and Tom Bryant, and other Screen Australia supporters and family.
According to his Web site, www.shauntan.net, Tan is a 26 year-old fulltime freelance artist, author and illustrator who started with no formal training in Melbourne. He is a graduate of the University of Western Australia, with honors in Fine Arts and English Literature. His previous work includes Horton Hears a Who and Pixar’s Wall-E. His most recently published book is Tales From Outer Suburbia.
During the backstage interviews, Tan said he was an unemployed illustrator when he wrote the story over the course of a year in 1998 – on the kitchen table of his shared house. He developed it first as a picture book and it was published in Melbourne in 2000.
It was during an Italian book exhibition that Ruhemann first read the story, and soon after began discussions about developing an animated film.
“So, the whole project for me has spanned, I guess, some 13 years,” he added.
Tan said he was hesitant because of his lack of experience in animation filmmaking.
“I basically just asked everybody I knew in the film industry about animation, and I started studying handbooks,” he said. “And also, Andrew came down to both Melbourne and Perth and Western Australia, and we had very intensive story boarding sessions and, I guess, part of that was actually a degree of mentorship.”
Tan said the award is not just about animation but as an illustrator, he appreciates the value of children books and the importance of establishing this tradition in Australia. He likes being part of the beginning that is very small and experimental and continues to work out of a small studio and doesn’t see his life changing much when he returns.
So they brought in an animator, Leo Baker, and a digital artist, Tom Bryant.
“The three of us; myself, Tom, Leo, we did all the visuals that you see in the whole film over a period of three and a half years,” he said. “With very little outside intervention or anybody to come in and say, no, it should be like this, it should be like that. We just thought this looks right to us, we will just give it a go, and we thought it worked, and obviously it’s working for other people now, too.”
Ruhemann said there is an element of the British tradition of animation in the film. He took the role of producer and with Tan on the artistic end – they had to work at who would direct because neither really relished the role for control’s sake.
Filipino American cinematographer Matthew Libatique was nominated in the Cinematography category for his work on “Black Swan.” However, the Oscar went to Wally Pfister for “Inception”.
The New York native studied sociology and communications at UC-Fullerton before earning his MFA in cinematography at the American Film Institute.
Starting out in music video and short films, Libatique went on to feature films working with directors such as Spike Lee, Julie Dash and Joel Schumacher. He had made his earliest short films just out of school with director Darren Aronofsky, who he worked with again on Black Swan.
Indian Composer A.R. Rahman was nominated for best Original Score for “127 Hours.” However, the Oscar went to Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross for “The Social Network.”
A.R. Rahman was also nominated for Original Song with “If I Rise” from “127 Hours” along with lyricists Dido and Rollo Armstrong. The Oscar went to “We Belong Together” from “Toy Story 3″ with music and lyrics by Randy Newman.
Rahman is a Chennai native and regarded among the greatest Indian composers. He won two Academy Awards in 2009, including Original Score for the film score he wrote for “Slumdog Millionaire”, and for Original Song, “Jai Ho” on the same film.
“Strangers No More” from Karen Goodman and Kirk Simon, won in the Documentary (Short Subject) category. It tells the story of the Bialik-Rogozin School in Tel Aviv, where refugee children from 48 different countries and diverse backgrounds come together to learn. The film follows several students’ stories of hardship and tragedy and a struggle to acclimate to life in a new land.
Also nominated were Ruby Yang and Thomas Lennon for “The Warriors of Qiugang”, about the plight of farmers in central China Anhui Province, that together take on a chemical company that is poisoning their air, water and land.
“Sun Come Up”, a film about the relocation of environmental refugees because of rising waters from global warming. The Carteret Islander community had to leave their remote island chain in the South Pacific and search for a new home.
“Inside Job” from Charles Ferguson and Audrey Marrs won for Documentary Feature. The film exposes the behind the scenes world of the 2008 global financial meltdown, costing over $20 trillion and resulting in millions of people losing their homes and jobs.
With many leading economists featured including Asian countries, the story includes Raghuram Rajan, who as chief economist of the International Monetary Fund in 2005, delivered a paper criticizing the financial sector, “Has Financial Development Made the World Riskier.” The paper proved accurate, but was aggressively criticized by then Harvard President Larry Summers, who is now director of the National Economic Council.
Through extensive research and interviews with major financial insiders, politicians and journalists, Inside Job traces the rise of a rogue industry and unveils the corrosive relationships that have corrupted politics, regulation and academia.
Tariq Anwar was nominated in the Film Editing category for the film, “The King’s Speech.” The Oscar went to Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter for “The Social Network.”
Anwar was a BBC editor for 18 years and edited for nearly every department, before going into feature films. He was nominated for an Oscar once before for “American Beauty.”
Nicolas Aithadi, along with Tim Burke, John Richardson and Christian Manz were nominated in the Visual Effects category for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.” The award went to “Inception” with Paul Franklin, Chris Corbould, Andrew Lockley and Peter Bebb.
In the Technical Achievement Awards ceremony prior to the performers broadcast, Gautham Krishnamurti, along with partners Chris Allen, Mark A. Brown and Lance Kimes were presented with an Academy Scientific & Technical Award for the development of Queue, a robust, scalable approach to render queue management.
Queue was one of the first systems that allowed for statistical analysis and process introspection, providing a framework for the efficient use of render farms.
The Nominations were announced January 25, 2011 and ballots were mailed to 5,755 voting members. The Oscar presentation was televised live by ABC Television and was also aired live in more than 200 countries worldwide