Pixar’s Luxo Jr. was honored on December 17 by being named to the 2014 National Film Registry and officially gaining the “Cinematic Treasure” title. This fantastic honor began in 1988 as the Library of Congress passed the National Film Preservation Act, which sought to preserve American filmmaking as well as represent the vast heritage and culture of the United States. Although the rules for a film to be considered are simple – a film must be at least 10 years old and be “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.” – the selection process of (up to) 25 films per year is more complex.
“The Library of Congress makes the annual registry selections after reviewing hundreds of titles nominated by the public and conferring with Library film curators and the distinguished members of the National Film Preservation Board (NFPB). For selected films, the Library of Congress Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation works to ensure that the film is preserved for future generations, either through the Library’s motion-picture preservation program or through collaborative ventures with other archives, motion-picture studios, and independent filmmakers.
The Packard Campus is a state-of-the-art facility where the nation’s library acquires, preserves, and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings.”
Luxo Jr. (1986)
“The iconic living, moving desk lamp that now begins every Pixar motion picture (from “Finding Nemo” to “Monsters, Inc.” to “Up”) has its genesis in this charming, computer-animated short subject, directed by John Lasseter and produced by Lasseter and fellow Pixar visionary Bill Reeves. In the two-minute, 30-second film, two gray balance-arm lamps—one parentally large and one childishly small (the “Junior” of the title)—interact with a brightly colored ball. In strikingly vivid animation, Lasseter and Reeves manage to bring to joyous life these two inanimate objects and to infuse them both with personality and charm—qualities that would become the norm in such soon-to-be Pixar productions as “Toy Story,” “Cars” and “WALL-E.” Nominated for an Oscar in 1986 for best-animated short, “Luxo Jr.” was the first three-dimensional computer-animated film ever to be nominated for an Academy Award.”
It should also be noted that two previous Pixar projects have also been included in the National Film Registry – Tin Toy in 2003 and Toy Story in 2005. What is fantastic about Toy Story is that it was added exactly ten years after its 1995 release whereas most of the 650 films included in the registry were added many years later. This shows that the Library of Congress clearly saw the importance and significance of the film, preserving Toy Story as soon as it was eligible for inclusion.
As a fun fact, the six films included exactly ten years after their initial release are:
- 13 Lakes – Released 2004 / Included 2014
- Do the Right Thing – Released 1989 / Included 1999
- Fargo – Released 1996 / Included 2006
- Goodfellas – Released 1990 / Included 2000
- Raging Bull – Released 1980 / Included 1990
- Toy Story – Released 1995 / Included 2005