Editor’s note: This is part of a 37-part series dissecting the 86th Academy Awards, brought to you by the Large Association of Movie Blogs and its assorted members. Nearly every day leading up to the Oscars, at least one new post written by a different LAMB will be published, each covering a different category of the Oscars. Also, every Best Picture and Best Director nominee gets its own post. To read the other posts regarding this event, please click here. Thank you, and enjoy!
BY TODD OF FORGOTTEN FILMS
There is a good chance that history will be made in the Best Animated Feature category of this year’s Academy Awards. This is only the 13th year for this award, despite the long history of animated feature films. Of course, the legend has it that the first animated feature film was Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs in 1937. In reality, there were earlier animated features such as the 1926 Lotte Reiniger film The Adventures of Prince Achmed. Still, there is perhaps nobody more responsible for advancing the art of animation than Uncle Walt. Yet Disney has yet to get any Oscar gold in this category. Of the 12 animated features Disney has released since the creation of this award, only 6 have been nominated…none of them has won.
There’s a good chance that all changes this year. As we all know, anything is possible with these awards, but for once Disney has what many would consider one of this year’s Oscar locks. Frozen has been nothing short of a phenomenon. It has been praised by critics and has had amazing longevity at the box office. Many have compared it to the the films of Disney’s Renaissance of the 90’s. If asked for my prediction, I say Disney’s dry spell ends this year.
Of course, there are four more films vying for the prize. These films fall into two categories for me. First we have the two traditional hand-drawn films. Both of these films also come from outside of Hollywood. Ernest and Celestine is a French-Belgian film based on a series of children’s books, and The Wind Rises from Japanese animation legend Hayao Miyazaki. Neither of these films has had anywhere near the exposure that their competitors have. Miyazaki’s film is actually still a few weeks away from its wide release. While Miyazaki can never be ruled out in this category, his film Spirited Away was the 2nd recipient of this award back in 2002, the chances of either of these films winning the award is fairly slim.
The other two films nominated, Despicable Me 2 and The Croods, can be grouped together as the film’s that shouldn’t have been nominated in the first place! Ok, I realize that’s pretty harsh, but I was legitimately surprised by the inclusion of these two films among this year’s nominees. I did enjoy aspects of Despicable Me 2…it did make me laugh at times. But looking at it in terms of advancing the art of animation, I thought it was weak. For me, the film was way too busy…downright headache inducing, in fact. I can’t really say there was anything I enjoyed about The Croods. I found the character design to be ugly and completely unappealing. It didn’t help that the voice work was just plain awful, as well.
What baffles me is that left out, in favor of these two lesser efforts, was Pixar’s Monsters University. I admit the film has some issues. It’s missing a strong villain and an exciting conclusion like it’s predecessor has. Artistically speaking, though, it is world’s better than the minion and caveman films are. At least the folks at Pixar can cheer for their studio brothers at Disney as the mouse house should bring home this award for the first time.
Tags: LAMB Devours The Oscars