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As popular as Walt Disney Animation is, the people behind the images rarely get the credit that they deserve. Recently, Josh Gad tried to change that by spotlighting the man he believes was responsible for the success of Olaf the Snowman. Hyrum Osmond was the supervising animator in charge of Olaf when Frozen was produced. He went on to become the head of animation for Moana, but now he's leaving Walt Disney Animation Studios, and on the occasion, Josh Gad posted a lovely tribute to the man as a thank you for his work.
The image, of Olaf giving a warm hug to Mickey Mouse, was hand drawn by Hyrum Osmund for his daughter and the animator posted it to Instagram shortly before he revealed publicly that he was leaving Disney animation. Thus far Osmund's public bios still list him only as having worked for Disney, so exactly what he's got planned next is unknown, though one would expect his skills as an animator would be in high demand following his work with Disney.
Hyrum Osmond leaving Disney means that somebody else will need to step into his shoes and take on the responsibility of handling Olaf's animation, as we know that Frozen 2 is a project currently underway at the studio, eyeing a November 2019 release. There's a good chance Osmond had been working on the project, though possibly in another position, before making his decision to leave.
It's really nice to see Josh Gad pay tribute to the animator's work, as all too often these people are unsung heroes. We can argue over whether the animator or the voice is the person who really gives a character "life," but there's no argument that both are absolutely vital to a character's success. Hyrum Osmund, reciprocates the love in a response to Josh Gad's tweet, thanks Gad for his work, and saying that Olaf is being left in good hands.
It will be interesting to see what the future holds for Olaf the Snowman. We last saw the character in a starring role in the animated short Olaf's Frozen Adventure, that was released both theatrically and on television during the Christmas season. Josh Gad has made his feelings known to us what he'd like to see from the character in Frozen 2. With well over a year to wait, we'll have to see what a new animation team has in store for everybody's favorite happy snowman.