Apple wins its first animated short Oscar, and it's wonderfully on-brand

Apple wins animation Oscar; The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse
(Image credit: Apple / BBC )

Apple has won its first short animation Oscar for the sentimental The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. The intimate and beautifully hand-drawn animation is a reflection on life, and it couldn't be a better fit for Apple.

The tech giant's mantra is 'simplicity, creativity, and humanity' and illustrator Charlie Mackesy's meditation on the meaning of it all via the meandering musings of the titular characters is a charmingly harmonious fit for Apple's first animated short Oscar. The animation has a purity to its design and tender, universal message that just, well… fits with Apple.

This short film won at the 95th Academy Awards and is based on the book by Mackesy, who also directed the movie. The short debuted on Apple TV Plus on Christmas Day 2022 and has also been broadcast on the BBC in the UK. (Charlie Mackesy features in our list of beautiful pencil drawings to inspire you.)

The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and, the Horse was the only win for Apple at this year's Oscars despite making history in 2022 by winning the best movie Oscar for CODA. But winning with such as sweet short film feels fitting and Apple CEO Tim Cook was quick to congratulate the talent behind the winning animated short on Twitter, writing: "Your beautiful short tells an enduring story about the meaning of kindness, acceptance and hope."

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Other nominees on the best short animation category were Pamela Ribon and Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s hilarious My Year Of Dicks; The Flying Sailor from Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby; Ice Merchants from João Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano; and Lachlan Pendragon’s fourth wall-breaking stop-motion short, An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It.

What's lovely about the success of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse, both as an Oscar-winning animation and as a book (it sold eight million copies worldwide) is it proves anything is possible for budding artists. Illustrator Mackesy created the drawings during Covid lockdowns and posted them on Instagram as a way to help people get through the pandemic. A deep sense of kindness is at the heart of Mackesy's illustrations and the movie, and everything comes together in simple yet effective art and character design.

Animation is in a great place at the moment, with the new Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles doodle animation looking incredible and streaming services such as Apple Plus and Netflix keen to promote and create original animated content. If you love animation, take a look at our feature in the best animated shorts to get inspired to create your own; and if you wish to do that read our 10 best animation tips and tricks.

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Ian Dean
Editor, Digital Arts & Design

Ian Dean is Editor, Digital Arts & Design at Creativebloq, and the former editor of many leading magazines. These titles included ImagineFX, 3D World and leading video game title Official PlayStation Magazine. In his early career he wrote for music and film magazines including Uncut and SFX. Ian launched Xbox magazine X360 and edited PlayStation World. For Creative Bloq, Ian combines his experiences to bring the latest news on AI, digital art and video game art and tech, and more to Creative Bloq, and in his spare time he doodles in Procreate, ArtRage, and Rebelle while finding time to play Xbox and PS5. He's also a keen Cricut user and laser cutter fan, and is currently crafting on Glowforge and xTools M1.