On Oscar night, the hottest chicks weren't at the Vanity Fair party. They were in the Animated Short Film category, where The ChubbChubbs! -- the six-minute tale of a nebbishy, karaoke-loving alien attempting to protect his fuzzy peeps, the ChubbChubbs, from an advancing intergalactic horde -- took top honors. The 'toon triumphed over entrants from Germany (Das Rad), Japan (Mt. Head), and Poland (The Cathedral), and even bested Pixar's Mike's New Car. (Pixar has picked up this award three times.)
That's got fledgling studio Sony Pictures Imageworks preening (SPI already has another animated short in the works). The inspiration came from a company-wide call for ideas for the studio's first cartoon. Visual-effects artist and sometime-writer Jeff Wolverton answered that call, and the characters were born. The short ran last summer before Sony-owned event flicks Men in Black II and Stuart Little 2. Encouraged by positive audience feedback, SPI began entering it in festivals -- and a nomination followed.
But now that the chicks have crossed the Oscar road, could it be the end of the line? Hardly. Though Chubbs is already featured on the Men in Black II DVD, it will likely get a stand-alone disc in the coming weeks. And bigger plans may be hatched: ''It just won an Academy Award, so everyone's thinking there's definitely something in there,'' says director Eric Armstrong. ''The idea was always that we could recoup the investment by making it into a feature.'' We're guessing that he means ''re-coop.''