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We broke down the Best Animated Short category last week both in the on-going Oscar Guide feature (other editions linked below this post) and on yesterday's Oscar Talk podcast. The race is a bit nebulous with the recent decision to open the category up to the entire Academy, with fine cases made for Disney's "Paperman," self-funded "Adam and Dog" and student film "Head Over Heels," Annie winners all. The notion of voting blocs has also suggested an edge for "Paperman" and "Maggie Simpson in ' The Longest Daycare.'" The one thing most seem to agree on is that the brief, bold "Fresh Guacamole" is the underdog.
The film may not be as interested in storytelling as the others but it's a vibrant display of imagination and talent, a nice culmination of an artist's rise when you take in the brief career to date. I didn't come into the race aware of PES (aka Adam Pesapane), but it was easy enough to brush up. He maintains his own YouTube channel and his Oscar nominated "Fresh Guacamole" went viral when it first hit in early 2012.
I dug back through the work and liked the overall arc. It's a unique voice very much interested in the handcrafted feel of stop-motion at a time when CG hybridization is improving and evolving the form. Not only that, but PES is developing a "Garbage Pail Kids" feature, which I totally hope happens. His aesthetic matches that material well and, well, I just want to see what the heck a "Garbage Pail Kids" film would be like.
I pulled together a brief string of PES films to give you an idea. Here is his first animated short, "Roof Sex":
Next up, "KaBoom!" You can see his aesthetic really starting to develop here:
This one's great, "Game Over":
"The Deep" is probably my favorite of the lot:
"Western Spaghetti" is a prequel of sorts to "Fresh Guacamole":
And finally, Oscar nominee "Fresh Guacamole":
There are plenty more over at the PES YouTube channel. Check them all out there.