British Columbia

Vancouver filmmaking pair nominated for Oscar with short animation Animal Behaviour

It’s an exciting day for two local Vancouver animators who landed a 2019 Academy Award nomination on Tuesday morning.

Alison Snowden and David Fine’s film is a comedic look at five animals in group therapy

In Animal Behaviour, five animals meet regularly to discuss their inner angst in a group therapy session led by Dr. Clement, a canine psychotherapist. (Courtesy of NFB)

It's an exciting day for two local Vancouver animators who landed an 2019 Academy Award nomination on Tuesday morning.

Alison Snowden and David Fine are in the running for an Oscar with Animal Behaviour, a comedic short animation about five animals who meet to discuss their life problems in group therapy sessions.

"I screamed [when we found out]," said Snowden, still running on the adrenaline of the news.

"There's so much build-up beforehand."

Animal Behaviour was nominated in the best animated short film category.

David Fine and Alison Snowden have been nominated for an Oscar several times in the past and won the best short animation category for Bob's Birthday in 1993. (Chad Galloway/Courtesy of NFB)

Finding out with everyone else

The pair barely slept the night before the announcement, Fine said, and got up before sunrise to watch the Oscar nomination announcements live — with no idea if they were in or not.  

"[We found out] live as it happens from the academy just like everybody else," he told Stephen Quinn, host of CBC's The Early Edition, just an hour after learning of their nomination.

"There's no secret 'we know something we're not telling you' or anything, you just have to watch it."

A scene from Animal Behaviour with Todd the pig, a recovering chocoholic. (Courtesy of NFB)

Animal Behaviour, a National Film Board of Canada animation, was produced from the filmmakers' home studio in Vancouver and voiced by local actors.

"The whole cast is Vancouver-based. We're very proud of the cast," Fine said.  

A look at Alison Snowden and David Fine's new short film. 0:31

'It's nerve-racking'

This is not Snowden and Fine's first run with the Oscars. They've been nominated three times in the past and won an Oscar for best short animation in 1993 for Bob's Birthday.

But this time, things are a little different.

"Twenty years ago or so when Bob's Birthday was nominated, we found out by fax machine or something or carrier pigeon," Fine said, laughing.

A look at Alison Snowden and David Fine's new short film. 0:13

For now, it's a waiting game until the Oscars are unveiled on Feb. 24.

"You really don't know until the moment the envelope is opened, it's nerve-racking," said Fine.

Several other Canadian filmmakers were also nominated, including the Pixar production Bao by Toronto-raised Domee Shi in the same short animation category.

Alison Snowden and David Fine are in the running for an Oscar with Animal Behaviour, a comedic short animation about five animals who meet to discuss their life problems in group therapy sessions. 4:19

With files from The Early Edition