The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse began life as a series of Instagram and Facebook postings by Charlie Mackesy, musing on the pandemic and sharing his drawings. Then it morphed into a beautiful illustrated book. I gave the book to my best friend soon after it was published and I got one for myself, too. And then, there came news that this lovely story was going to be transformed into an animated film AND Gabriel Byrne was going to voice The Horse, my fav character! The film was such a holiday treat: warm and tender, beautiful to look at, with gentle music and all those remarkable voices bringing Charlie’s story to life on the screen. Then, unexpectedly and delightfully, it won the BAFTA Award.

And now? Now, THE OSCAR for Best Animated Short Film. THE OSCAR! Charlie and all his colleagues have won the Academy Award. On behalf of fans of both the story and The Horse, I would like to add a heart-felt W A H O O! to the shouts of praise and congratulations this achievement so readily deserves!

HOLLYWOOD, CA – MARCH 12: Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud accept the award for Animated Short Film at the 95th Academy Awards in the Dolby Theatre on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California. (Myung J. Chun / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Deadline reports:

London-based PR maven Matthew Freud, joined by fellow Brit and collaborator Charlie Mackesy, offered his apologies for winning the Oscar for Short Film (Animated) for The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse.

“I’ve never made a film before, so this is bewildering,” Freud said in accepting the trophy. “I know the protocol is to say ‘thank you’ a lot, but I’m British, so I’m more comfortable saying ‘sorry.’ So, I’m really sorry to all the people who should be on this stage with us,” alluding to the large crew and voice cast who teamed up for two years during COVID to make the film. Freud closed by quipping that he was “also really sorry to my children, my girlfriend and my colleagues at [PR firm] Freuds for basically being absent over the last two years.”

The Boy came into Oscar night as a heavy favorite in the category. The heart-tugging, hand-animated tale of the unlikely bond formed among four creatures trekking across a snowy landscape had an array of high-profile backers . . .

Taking the mic from Freud, Mackesy recounted a conversation with a woman from his hometown who was helping him with his outfit for Oscar night. “She said, ‘You know, Charlie, it takes a lot of courage to make a film and I think when you go there, there will be a lot of brave, brave people in the same room.’ … It’s really true.” Along with contemplative sentiments, Mackesy also thanked his dog, but sheepishly admitted that the pet had been left “back at the hotel” during the ceremony. “I don’t even think I’m supposed to say that, I’m sorry.”

These guys cracked me up with their wry Brit humor! Read the entire article for more.

The official press release from Apple

“We are so proud of Charlie and the brilliant team who brought The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse to the screen and we sincerely thank the Academy for tonight’s recognition,” said Zack Van Amburg, Apple’s head of Worldwide Video. “This powerful story has deeply affected audiences around the world and has shown that no matter what age you are or where you live, it’s never too late to spread more compassion, empathy, and kindness in our daily lives. Congratulations to everyone involved, including our teams across the globe. We are all celebrating with you tonight.”

Apple is so happy! Read more of the article.

Variety tells us:

Apple took home its first animated short Oscar for “The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse,” a magical fable featuring a star-studded voice cast and luxurious hand-drawn animation.

The film won at the 95th Academy Awards over the category’s other nominees: Pamela Ribon and Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s buzzy “My Year of Dicks”; “The Flying Sailor” from Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby; “Ice Merchants” from João Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano; and Lachlan Pendragon’s “An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It.”

Read more here.

I think Variety really wanted the film about you-know-whats to win, but Charlie won instead and we are jumping up and down here at Byrneholics for this wonderful achievement!

For the list of all the nominations and winners of the 2023 Academy Awards, check out The Guardian.

And be sure to raise your glass and send a hearty “Congratulations!” to Charlie and his friends who made this touching piece of art and who now must be basking in the glow of the very fitting recognition it has received!

Kudos, Charlie! And kudos to you, too, Gabriel Byrne, for bringing my favorite character in the book to life. heart


  1. Corazón de Irlanda

    I was waiting for this post basically from the moment I read that the movie had won.

    • I know. I was driving all day yesterday trying to get home from a trip and then I fell asleep once I finally made it. So I missed it all. But WAHOO! for this big win! So exciting! <3

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