Monday, March 1, 2010

Animated Oscar

Ok let's talk about the best-animated feature Oscar.

As an academy member I must see all of the films. However I missed a few of them, "Planet 51", "Astro Boy" and "A Christmas Carol". But I've seen all of the nominated films. I first would like to complain about a couple of films that should have been nominated. "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs" is a wonderful creative, imaginative film. Also I thought "Ponyo" by the great Hayao Miyazaki would have gotten nominated but alas it was a tough year.

As for the nominated films let's start with "Up", the Pixar blockbuster that is the odds on favorite for the gold statuette. I love all the Pixar films and this one is excellent though not my favorite.
Then there's Disney's "The Princess and the Frog" a retro 2D tale that's filled with charm and great music. Any other year I'd vote for this film because it's traditional animation and also wildly entertaining although the frogs are badly designed.
"The Secret of the Kells" by Tom Moore is a real dark horse candidate from Ireland. I met Tom in Zagreb and fell in love with the film. With absolutely no promotional budget it has an extremely slim chance to win the Oscar. But it's a feast for the eyes.
"Coraline" by Henry Selick is another of my favorites. It has a great style, imaginative story, and darker than usual Oscar nomination. But I loved it!
And lastly and least is "The Fantastic Mr. Fox" by Wes "The Quirk" Anderson. Not only is the story totally bland but also the style is very dull and anti-visual. I hated the character and background design.
How the hell did this film get nominated?

I haven't cast my vote yet and I'm not supposed to reveal my vote. But I will say it's down to "The Secret of the Kells" and "Coraline". But I rarely vote for the film that ultimately wins but heh! you never know.


  1. I too was surprised that Mr. Fox got nominated. However, I found the story compelling and enjoyed the set design. The character design and animation left something to be desired, but overall this was a fun movie that melds perfectly with Mr. Anderson's other films.

    As for Coraline, visually, yes it was stunning, and you can't knock the animation. For me though, it was too long, I was bored and ready for it to end 20 minutes or so before it did.

  2. finally! someone else who didn't think Mr. fox was so fantastic!
    I haven't seen Kells yet, though I desperately want to, but of other four I have seen I think Up is the best, though they're all pretty great, really, save that fox film, and it's actually kinda hard to say objectively that any one is "The Best," as each has their unique merits.

  3. Well, Bill, I think Coraline is atrocious but loved Mr. Fox!

    Take that!

  4. I can't figure out how you could nominate fantastic mr fox" over "Ponyo".

  5. NYT article on Kells today

  6. Pixar usually sweeps the oscars. I agree that its a mystery as to how Mr.Fox got so far. I watched the first half of the movie and walked out on it. It was visually painful to watch.

  7. Up all the way, followed by Kells. Up had such a solid story with an unlikely hero. Also the character animation mastery. There were so many subtleties to all the characters the other films just couldn't match. The raw emotion shown in Up wasn't even matched by any live action films this year! Up deserves Best Picture instead of Best Animated Feature. Burn the Ghetto!

  8. It's sad Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs didn't get a nomination as it's arguably the best cg movie made. And the animated short nominations are even weirder.
    I haven't seen Kells but I would go with Coraline because even though it was boring the animation was smooth and original, also there are solid technical achievements behind it.

  9. Sorry, Bill, but I liked The Fantastic Mr. Fox quite a bit and thought Princess and the Frog was the least of the candidates. I enjoyed the roughness of the animation, which reminded me of classical European stop-motion, and found a number of moments that cleverly toyed with its own limited technique. Princess and the Frog had good work on its villain and a terrific switch in style early on, but nothing about the film stood out other than the fact that the narrative was an absolute undeveloped mess riddled with plot holes and attempts at big emotional moments without any justification whatsoever. I'm sorry, but I can't be a fan of a musical-comedy where the only funny scene is the death scene.

    I'm absolutely on board with Ponyo, however, which I liked more than just about any of the nominees except perhaps for The Secret of Kells. These films were beautifully animated, and made no attempt to conform to the traditional Hollywood model of storytelling that would have defeated the purposes of either. Both films had my favorite use of music for this entire year. Most importantly, I found both astonishingly human (yes, Ponyo was human storytelling...where else this year has there been anything like that empty car scene?).

    For such an outstanding year, I'm sorry the Academy had made my choice so easy, but I really wouldn't be sore about any of these films winning (except for The Princess and the Frog, which still deserves praise for the hard work put into many of its individual elements).

  10. So many excellent films this year.. Didn't care for Up or Princess and the Frog, I too would have liked to see Cloudy and Ponyo nominated. But have you seen the great Mary & Max and Town Called Panic? What did you think about them?

  11. Wow! Bill you have no idea how refreshing it is to find people working in the industry that didn't like Mr. Fox either. I thought it looked like a bunch of second year film students took a some dolls and tried to make an animation over a semester. :( Personally, I was rooting for Secret of Kells or Coraline but knew they wouldn't win due to the Pixar juggernaut being in play. I thought Up was a very likable film but not as good as Coraline or Kells.