Imitation may be the highest form of flattery, but we’ve got to imagine winning an Oscar is a close second. In which case, Nick Park, the creator of the “Wallace and Gromit” films, can now officially consider himself one of the most flattered guys out there: Park, as well as the fellow Oscar-magnet folks at Pixar and some other former animated Oscar nominees and winners, took some loving potshots from “The Simpsons” during a new episode that aired this past Sunday (February 20).
Just days before the 83rd Annual Academy Awards, the writers at “The Simpsons” (perhaps still slightly ticked from their Best Animated Film snub in 2008 for “The Simpsons Movie“) skewered the awards ceremony and some of its most celebrated films and stars with a little help from guest voices like Ricky Gervais (who was the butt of some Golden-Globes-hosting-gone-awry jokes), Russell Brand and Best Actress winner Halle Berry.
So, why were the Simpsons attending the Oscars in the first place, besides the fact that “The Simpsons” covers everything? Turns out, Bart created a web cartoon inspired by Homer called “Angry Dad” that went big and subsequently got made into a celebrated animated feature called, well, “Angry Dad: The Movie.”
As clip reels for the other animated nominees began to roll, “The Simpsons” delivered four dead-on parodies of beloved films like “The Triplets of Belleville,” “Persepolis” and the “Toy Story” and “Wallace and Gromit” series, all of which (spoiler alert) Bart eventually bests.
Only the biggest movie buffs would have caught the twists on little-seen, but acclaimed Oscar-winners like “Belleville” and nominees like “Persepolis.” But any viewer would have immediately recognized the joke with “Condiments,” a “Toy Story”-esque cartoon by, err, Nixar, about a rag tag group of edibles, including their Woody-like leader Ketchup and a doomed jar of peanut butter.
Another wonderful send-up was “Willis and Crumble,” a pitch-perfect take on the clay-mated man-and-his-dog-duo, “Wallace and Gromit.” From the short’s premise to the voices to the aesthetics to the clever title (“Better Gnomes and Gardens”), an undiscerning eye would have sworn they were watching a “Wallace and Gromit” movie.
In the audience, Lisa tells “Crumble” creator Park (who appeared on the show as himself): “There would be no shame in losing to you.” But her excitement quickly turns to horror after shaking hands with the four-time Oscar-winner; part of his hand falls off, and he explains: “I’m more clay than man now.”
Sure, “Toy Story” and “Wallace and Gromit” might enjoy more Oscar love than their animated brethren, but “The Simpsons” send-ups were nothing if not a brilliant tip-of-the-hat to all of those films.
What did you think of “The Simpsons” spoofing “Toy Story,” “Wallace and Gromit,” “The Triplets of Belleville” and “Persepolis”? Let us know the comments section and on Twitter!