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Sheridan grad wins Oscar for Bao

Feb 25, 2019
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Sheridan alumna Domee Shi (Bachelor of Animation ’11) has been awarded the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film for her directorial debut, Bao.

Winners of the 91st Academy Awards, which recognize excellence in cinematic achievements, were announced at a ceremony in Los Angeles on Sunday (Feb. 24). Along with Bao, over one-dozen animation alumni were part of the team that worked on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which took home the award for Best Animated Feature.

Shi, a storyboard artist with Pixar, is notably the first female director of a short from the studio. Bao, which screened ahead of Incredibles 2 in theatres this past summer, tells the story of an aging Chinese-Canadian mother who receives an unexpected second chance at motherhood when a dumpling comes to life.

After developing an interest in animation in high school, Shi came to Sheridan to hone in on the aspect of the industry she wanted to pursue. She credits a second-year animation class taught by instructor Nancy Beiman with introducing her to storyboarding. She joined Pixar after graduation, and has worked on films including Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur and Incredibles 2. She is currently developing her first feature film at Pixar.

“We’re so proud of Domee” says Dr. Janet Morrison, President and Vice Chancellor of Sheridan. “It’s thrilling to have our graduates excel in their chosen professions. They’re achieving the pinnacle of success using skills they honed at Sheridan. Our alumni inspire us.”

Fellow Pixar story artist Trevor Jimenez (Bachelor of Animation ’07) received a nomination in the Best Animated Short Film category for his directorial debut, Weekends. Animal Behaviour, produced by Michael Fukushima (Animation ’85), was also nominated in the category.

Elsewhere, Emmy award-winner Craig Henighan (Media Arts ’95) was part of the team to be nominated in the Best Sound Mixing category for his work on Roma.

“Students seek out Sheridan because they know they will be trained in the skills they need to succeed,” says Ronni Rosenberg, Dean of Sheridan’s Faculty of Animation, Arts & Design. “Grads go on to contribute to the film industry in so many diverse ways. Domee, Trevor and Craig, and all the alumni who worked on this year’s Oscar-nominated films, are representative of the breadth of talent we see in our students every day. We’re incredibly proud of their accomplishments.”

Sheridan’s animation alumni are globally renowned, and their work has long been represented at the Oscars. In 1985, Jon Minnis (Animation ’83) won Best Animated Short Film for Charade, while in 2003, Eric Armstrong (Computer Animation ’88) won for his work on The Chubbchubbs! In 2015, three of the five films nominated for Oscars in the Best Animated Feature category were directed by Sheridan-trained animators, including Chris Williams, who won that year for Big Hero 6. In 2017, Alan Barillaro (Animation ’96) took home an Academy Award for his short film, Piper.

Sheridan is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of its animation program. Get the backstory on Sheridan's fifty years at the forefront of teaching art in motion here. The program includes the Bachelor of Animation and Bachelor of Game Design, as well as post-graduate certificates in computer animation, visual effects and digital creature animation.

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