Toronto-based director Domee Shi scored her first Oscar win last night after her heartwarming short film Bao won the academy award for best animated short film. The project was entirely Shi’s creation, as the filmmaker both wrote and directed the short. Bao tells the story of a lonely Chinese-Canadian woman suffering from empty-nest syndrome when one of her dumplings is suddenly brought to life.
The short film was produced by animation powerhouse Pixar and acted as a pre-show to Incredibles 2 which brought the delightful homegrown tale to a much broader audience. Bao is set in Toronto and features several notable landmarks of the city as well as a few spots that only residents of the GTA will be quick to pick up on.
Shi graduated from Sheridan College’s animation program back in 2011 and is the first woman to direct a short film for Pixar making her triumph at the long-running awards show a truly historic one.
It was truly a great night for Canadians at the 91st Oscars as Shi had been nominated alongside two other Canadian artists – the films Weekends and Animal Behaviour were put out by Hamilton’s own Trevor Jimenez and Vancouver’s animation couple David Fine and Alison Snowden.
Shi’s acceptance speech encouraged young creative women to let their voices be heard and to take her Oscar win as proof that anything is possible. “To all of the nerdy girls out there who hide behind their sketchbooks — don't be afraid to tell your stories to the world.”
Shi happily shared the award with her producer Becky Neiman-Cobb. The two women looked striking standing before the star-studded crowd, two women of Asian-descent winning an award for a film based around Asian culture, it felt like a night of great progress and victory.