The film Aningaaq, which serves as a companion piece to Gravity, has appeared online courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter. The seven-minute short complements a scene in the feature that is only partially heard and not seen: it shows who is on the other end of a transmission when Sandra Bullock’s astronaut character makes contact with an Earthly voice that does not speak English.
Now we’re able to see that the voice belongs to an Inuit living in icy tundra. As Bullock describes her situation, floating hundreds of miles above the planet, the man on the other end, Aningaaq, takes swigs from a bottle and howls like his sled dogs. Most poignantly, though, it shows just how normally he reacts when they lose contact.
Aningaaq is poised to make Oscar history should the Academy nominate it alongside Gravity for awards next year. It was originally intended to be an extra on the Blu-ray release of the movie, according to THR, but because it has received attention at festivals, Warner Home Video is submitting it for Oscar consideration. If it were to be nominated in the live-action short category, alongside the Bullock movie, it would be the first feature and spinoff short ever to do so in the same year.
Aningaaq director and writer Jonás Cuarón, who cowrote the screenplay for Gravity, conceived the short as his father, Alfonso, directed the feature film. As they were figuring out how the screenplay could be shot, the younger Cuarón got the idea for the short. Jonás shot Aningaaq “guerilla style,” according to THR, on a Greenland fjord in enough time for the audio to be included in the feature film. Jonas told the magazine he worked hard to “make it a piece that could stand on its own.” It was budgeted at $100,000, most of which covered the crew’s travel costs.
“It’s this moment where the audience and the character get this hope that [Bullock’s character] is finally going to be OK,” Jonas, 31, said to the magazine. “Then you realize that everything gets lost in translation.” The Inuit character was based, reportedly, on a drunken native the elder Cuarón encountered on an unrelated Greenland visit.
Bullock, who appears in voice only in the short, reportedly commented positively about Aningaaq at a recent press conference. She called it “absolutely beautiful piece of loneliness. . . I get goosebumps thinking about it.”