Oscar Nominations
January 23rd, 2007

MY OSCAR PREDICTION from last night-
Animated Feature- CARS, HAPPY FEET, MONSTER HOUSE



I turned out to be correct all around. Not that I liked Monster House all that much, it just seemed the buzz around the industry was more for it than the others. I felt Over the Hedge should have gotten one. I liked the facial animation and acting in Hedge. Maybe if we had gotten the five noms instead of three it would have. And the more experimental films like Scanner Darkly and Renaissance were passed by.

My Predictions from last night for Best Animated Short-
Joanna Quinn's Dreams and Desires, No Time for Nuts ( Ice Age Skrat), Don Herzfeldt's Everything Will Be Okay.

The actual nominations went to-
The Danish Poet (NFB) Torill Kove
Lifted (Pixar) Gary Rydstrom
Little Match Girl (Disney) Roger Allers
Maestro Géza M Toth
No Time For Nuts (Blue Sky) Chris Renaud and Mike Thurmeier

Wow, I was way off here. I think Joanna Quinn's Dreams and Desires got robbed. I loved her draftsmanship, style and humor. Maybe the members didn't like fat Birmingham ladies in thongs speaking a brogue thick enough to warrant subtitles? I also thought that even though Don Herzfeldt's designs for Everything Will be Okay are simple, I liked it overall as a film. It reminded me of my time under general anesthesia. Oh well, wait'll next year...

And this Year's Category of Yet Another Randy Newman Song in a Pixar Movie, went to Randy Newman's song from CARS, Our Town.

One thing is certain. Most of the live action movies will garner lots of kudos and excitement while doing little business- Children of Men- $27 million,The Queen- 35 million, so far. Most of these " important films" disappear soon after the award telecast- does anyone remember I am Sam or Boys Don't Cry? Meanwhile every animated feature that doesn't do at least $100 million is considered a flop that makes studio executives run to the rooftops to grasp the landing gear of evacuating helicopters.

Wouldn't it be nice if we in animation could do a film that doesn't have to be a blockbuster to be taken seriously?

Wouldn't it be nice if it rained beer and it was Christmas every day? ( Apologies to A Man for All Seasons)


Who Built Thebes of the Seven Gates? On it are enscribed only the names of kings. When the Great Wall was completed, where did the workers go? So many questions... Bertholdt Brecht

Leon Schlesinger's Looney Tunes and Merry Melodies Studios in May 1941.click on image to enlarge.

Leon Schlesinger's studio building today. click on image to enlarge.

I have been gratified by the reaction to Drawing the Line. While other writers choose to ruminate about the genius of Walt Disney, I wanted to celebrate us, the artists who really do it, and usually don't get any credit. The rank & file animators who fill the desks, go from project to project, worry about job security, failing eyesight and health insurance for their kids; all while making the film magic that millions worldwide adore. Drawing the Line is our story, and I am proud to have been able to tell it. It restores to us a section of our Hollywood history long ignored. I hope you enjoy it, and I promise more books like it in the future- between projects, of course.

MY OSCAR PREDICTION?
Animated Feature- CARS, HAPPY FEET, MONSTER HOUSE
Animated Short- Joanna Quinns' Dreams and Desires, Chris Wedges' Ice Age Skrat, Don Herzfeldt's Everything Will Be Okay.
GOOD LUCK TO THEM ALL!
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Birthdays: Musio Clementi, Django Reinhardt, Edouard Manet, Sergei Eisenstein,Ernie Kovacs, Stendahl,Jean Moreau, Randolph Scott, Dan Duryea,Rutger Hauer, Warner Bros animator Manny Davis, Disney animation director Dave Hand

1862-Here’s a toast to that Great American- Count Agoston Haraszthy. Who? Next time you raise a glass of Napa Valley Chardonnay think of him. This day the Hungarian immigrant count bought land in the Sonoma Valley and imported cuttings from 1,000 varieties of European wine grapes. He starts the first California vineyards.

1930- Ivory Snow soap invented 'pure as the driven snow'. In 1969 the model on the Ivory Snow box, Marilyn Chambers, became a notorious porno star. The baby she held in the photo was actress Brooke Shields.

1942- Tupperware invented by Charles Tupper.

1989- Artist Salvador Dali’ died. Rushing to leave as much money as possible for his family his agents had him autograph reams of blank paper they intended to print Dali’ lithographs on later.


January 22, 2007 Monday
January 22nd, 2007

St. Vincent's Day- "If Vincent's Day be Rainy Weather, shall rain then 30 days together.”

Birthdays: Sir Francis Bacon, D.W. Griffith, Charles Gordon Lord Byron, August Strindberg, Andre Marie Ampere (electric Amps), UN Secretary General U- Thant, Ann Southern, Sam Cooke, John Hurt, George McManus, Joseph Waumbaugh, J.J. Johnson, Jim Jarmusch, Linda Blair, Piper Laurie, Diane Lane

1918- A Manitoba judge tries to outlaw movie comedies, because they tend to make the public "too frivolous".

1938-On a bare stage, Thorton Wilder’s play 'Our Town' premiered.

1947- Hollywood's first commercial television station, KTLA, went on the air for regular broadcasting. At the time, in all of LA, there were only 350 TV sets.

1949-Tex Avery’s MGM cartoon "Bad Luck Blackie".

1959- Former 'Our Gang' child star Charles 'Alfalfa" Switzer was killed in a bar in Studio City. He pulled a knife on a man over a $50 debt on a hunting dog. The man then shot him. He was 32. According to fellow Little Rascal Darla Hood, Switzer was a brute who bullied the other children and bitter his adult career never blossomed.

1968-T.V. comedy review show Rowan & Martin’s 'Laugh-In' premiered. It launched the careers of Lily Tomlin, Goldie Hawn and Eileen Brennan. You bet your sweet Bippy!

1972- In an interview with Melody Maker magazine, rocker David Bowie outed himself and said he was gay. Technically, he would be bi-sexual, since his wife Angela did catch him in bed with Bianca Jagger.

1973- President Richard Nixon celebrated his second inaugural with his own concert which Leonard Bernstein conducted 'Concert for Peace' at the Washington Cathedral. While Nixon’s orchestra played his favorite classical piece, Tschaikowsky’s 'Overture 1812' with real cannons, Bernstein played Haydn’s Mass in a Time of War to 15,000 people against the War in Vietnam.

1975- Hollywood agents Ron Meyer and Michael Ovitz leave William Morris and form the Creative Artists Agency, or CAA.


January 21, 2007 sun
January 21st, 2007

Yesterday Arnold the Governator and the Mayor of LA Antonio Villarigosa held an event to lobby for Los Angeles' bid for hosting the Summer Olympics in 2016. The First time LA hosted it in 1932 they made a move star of gold medal swimmer Larry Buster Crabbe ( Flash Gordon), and animator Ed Friedman was a second team for track and field. In 1984 We got future Disney execs Peter Schneider and Tom Schumacher, who met Jeffrey Katzenberg while working on the 1984 Olympics Arts Festival. Lets see what we get in 2016.

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Birthdays: Leadbelly (Harlan Ledbetter), J.Carol Naish, Tele Savalas, Christian Dior, Placido Domingo is 66, DJ Wolfman Jack, Paul Scofield, Robby Benson the voice of the beast in Beauty & the Beast, Jack Nicklaus, Steve Reeves- the 1960's Hercules moviestar, Benny Hill, Emma Bunton- Baby Spice of the Spice Girls, Gena Davis is 51

1198- THE THIRD CRUSADE DECLARED- In reaction to the news of Salladin's capture of Jerusalem, King Henry II of England, Phillip Augustus of France and Conrad the Emperor of Germany "take the Cross", decide to invade the Holyland. Henry died before the army departed and was replaced by his son Richard the Lionhearted. Every morning before breakfast and every night before retiring all the knights of the Crusade would raise one steel clad fist to the east and to the sound of massed trumpets shout: " AEIDEUVA, AEIDEUVA, SANCTUS SEPULCHORUM!!" ("Help, Help to the Holy Sepulchre!").

1916- The National Board of Review outlawed nudity in Hollywood movies.

1935- the conservation group the Wilderness Society created.

1938 -Max Fleischer tells his New York based cartoon studio they are relocating to Florida.

1938- George Melies, the father of Motion Picture Special Effects, died selling chocolates in a Paris train station -Gare du Norde.

1958- BADLANDS- Teenagers Charlie Starkweather and Carol Ann Fugate kill her family and go on a Bonnie & Clyde style crime spree throughout Nebraska killing 11 people. When they were caught Starkweather pleaded self defense, even against the murder of Fugates infant baby brother. He went to the electric chair. Carol Ann Fugate did twenty years, yet she denied she was anything more than an unwilling accomplice. Starkweather had a 'James Dean-Marlon Brando' leatherjacket look and the two teen killers seemed to typify America's dread of juvenile delinquency and the 'degenerate Rock and Roll' culture of the 1950's. Their story inspired several films including 'Badlands" .

1991- Disney's Beauty and the Beast becomes the first animated film ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar.


January 20, 2007 sat.
January 20th, 2007

Had a great time at Cal Arts telling stories. Thanks to Cynthia Overman and all the Cal Arts character animation department for the welcome.I saw a MP3 recorder was getting everything. Jeez, please don't put it out on the net, I'll never work anywhere ever again!
But Hey, They're Beautiful, I love them...

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Birthdays: Frederico Fellini, Patricia O’Neal, Mario Lanza, David Lynch, George Burns, DeForest Kelly, Edwin Buzz Aldrin the second astronaut to walk on the moon, Arte Johnson, Lorenzo Lamas

1779- The famous English dramatic actor David Garrick died. Supposedly his last words were when someone asked “Is it hard to die?” Garrick replied:” Dying is not Hard. Comedy is Hard.”

1938-The first true animator, Emile Cohl, died while headed for the Paris premiere of Disney's"Snow White and the Seven Dwarves". Cohl was so poor that the electricity in his flat had been turned off and the candles had ignited his beard. Angry he was never recognized in his time, he once said: "the French prefer their artists with marble and flowers on top." An Italian sculptor subscribed funds to build a statue to Cohl in Paris. Walt Disney and Dave Fleischer donated money. The sculptor took the money and skipped town, the statue was never built.


1949- FBI chief J. Edgar Hoover gave Shirley Temple a pen that shoots tear gas.

1953- The Birth of Little Ricky on the I Love Lucy show drew a larger viewing audience than the televised inauguration of President Dwight Eisenhower.

1961- John F. Kennedy gave his famous inaugural speech:”Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Outgoing President Eisenhower disliked JFK personally and was angry that his election seemed a repudiation of his policies, so almost nothing was said between them in the limousine during the drive to the ceremony. John Kennedy also went through that day mostly hatless, inaugurating the fashion. Before JFK a man was not fully dressed without a fedora or cap of some sort.

1982- Rock star Ozzie Osbourne was hospitalized in Des Moines Iowa after biting the head off a dead bat thrown on stage during a concert. At another concert with Lou Reed, Ozzy picked up a straw filled with ants and snorted it up his nose so his kids could watch ants crawling out of his mouth, nostrils and tear ducts. ROCK AND RROOLLLLL, BABY!!

1982- SONY introduced the Camcorder, the personal video camera.

1986- The worlds first computer virus, Brain, was sent out over the internet.


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