It’s Oscar weekend, and one animated nominee is making the rounds on its way to a viral sensation. Disney’s short Paperman, with its unique combination of traditional and computer-generated animation, was an immediate hit when it debuted in theaters with Wreck-It Ralph in November. Since the short released online several weeks ago, though, it’s gained even more praise, fans, and, perhaps most of important of all, momentum.
Disney is doing a fair job of promoting Paperman for those who didn’t see Wreck-It Ralph (or maybe just want to see the short again). On Valentine’s Day, it was prominently displayed on Hulu’s homepage, pictured above, for all to see, just as much in the spotlight as the newest episodes of Modern Family and American Idol.
That being said, Disney is also getting plenty of free promotion from fans eager to share their love of Paperman. The Tumblr account Blowing Off Steam shot a “cosplay,” or costume play, retelling the story through photography inside Disney California Adventure. The park recently opened a new land, Buena Vista Street, that depicts a 1920s-era Hollywood, the perfect setting for a Paperman re-enactment.
A lot is at stake for Walt Disney Animation Studios as Oscar Sunday arrives. If Paperman wins for Best Animated Short Film, it will be Disney’s first score in the category since 1969’s It’s Tough to Be a Bird. Additionally, if Wreck-It Ralph takes home the Best Animated Film prize, it will be the studio’s first-ever win in the category it (arguably) prompted the existence of.
The Academy Awards will air Sunday, February 24 at 8:30 p.m. EST on ABC following a red-carpet telecast at 7.