CalArtians Nominated for 92nd Academy Awards

This morning, actors John Cho and Issa Rae announced the nominees for the 92nd annual Academy Awards. CalArts alums are represented across multiple categories, including Best Motion Picture, Best Animated Feature and Animated Shorts.

Director James Mangold’s (Film/Video BFA 85) star-studded biopic Ford v Ferrari earned four nominations including Best Motion Picture, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. The film relates the true story of auto designer Carroll Shelby (Matt Damon) and race car driver Ken Miles (Christian Bale), who team up to build a revolutionary race car for the the Ford Motor Company. The film had its world premiere at the 2019 Telluride Film Festival and topped the box office in its opening week.  

Sergio Pablos’ (Film/Video 92) comedy-drama Klaus is nominated for Best Animated Feature. Produced by the filmmaker’s Sergio Pablos Animation Studios (also known as SPA Studios) and distributed by Netflix, Klaus offers an alternative origin story of Santa Claus. A postman is sent to the faraway town of Smeerensburg, where he befriends and teams up with Klaus, a reclusive toymaker dwelling in the woods, to bring Christmas cheer to the village children. Klaus was recently nominated for the 47th annual Annie Awards, as well as a BAFTA for Best Animated Film. Toy Story 4, directed by Josh Cooley and written by longtime Toy Story writer Andrew Stanton (Film/Video BFA 87), is also nominated in the category.

Two CalArtian animators are among the five nominees in the Best Animated Short Category: Bruce W. Smith (Film/Video BFA 83) for Hair Love and Siqi Song (Film/Video MFA 16) for Sister.

Hair Love, directed by former NFL wide receiver Matthew A. Cherry, Pixar animator Everett Downing Jr. and Smith, is a heartfelt animation of an African American father learning to do his daughter’s hair for the first time. The short was initially financed through Kickstarter and later picked up by Sony Pictures Animation, which played it as the cinematic short before The Angry Birds Movie 2. In a CalArtian-related sidebar: Cherry’s accompanying children’s picture book of the same name was illustrated by CalArts’ alum Vashti Harrison (Film/Video MFA 14) (Little Leaders: Bold Women in Black History), who also worked as a character designer on the short film.

Sister is a gripping stop-motion animation about China’s one-child policy, meditating on a man’s childhood memories of an imaginary annoying younger sister. Song created Sister for her CalArts thesis film and has since gained numerous accolades, including nominations for Best Student Film at the 46th Annie Awards and a BAFTA Student Film Award for Best Animation. It was also screened at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.

On her website, Song gives credit to making the film in #BB4 (Butler Building 4) and the other CalArtians who worked on the film, including Herb Alpert School of Music faculty member Karen Tanaka, who wrote the score; sound mixer Aidan Reynolds (Film/Video BFA 13); sound design by Nick Ainsworth, foley by Andrea Gard; costumes by Jessica Dabovich (Film/Video BFA 16); model by Matt Chappell (Film/Video BFA 17) and Tyler Virga (Theater BFA 19); set fabrication by Katelyn Lovelace (Theater BFA 17) and Collen Sinclair (Film/Video BFA 21); and voice by Bingyang Liu (Film/Video BFA 17). Song also thanks her CalArts mentors and classmates in Animation Magazine.

View the complete list of 2020 nominees here.

Tune into the Academy Awards telecast on Sunday, Feb. 9, live on ABC at 8 pm ET/5 pm PT to see which film/filmmaker(s) picks up the Oscar.

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