Opinion

Oscar Watch: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

Just like all the rest of you, I am a book lover. But beyond the books, I am a story lover. Some of us love books for different reasons, but I am an emphatic lover of stories. I loved being read to as a kid, and I had a robust imagination. (Just ask my parents about the time I cut down two trees in our backyard with a steak knife, because I was building a fort and I needed the wood. I can’t make this up, I swear.)

It seems obvious to specify that I love stories above all, but I think having a distinct appreciation for that part of books makes you a different kind of reader. I’m driven by plot, rather than character or language. My favorite authors are ones who create robust narratives and have a penchant for twisty turns and high page counts.

But my love of stories also translates easily into a love of movies. I’m by no means a movie buff the way some people are, and they take a backseat to my book love most months of the year.

But it’s Oscar season, and my book reading has basically come to a standstill.

Every year, I make the attempt to watch every single nominated movie. I don’t just mean the major categories, I mean ALL of them. This year, that means 59 films, including all the shorts, the foreign language, even those only nominated for Best Makeup (zomg, The Iron Lady is my pick!). I’ve never had a year where I was able to watch every single movie – there’s always one or two that remain elusive. But this year, when the time between the nomination announcements and the ceremony is chopped almost in half and when I’m working and going to school full-time, I’ll be happy if I see half of the nominated movies. That’s still 30ish movies to see, but I think I can do it.

One of my favorite categories every year in which I make a point to watch every single nominee is the animated short films. This year, my love of books and my love of movies merged into a gorgeous piece of art called “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore.” Created by Moonbot Studios, the short takes inspiration from Hurricane Katrina, The Wizard of Oz, Buster Keaton, and old silent films (fitting as The Artist seems to be this year’s front-runner for Best Picture).

Greg already pointed out the connections between books and movies with this year’s Best Picture nominees, but this charming little short manages to tell a fantastic story about books, the people that love them, and how they love you back.

Bonus: not only is it a multiple award-winning film, but there is an accompanying interactive iPad app, which is how I first discovered Mr. Morris Lessmore.

You can watch it here, or on Moonbot’s Vimeo page.