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Surprises Surf Into Oscar Nominations

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences have announced the nominations for the 80th Academy Awards. For Outstanding Animated Feature, the nominees are PERSEPOLIS, RATATOUILLE and the surprise nominee SURF'S UP. For Outstanding Animated Short, the five nods went to Samuel Tourneux's EVEN PIGEONS GO TO HEAVEN (exec produced by Simon Vanesse), Josh Raskin's I MET THE WALRUS, Chris Lavis and Maciek Szczerbowski's MADAME TUTLI-PUTLI, Aleksandr Petrov's MY LOVE and Suzie Templeton's PROKOFIEV'S PETER AND THE WOLF (produced by Hugh Welchman). Surprising omissions include Disney's new Goofy short, HOW TO HOOK UP YOUR HOME THEATER and Aardman Animations' THE PEARCE SISTERS.

The surprising nomination of SURF'S UP was just the shot in the arm that Sony Pictures Animation needed after the penguin mockumentary delivered only $58 million last summer at the box office. However, its fall performance on DVD and Blu-ray has been more impressive.

"I had no inkling we were going to get nominated--it's a huge surprise," admits producer Chris Jenkins. "What's really great is getting this kind of approval from our peers," he told AWN. "Once people see the movie, they like it almost unanimously. We've been getting calls from friends around the industry like Glen Keane, who said he was overwhelmed by the beauty of the movie. Chris Wedge went to see it with a friend, Buck Lewis, and said they were speechless when they walked back to the parking lot. There's a certain kind of amazement and puzzlement about why it didn't do better."

And what do they respond to the most?

"The conversation between Z and Cody during the making of the board is what gets picked up. It reminds them of moments between dad and kids. It's what animation is supposed to do."

Disney-Pixar's RATATOUILLE also earned nominations for Outstanding Achievement in Music, Sound Mixing, Sound Editing and Outstanding Original Screenplay for Brad Bird, Jim Capobianco and Jan Pinkava.

In the visual effects category, THE GOLDEN COMPASS (Rhythm & Hues, Framestore CFC), PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: AT WORLD'S END (ILM) and TRANSFORMERS (ILM) received nominations. Receiving nominations for COMPASS are Michael Fink, Bill Westenhofer, Ben Morris and Trevor Wood; for PIRATES John Knoll, Hal Hickel, Charles Gibson and John Frazier; and for TRANSFORMERS Scott Farrar, Scott Benza, Russell Earl and John Frazier.

For a complete list of nominees, visit

To see clips and trailers from all the Animated Nominees, visit AWN's Oscar Showcase.

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Rick DeMott
Animation World Network
Creator of Rick's Flicks Picks