Nobody at the Oscars understands animation.
They seem to believe that Disney and Pixar are the only studios actually make anything decent, and then they just fill up the rest of the slots with whatever nominators saw last in theater without thought.
Don’t get me wrong, this year’s nominees include Pixar’s Coco, Cartoon Saloon’s The Breadwinner and Loving Vincent, all of which are honestly well-crafted films with interesting stories with Loving Vincent being fully painted, and using professional painters rather than animators. But, the other two nominees are Dreamworks’ The Boss Baby and Blue Sky Studio’s Ferdinand, neither of which really seem deserving of the label “Oscar nominee.”
Now, The Boss Baby was actually better than I thought it would be but still wasn’t amazing…And Ferdinand…Well, I haven’t seen it because it seemed like a generic children’s movie, just based off a well-known book.
There were so many better choices: Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie, The Lego Batman Movie, and Mary and the Witch’s Flower (which probably doesn’t count since it didn’t get released in the states until mid-January). But, how are people supposed to take the medium seriously if it seems like that pretty much any animated film can be nominated?
Now it’s true that the Oscars have been around for 90 years, and the animated award category has only been around 2001 since that was the first year there were enough animated films to justify it…but it’s been 17 years, and we’ve had so many amazing animated films that people should know what makes a good animated film versus what makes an spectacular animated versus what makes an average one.
Last year was a really good year for animated films at the Oscars; the winner was Zootopia, which by virtue of being a Disney film was a near obvious winner, but it went up against Moana, Laika’s Kubo and the Two Strings, My Life as a Zucchini and Wild Bunch and Ghibli’s co-production of The Red Turtle. All of these are great films, not just great animated films but great films, period.
Prediction for the Oscars:
Coco will win Best Animated Feature.
It’s the only one well known enough to all audiences, and it’s Pixar. I loved the movie and definitely think the nomination is well deserved. The fact that it features a non-white lead during a traditional Mexican holiday is important and a win might encourage others to look at other non-European cultures.
But, I’d just like to see more variety in the wins. Disney and Pixar movies have won the vast majority of Oscar animated features, so it would be cool if the next Laika production wins, whatever it’s about.
Also, Coco will not win Best Original Song for “Remember Me.” It should. But it won’t.