Charlie Mackesy says people’s reactions to his book The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse and its film adaptation were “a greater honor” than his newly won Oscar.
Mackesy, 60, said he was “speechless” after the win but the stories he had been told about the impact of his work were “golden”.
The BBC adaptation of his book won the Oscar for Best Animated Short Film on Sunday.
The illustrated book explores the friendship between the four title characters as they journey together in search of a home, and features voice acting.
British actors Tom Hollander and Idris Elba voiced the film’s characters, as well as its composer Isobel Waller-Bridge, sister of Fleabag star Phoebe.
“Awards are amazing and I’m speechless to be honest, but a bigger award has been people’s reaction to the book and the movie,” Mackesy said in the Oscar winners’ room.
He told the story of a woman whose five-year-old grandson told her she was “enough just the way you are” – a quote from his book.
“She said tears rolled down her face in the street, not just because of her realization, but[because]she knew he was going to let those words flow through him for the rest of his days,” he said.
“That’s gold to me, you know?”
In his acceptance speech, Mackesy praised the “courage” of the filmmakers.
He also recalled speaking to an acquaintance about going to the Oscars and said she told him, “I think it takes a lot of courage to do a film and I think if you go there, it will.” be a lot of very brave people in the same room.”
He added, “I looked at her and said, yeah, I think you’re right — and it’s really true.”
Producer Matthew Freud said: “We’ve never made a film before, so beyond that it’s confusing. I know it’s protocol to say thank you, but I’m British so I’m more comfortable apologizing.”
After thanking his family, he added, “But this statue is for the dog Vincent and the boy Charlie.”
The short film was produced by Star Wars director JJ Abrams and Hannah Minghella of Bad Robot Productions.
Following its publication in 2019, The Boy, The Mole, The Fox And The Horse was named Book of the Year by Waterstones and shortlisted for Lifestyle Non-Fiction of the Year at the British Book Awards.