'Wallace and Gromit' creator Nick Park is backing a group of film students to triumph over Disney and 'The Simpsons' at the Oscars.
'Head Over Heels' was made by several students at the National Film and Television School (NFTS) in Buckinghamshire, South East England, on a tiny budget as part of their final project and it has been nominated for the Best Animated Short Film Academy Award.
The stop-motion animation - written and directed by Timothy Reckart - is up against Disney's black and white 'Paperman', 'Maggie Simpson in "The Longest Daycare"', Minkyu Lee's 'Adam and Dog' and 'Fresh Guacamole', but although it's a clear underdog Park thinks it deserves to be listed and could win.
The stop-motion expert - who created his famous 'Wallace and Gromit" characters for his graduation film at the NFTS 30 years ago - said, "'Head Over Heels' is one of those stand-out little gems that doesn't come around that often. It's a cleverly conceived but simple idea. It's a clear and inventively told story, very poignant and full of heart. I'm not surprised Timothy Reckart is up for awards with 'Head Over Heels' - much deserved."
Reckart wrote and directed the short with producer and fellow student Fodhla Cronin O'Reilly and it tells the story of a long-time married husband and wife who have grown apart. The emotional failings in their relationship are illustrated by the husband living on the floor, while the wife spends her time on the ceiling of their house.
Speaking about the message in the mini-movie, Reckart said: "Our film is built on a simple idea - a husband and wife separated by different fields of gravity - but it tells a story that I think is really rich and emotional. Many married people have told me that the film rings true with their own experiences of marriage, and I think everyone, married or not, can identify with this story of love built upon sacrifice."
The two filmmakers and other members of the team that worked on the project are heading out to Los Angeles next week ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony on Sunday, February 24, and the enormity of their achievement is just starting to sink in.
Praising Reckart's story, James Taylor - who edited 'Head Over Heels' - told BANG Showbiz: "Tim came up with such a simple but beautifully conceived metaphor that lies at the heart of 'Head Over Heels'. It has clearly resonated with audiences and the Oscar nomination is a wonderful achievement for everyone involved with it. We all can't wait to get out to LA. To be in the same room as so many filmmakers who have inspired us will be fantastic."
To watch 'Head Over Heels' visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KHs3Pe32b8Q
You can also view a special Valentine's Day greeting made from scenes from the short by going to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eODZL_Z3fFE
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences members, who choose all the Oscar winners, finish voting at the end of this week.