An Oscar Nomination from Nowhere
The story of 'Doctor De Soto' by Michael Sporn.
Happy Thursday! Today’s issue of the Animation Obsessive newsletter explores a classic piece of New York animation — Michael Sporn’s Doctor De Soto (1984).
In his decades-long career, Sporn established himself as a great talent of American independent cartoons. He was behind Abel’s Island (1988) and dozens of other quiet, intelligent films. His specialty was adapting books — he could take any drawing style and make it move.
Doctor De Soto, based on a book by William Steig, was one of Sporn’s first films to prove this. He turned Steig’s illustrations into a funny, compelling animated film — and it netted Sporn the unlikeliest of Oscar nominations.
It’s an inspiring story that reveals a lot about Sporn, his ability and the context in which he operated. We’re excited to tell it today. Enjoy!