Weekends – My Favorite Oscar-Nominated Animated Short (Which Did Not Win)

A friend invited me to watch a complete showing of the 2019 Oscar-nominated animated short films last Friday night at the beautiful Normal Theater.  I didn’t know anything about the nominees, but I thought it sounded like a fun time so I went.

All of the nominees were very good in their own particular way, but only one of them won me over in all facets.

No, it wasn’t Bao.  Don’t get me wrong.  I like Bao.  I’d actually seen it at Disney World last summer.  It’s got a heart-warming story and the animation is wonderful.  I think most people figured it would win the Oscar.  Heck, I figured it would win the Oscar.  It’s hard to compete with Pixar, after all.  Guess what?  It won the Oscar.

But, as much as I liked Bao, it wasn’t my favorite.

No, my top choice was actually an animated short film called Weekends.

Weekends did not have the cleanest animation, nor the finest detail, nor the most inspired texture, but it had heart.  And at its heart, the messy animation actually amplified a messy story.

Weekends is about a young boy being shuffled between his mom’s house and his dad’s house after a divorce.  The boy is loved by both parents, but he’s also–at times–something of a distraction through no fault of his own.  Therefore, the boy spends a lot of time alone while at both houses.

My parents are still married to this day, but Weekends struck me as a very real depiction of what childhood must be like for the children of divorcees.  The mother and the father of the boy are not evil, they are not bad in any way shape or form.  However, both of them are trying to build a new life, both of them are experiencing new lovers, and both of them are trying to figure out how to live without the other.  In the mix of all that, the child, at times, falls to the wayside.  His loneliness during these moments are heart-wrenching.

There’s no dialogue in this short film.  The animation sets the mood just fine on its own.  While Bao is a top-notch, beautiful, well-rendered film that makes us feel squeaky clean,  Weekends is scratchy, a little ugly, and makes us feel off-kilter.  But even though it doesn’t look pretty, Weekends‘ creators absolutely knew what they were doing.  It’s obvious they found a style that best fits the story and the boy’s journey.

In my opinion, Weekends story and design execution resonated most deeply with me on an emotional and technical level, which is what made it my all-around favorite of the nominees.

I’ve embedded it below if you’d like to give it a watch …

(Did you enjoy this article?  Check out Scott William Foley’s Dr. Nekros e-book series HERE)

 

 

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Get To Know Pete Moore

Perhaps you didn’t hear the news, but Pete Moore is now managing the historic Normal Theater in Uptown Normal.

I’d like to take a few moments to talk about why this is great for the community.

Make no mistake, though.  While I’ll try to be objective, I’ve known Pete for over ten years – he was in a my wedding, we’ve played countless card games together, our kids have play dates, and I count him among my friends.  So yes, I’m going to gush a little, but he deserves it.

I could tell from the moment I met Pete that he was an innovator.  At the time, he ran a website called BloomingtonNormal.com.  The website had much to do with the local Bloomington-Normal scene, and when he found out I wrote fiction, he invited me to provide content.  He also wrote for the site, and I tell you, it was some of the funniest stuff I’ve ever read.  A lot of people are funny in person, but Pete had a way of conveying his humor to the printed word in such an effortless, effective style that I quickly grew jealous and remain so to this day.

Pretty soon, Pete started using something called a “blog.”  He told me about it, helped me start my own, and, by 2003, we were off to the races with something about to catch on with the masses.  We all know what a blog is today, but back then it was not commonplace nor was it always user friendly.  I still have the html language cheat sheet that Pete made me to help me navigate those murky waters.

Soon thereafter, Pete started doing something called a “podcast.”  Again, I had no idea what that was, but Pete did.  Back in the early 2000’s, podcasts were incredibly difficult to produce and clunky to deliver online, but this did not stop Pete.  In fact, before long he produced two podcasts!  Both of these podcasts dealt quite a bit with music, which is a passion of Pete’s.  Like with technology, Pete loves to discover great bands before they get hot.  Honestly, he’s helped more than a a few bands gain a following.  (He’s actually a musician himself, too.)

This is Pete Moore.  He is always ahead of the curve.  He knows about the next cool thing before it arrives.  He’s typically the guy who tells us about the next cool thing!

Want to know just how much of a trendsetter Pete is?  Have you heard the phrase “BloNo” or seen the hashtag #BloNo?  Pete created that.  He’s proven it to me, and he can prove it to you.  If you’re on Twitter, you know how hard it is to create a hashtag that actually lasts longer than a moment, but Pete created one that transcended Twitter and is now part of the everyday vocabulary in Bloomington-Normal!  This kind of thing is very rare indeed.

And while Pete is certainly a guy with his finger on the digital and entertainment pulse, he’s also a man with tons of public relations experience.  He’s worked on numerous fund raisers, provided necessary public services, and supported several charitable causes.  He’s actively involved withe the Bloomington-Normal business scene, and I challenge you to find a mover and shaker in the BloNo area that is not on a first name basis with Pete.

That’s why I’m so excited that he’s now managing the Normal Theater.  I love the exterior look of the Normal Theater, but I haven’t had the “push” to actually go inside since 1995 when I was an ISU freshman and there was an old James Bond movie playing.  I have no doubt that Pete will deliver new, must-see events.  I am certain that he’ll regularly provide dynamic experiences for BloNo to enjoy.  He knows technology, he knows social media, he knows music, he knows movies, he knows pop-culture, he knows business, he knows public relations… he’s tailor-made for this position.

I wish Pete Moore all the best, and you can be sure I’ll be the first guy in line when he rolls out his first spectacular event.