Kunio Katô was the outstanding candidate for Sunday's Best Animated Short Film category at the 81st Annual Academy Awards. La Maison en Petits Cubes is moving in a way that Michael Dudok de Wit's Father and Daughter was. This is high praise indeed for I adored that movie and Kunio's is no less hauntingly beautiful in concept and execution. Commencing in a deceptively domestic setting, an old man with his pipe relaxes amidst his photographs and mementos. Everything changes when he opens up a heavy slab in the centre of the room and proceeds to fish there. The peculiar universe he inhabits is revealed as an ocean world where only the tips of homes project above the water. When the water rises again the man stoically builds up the next level of his house. The retrieval of his beloved pipe dropped into the hole requires him to don diving suit, his search in the ever deeper, abandoned levels revealing memories, layer by layer, room by room in a very moving chronicle of the man's life. As a metaphorical device for exploring the past the gradual exploration of descending submerged rooms is ingenious, whilst the setting of a city under a rising ocean will remain in the imagination, each successive level of house being that much smaller than the original, each life reduced in scale as the man grows old and more alone. Initially drawn on paper before being worked on in 2D on computer, the effect seems more European than Japanese with a hand etched, hand coloured look. Kenji Kondô has composed a simply magnificent soundtrack that underscores all the emotion. The Apple Incident by Kunio was featured here last July. The production company for both pieces is Robot Communications. La Maison en Petits Cubes may be downloaded from iTunes via the distribution company Shorts International. Other nominations for the Oscar were Konstantin Bronzit's Lavatory - Lovestory, Doug Sweetland's Presto, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes' This Way Up , and Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand's Oktapodi, the final two already featured on the Animation Blog. Until such time as it remains, Kunio's award winning film may (temporarily, I hope) be viewed via YouTube in two sections: La Maison en Petits Cubes (1) and La Maison en Petits Cubes (2).