Stop Motion Animation: 5 Award-Winning Stop Motion Films

March 9, 2015

Stop motion animation is a discipline that has been around for almost as long as the film industry itself, but it’s been in the last few decades in particular that we’ve seen some incredible innovation in the field.

Whether you’re simply an avid fan of stop motion or currently working your way through animation school, the following 5 award-winning stop motion films will serve to inspire you and deserved all the recognition they received. Continue on and you’ll see why.

Fresh Guacamole (PES)

PES has become something of the go-to name for stop motion animation, particularly in the YouTube era. As we mentioned in our guide on How to Do Stop Motion Animation, PES (born Adam Pesapane) garnered a lot of recognition for his short Fresh Guacamole:

PES himself has picked up a great number of awards for his quirky stop motion to date, but Fresh Guacamole in particular is a notable short given that, at 1:36 long, it’s the shortest film to have ever been nominated for an Oscar. The film was in the running for the 2012 Best Animated Short Film, but subsequently lost out to Disney’s Paperman.

Out of a Forest (Tobias Gundorff)

Shortly following graduation at animation school, Gundorff’s thesis short, Out of a Forest, went on to do exceptionally well on the festival circuit and launched his filmmaking career spectacularly.

The short itself features a nighttime gathering in the woods of a group of rabbits, blissfully unaware that something moves in the darkness. We won’t spoil the ending of course, but we can guarantee you’ll enjoy the seamless addition of live action elements into the mix:

It’s little wonder that this fantastic example of stop motion animation went on to win multiple awards given that it’s packed with both style and substance.

Bottle (Kirsten Lepore)

Creating any kind of stop motion is difficult, but when you’re trying to accomplish intricate results on location in nature, using sand, sea, and snow no less, the challenge level increases manifold.

That’s precisely what Kirsten Lepore and her team accomplished, and to great effect, in this tale of two animated chunks of landscape communicating to each other via the ocean:

We can’t begin to imagine the amount of work that went into keeping this animation as consistent and flawless as it is, but it deserved every award it was given and stands as an inspiration to stop motion animators the world over.

MUTO (Blu)

Known only by his pseudonym, Blu is a street artist who has been honing his craft since the late nineties in Bologna.

His art is intricate, imposing, and subversive; above all, it’s highly distinctive. Blu’s style was brought vividly to life in a graffiti/stop animation crossover titled Muto, which is unparalleled in terms of the project’s scale, and went on to give Blu both international recognition and awards:

The animation was released in 2008 and involved hundreds (if not thousands) of individual paintings of various sizes, but usually massive, across the streets of Buenos Aires. It is unknown how long this bizarre creation took, or how Blu managed to evade authorities during the process.

Stanley Pickle (Vicky Mather)

In the award-winning UK filmmaker’s own words, “Stanley never goes outside. He likes to play with his clockwork toys and every night his mother kisses him goodnight. Stanley is twenty. The trouble is that Stanley thinks this is all quite normal, until an encounter with a mysterious girl turns his world upside down…”

An undeniably interesting premise, made even more compelling through its innovative use of a stop motion technique called ‘pixilation,’ everything was taken as still images as with conventional stop motion, but using real actors instead of puppets or models. As can be observed in the short itself, the resulting aesthetic of the film is very peculiar indeed (and even a little unsettling):

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