No stranger to film-festivals around the globe, two-time Academy Award-nominated director, writer, producer and animator Mark Osborne has touched the hearts of many throughout his career. Most recognizable for his work on Kung-Fu Panda (starring Jack Black, Jackie Chan and Lucy Liu) The Spongebob Squarepants Movie, and Spongebob Squarepants (the animated television series) this native Trentonian is being celebrated today for his contributions to the world of animated film.
Born in Trenton on September 17, 1970 Osborne spent most of his childhood in Woodstock, Vermont until the age of 14 when his family moved to Flemington, New Jersey where he graduated from Hunterdon Central Regional High School in 1988. Following graduation, Osborne studied Foundation Art at Pratt Institute in New York prior to earning his bachelor’s degree in Experimental Animation from the California Institute of the Arts in 1992.
The film he directed for his thesis titled Greener, captivated audiences at more than forty different film festivals across the world. In 1999, Osborne was nominated for an Academy Award for his work on the stop motion animated short, More. Not only was this short film displayed at over 150 film festivals worldwide but, it gained an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Short (1999), the award for SXSW Best Animated Short (1999), the Critics Week Selection for CANNES (1999), Special Jury Prize for Short Films at the Sundance Film Festival (1999) and many other awards.
In 2008 Osborne was again nominated for an Academy Award for his work alongside fellow director John Stevenson on Kung Fu Panda. For quite some time afterwards, Osborne taught stop-motion at his old university, California Institute of the Arts. Throughout 2010-2015 Osborne spent most of his time directing the animated film, The Little Prince which featured the voice talents of Jeff Bridges, Mackenzie Foy, James Franco, Marion Cottillard, Paul Rudd, Ricky Gervais and many others.
Osborne, who helped singer Chris Martin (of the band Coldplay) to create the story of Coldplay’s Mylo Xyloto concept album, also directed the video for “Hurts Like Heaven,” to which he wrote the first issue of a comic adaptation and still hopes to turn the album into a film.