FILM / Animated success

It's not that Barry Purves was exactly ungrateful for the tiny trailer for Screen Play, his Oscar-nominated film, in the Times Arts Diary, but it could have been couched more tactfully. ''Our cooking may be poor and our weather terrible, but at least we can make a good cartoon,' it said. Cartoon],' Purves harumphs. 'That's the word you try to fight against. You say you're an animator and people ask, 'did you make Dangermouse?' Still, at least it was a mention.

The UK media have been banging on endlessly about Emma Thompson and The Crying Game, but these aren't the only Great British Hopes at the Oscars. There's a good sprinkling, as ever, in the craft categories and even the inevitable Kenneth Branagh is up for an award, as the producer of the short film Swan Song.

But, though no-one seems to have noticed, it's in the animated category that the limeys are present with a vengeance: three out of the five nominees are Brits (the others are Adam from Nick Parks' Aardman Animation and Paul Berry's The Sandman). And, if a Brit brings home the statue, it will be the third time in a row: last year Daniel Greaves won for Manipulation; the year before it was Park, for Creature Comforts. In a hard-pressed national industry, it's one area that's positively booming, perhaps because animation is labour intensive but relatively cheap.

Purves's nomination is for the 11-minute ScreenPlay, an exquisite staging of the Willow Pattern Plate story performed by puppets in the manner of a Japanese kabuki play. Most of it consists of a single, nine-and-a-half minute shot, which took Purves and his team 13 weeks to film.

The bulk of the work takes place in pre-production, preparing the puppets and costumes. 'They start life as plasticene sculptures and at that stage you can play about with noses and ears. But once you start the mould and skeleton you have to get it right - you can't rub them out the way you can with a cel-animation drawing. The puppets for my next project (a version of Rigoletto for Channel 4), which breathe and cry and have full lip-sync, probably cost about pounds 8000 each.'

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Arts and Entertainment

Film The critics but sneer but these unfashionable festive films are our favourites

Arts and Entertainment
Frances O'Connor and James Nesbitt in 'The Missing'

TV We're so close to knowing what happened to Oliver Hughes, but a last-minute bluff crushes expectations

Arts and Entertainment
Joey Essex will be hitting the slopes for series two of The Jump

TV

Who is taking the plunge?
Arts and Entertainment
Katy Perry as an Ancient Egyptian princess in her latest music video for 'Dark Horse'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Dame Judi Dench, as M in Skyfall

film
Arts and Entertainment
Morrissey, 1988

TV
Arts and Entertainment
William Pooley from Suffolk is flying out to Free Town, Sierra Leone, to continue working in health centres to fight Ebola after surviving the disease himself

music
Arts and Entertainment
The Newsroom creator Aaron Sorkin

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Matt Berry (centre), the star of Channel 4 sitcom 'Toast of London'

TVA disappointingly dull denouement
Arts and Entertainment
Tales from the cryptanalyst: Benedict Cumberbatch in 'The Imitation Game'

film
Arts and Entertainment
Pixie Lott has been voted off Strictly Come Dancing 2014

Strictly
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Calls for a military mental health 'quality mark'

    Homeless Veterans campaign

    Expert calls for military mental health 'quality mark'
    Racton Man: Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman

    Meet Racton Man

    Analysis shows famous skeleton was a 6ft Bronze Age superman
    Garden Bridge: St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters

    Garden Bridge

    St Paul’s adds to £175m project’s troubled waters
    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament: An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel

    Stuff your own Christmas mouse ornament

    An evening class in taxidermy with a festive feel
    Joint Enterprise: The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice

    Joint Enterprise

    The legal doctrine which critics say has caused hundreds of miscarriages of justice
    Freud and Eros: Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum: Objects of Desire

    Freud and Eros

    Love, Lust and Longing at the Freud Museum
    France's Front National and the fear of a ‘gay lobby’ around Marine Le Pen

    Front National fear of ‘gay lobby’

    Marine Le Pen appoints Sébastien Chenu as cultural adviser
    'Enhanced interrogation techniques?' When language is distorted to hide state crimes

    Robert Fisk on the CIA 'torture report'

    Once again language is distorted in order to hide US state wrongdoing
    Radio 1’s new chart host must placate the Swifties and Azaleans

    Radio 1 to mediate between the Swifties and Azaleans

    New chart host Clara Amfo must placate pop's fan armies
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'It's life, and not the Forces, that gets you'

    The head of Veterans Aid on how his charity is changing perceptions of ex-servicemen and women in need
    Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

    Torture: It didn't work then, it doesn't work now

    Its use is always wrong and, despite CIA justifications post 9/11, the information obtained from it is invariably tainted, argues Patrick Cockburn
    Rebranding Christmas: More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence

    Rebranding Christmas

    More public bodies are refusing to give the festival its name for fear of causing offence. They are missing the point, and we all need to grow up
    A Greek island - yours for the price of a London flat

    A sun-kissed island - yours for the price of a London flat

    Cash-strapped Greeks are selling off their slices of paradise
    Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

    Pogues could enjoy fairytale Christmas No 1 thanks to digital streaming

    New system means that evergreen songs could top the festive charts
    Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence

    Prince of Wales: Gruff Rhys

    He is a musician of wondrous oddity. He is on a perpetual quest to seek the lost tribes of the Welsh diaspora. Just don't ask Gruff Rhys if he's a national treasure...