Domee Shi, Canada’s Sichuan-born Oscar-winning animation filmmaker obtained the Oscar statuette as the Best Animated Short with heart-touching cartoon BAO and made the world focus on Chinese-styling family affection.
On February 24, 2019, the 91st Academy Awards revealed its winner list, and what surprised Chinese audience is that Pixar's BAO, a short film with rich Chinese elements, received the Oscar for best animated short, which opened ahead of Pixar's hotly-anticipated Incredibles 2.
Directed by Domee Shi, the first-ever female short director in Pixar history and Canada's Sichuan-born, the heartwarming animation draws on Shi's own Chinese-Canadian family food traditions for inspiration.
WATCH: Pixar animated short film BAO↓
The 8-minute film BAO tells the story of an aging Chinese mom suffering from empty-nest syndrome who gets another chance at motherhood when one of her dumplings springs to life, then smothers it with love ― an allegory for parents dealing with their kids growing up and leaving the nest.
Domee Shi grew up in Toronto and entered Disney Pixar Animation Studios as an intern after graduation. Based on her own experience as a Chinese immigrant, she wrote and directed this short.
In order to let her crew to have an overall understanding of Chinese culture in the process of making this film, Domee Shi took her crew on multiple trips to Sichuan restaurants in several Chinatowns because a lot of dishes in the film that the Chinese mom character makes are actually inspired by her favorite dishes that her parents would make.
BAO soon became an internet meme as many netizens were touched by the tear jerking parent-child relationship in the cartoon. The short film makes audience think of their childhood as well as their parents.