Mr Hublot earns Luxembourg its first Oscar
by Boyd van Hoeij
- The short animated film won gold for the Grand Duchy for the first time in history
Although they are a US institution, the Academy Awards were particularly international this year, with British, Amsterdam-based director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave [+see also:
interview: Michael Fassbender
film profile] winning Best Film, Mexican Alfonso Cuaron crowned Best Director, Mexican-Kenyan Lupita Nyong’o winning Best Supporting Actress, and Australians Cate Blanchett and Catherine Martin winning Best Actress and Best Costumes and Production Design, respectively.
A relatively small country, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg also took home its first ever Oscar - in the Animated Short Film category. The statuette was won by Mr Hublot, directed by Frenchman Laurent Witz, who also produced it, and co-directed by Alexandre Espigares, a Luxembourger.
The film was 73% produced by Luxembourgian outfit Zeilt Productions, which is owned by Witz, with the remainder produced by French company Watt Frame, in which Witz also has a stake.
This is the culmination of an active public policy that has favoured the creation and development of a Luxembourgian film industry since the 1990s. Xavier Bettel, the Prime Minister of Luxembourg, who is also Minister of Communications and Media, congratulated the winners and said in an official statement that the Oscar constituted recognition of the hard work of all Luxembourgian artists and technicians in the domain of animation and the wider audiovisual industry.
Bettel also congratulated the teams at Melusine Productions and Studio 352, whose animated feature film Ernest & Célestine [+see also:
interview: Benjamin Renner, Vincent Pa…
film profile] was also nominated for an Oscar, although this ended up going to Disney’s box-office behemoth Frozen.
In an interesting parallel turn of events, pundits considered that the biggest threat to Mr Hublot in its category was the Disney short film Get a Horse!, which played in theatres before Frozen but which finally lost to the Luxembourgian production.
Mr Hublot was supported by the Film Fund Luxembourg from its development phase right through to distribution and promotion.
The film - which was, like Get a Horse!, shown in 2D and 3D - had earlier won awards from the International 3D Society, Irvine International Film Festival, Kerry Film Festival, 3D Stereo MEDIA, Les Nuits Magiques and Animage, amongst others.
Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.