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'Happy Mother's Day, Yoko!': John Lennon-Inspired 'War Is Over' Wins Oscar for Best Animated Short

Sean Ono Lennon gave a shout-out to his mother Yoko Ono from the Academy Awards stage.

war is over
Source: MEGA
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A years-after-the-fact visual companion to John Lennon and Yoko Ono's classic 1971 single "Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," the short film War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John and Yoko won the Oscar for Best Animated Short at the Academy Awards on March 10.

Directed by Pixar veteran Dave Mullins, the animated short was created with creative input from Peter Jackson and Sean Ono Lennon (son of John and Yoko), the latter of whom joined Mullins and producer Brad Booker onstage to accept the award.

Quieting the orchestra as it began to play the winners off, Lennon recruited the audience to send a special shout-out. "My mother turned 91 this February," Lennon said from the stage, "and today is Mother's Day in the U.K., so I just wanted everyone to say, Happy Mother’s Day, Yoko." The audience immediately obliged.

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john yoko
Source: MEGA

John and Yoko's 1971 single got a years-after-the-fact visual companion.

Mullins kept his remarks brief immediately prior, saying: "John and Yoko wrote a song that inspired us, that has an anti-war message we tried to honor with this film."

Amazingly, this is the second major industry award to go to a Beatles-inspired short film this year, with Em Cooper's "I'm Only Sleeping" picking up a Grammy Award for Best Music Video in February.

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sean ono lennon
Source: MEGA

Sean Ono Lennon lead a Mother's Day tribute to his mother Yoko from the Oscar stage.

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According to an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, the War Is Over project began with Lennon wanting to reintroduce the song's timeless message. The song "just felt like it deserved some kind of piece to help get it out there for another generation," Lennon said. The only problem was that every music video idea appeared "goofy," he noted. "Like a Hallmark kind of thing. What are we going to show, a family sitting around a fire? It needed an actual narrative."

Lennon connected with Dave Mullins, who had directed Pixar’s 2017 Oscar-nominated short film Lou, and started a job as the CEO of a new, LA-based animation studio called ElectroLeague in 2020. He came up with an 11-minute animated movie about a chess game played across enemy lines with the help of a heroic carrier pigeon.

john yoko
Source: MEGA

'John and Yoko wrote a song that inspired us, that has an anti-war message we tried to honor with this film,' said director Dave Mullins.

The film took visual style cues from artists such as Norman Rockwell and early 20th century illustrator JC Leyendecker, as well as stylized World War I propaganda posters.

The movie closes with the Lennon and Ono song over the credits, but the story itself unfolds against a score written by 15-time Oscar nominee Thomas Newman, who has written the music for features like Shawshank Redemption, WALL-E and Skyfall.


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