By Bill Desowitz | Thompson on Hollywood March 5, 2014 at 11:49AM
The one upset from the 86th Academy Awards was Laurent Witz’s Braziland steampunk gem "Mr. Hublot"
besting Mickey Mouse in "Get A Horse!" in the Animated Short category. Want to know more about the surprise Oscar winner? Below, Witz' backstage comments after his win, and what he told me about the film in interviews leading up to the big night. Plus, watch the trailer.
First, here's the one-sentence synopsis:
The eccentric, isolated Mr. Hublot finds his carefully ordered world disrupted by the arrival of Robot Pet.
Backstage at the Oscars:
Witz, who is developing both an animated feature and a TV series, told me how important it was to make this a relatable slice of life despite the detailed universe that evokes both Braziland steampunk: “The thing is that we developed the relationship between Mr. Hublot and the dog [Robo Pet], but it was in order to put poetry in the film — to bring emotions through characters. That was [more important than] so much work on details.”
What Witz told me about the connection between ‘Mr. Hublot’ and "Brazil":
"Ah, Brazil is definitely an inspiration. I love that movie. Another important inspiration was [Belgian artist] Stephane Halleux's mechanical sculptures and characters. I worked with him and I took his characters to make something possible in animation and to give more emotion to characters. And according to that, we have created the world of Mr. Hublot. The 3D version is warmer than the sculptures. It's poetic." (Read more here.)
Meanwhile, the ever-expanding Robo Pet provided the most
difficult challenge in Mr. Hublot. For the OCD character afraid of change, it
poses a real dilemma. Does he get rid of the pet or the house?
"It's at this moment that we can feel there is something changing in their relationship," Witz explains. "It's about 10 shots when he's growing. We tried a lot of things with scale to have the right size of the dog. The bigger the dog, the better. For me, it was as if he touched the ceiling with his head. It can't be bigger or something will go wrong." (Read more here.)
Where can audiences see "Mr. Hublot"?
Check out a current list of theater locations here.