Disney/Pixar’s Lou, a short that showed before this year’s Cars 3, is unsurprisingly in the running for an Oscar Animated Short. Via Indiewire:
After the photo-real wonders of its Oscar-winning “Piper,” Pixar tackled a more abstract animation challenge in its latest short about schoolyard bullying. In “Lou,” which plays in front of “Cars 3,” a pile of lost and found items in a box coalesce into an anthropomorphic character who harasses a bully when he steals from other kids.
Baseballs become Lou’s eyes, a book becomes his mouth, a baseball mitt and slinky become his hand and arm, and a hoodie becomes his body. However, Lou manages to hold together since the objects constantly shift around. The result is a wacky chase around the schoolyard and a surprisingly emotional comeuppance.
“We’re cramming so much stuff into the film that people don’t get a break until [a revelation] toward the end,” said director Dave Mullins, an animator at Pixar since “Monsters, Inc.” in 2001. He has since worked his way to supervising animator after contributing to “Finding Nemo,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “Up,” and “Inside Out,” among others.
Mullins moved around a lot as a kid and always felt invisible on the schoolyard. This served as the starting point for “Lou,” the lost and found pile that hides in plain sight before coming to life. Mullins found a willing mentor in director Pete Docter (“Monsters, Inc., “Up,” and “Inside Out’), who executive-produced the short along with John Lasseter. One senses the allure of “Lou” for Docter, who specializes in loose, odd-shaped characters. And Mullins was definitely influenced by the anthropomorphic creativity of both Docter and Hayao Miyazaki.