Luxo Jr. (1986) is one of Pixar’s famed short films for a number of reasons – it was the first short produced under the Pixar brand (previously, when the studio was a subsidiary of Lucasfilm, The Adventures of André and Wally B. was animated by a young John Lasseter), and the titular character has gone on to become the official mascot for the studio, appearing at the start of every Pixar project. The Luxo Jr. short was already close to the heart of the studio, but now it will live on through history, as the project is being preserved in the United States’ National Film Registry.
The registry, established in 1988, is a collection of films considered to be “cultural, historical or aesthetic cinematic treasures” by the National Film Preservation Board. Each year, up to 25 films are added to the registry, and then preserved in the Library of Congress. Being named a “national treasure” is not new territory for Pixar, as two of its previous works are already part of the registry – Tin Toy and Toy Story, ironic because the former served as an inspiration for the latter.
In a press release released by the Library of Congress, a description of Luxo, Jr. is provided:
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.
Considering the significance of Luxo Jr. to the film industry (its success paved the way for essentially the entire computer animation industry), it deserves to be preserved as the short film will officially never be forgotten.