A selection of the best animation news, opinions, and features from around the world for the week ending January 25th, 2020.Read more
It’s that fabled time of the year, when the entertainment industry gets itself into a tizzy about shiny objects handed out to people for their efforts over the past year. It’s an exciting period to be sure, and the rumour mill is rife with who will win what, and who got snubbed this time, etc. etc. For all the season’s entertainment value on its own though, I’m giving awards season a miss this year, and the reasons aren’t as straightforward as you might expect.
The Annie Awards were last night and as seems to have become an annual tradition, the whining and tit for tat that follow have again come to the fore. The nature of this post is thinking on a plane much higher than those noises when it asks:
Should the Annie Awards be eliminated, scrapped, retired, done away with, in their entirety?
This is the second part of my look at the annual slew of advertisements asking for consideration for films at award time. You can read the first part here.
Another film that I have yet to see (although my compadre David Levy has and loves it) The Illusionist is thus far (as I flip through the magazine) the most traditional ad, with the title, who made it, some review quotes and the request for inclusion in “all categories”.
As great as this film appears to be, it stands an outside chance in almost any category besides best animated feature. I would personally love to see it clinch a statuette but if The Secret of Kells couldn’t muster one against Up, there is little hope for The Illusionist. The upside is that the free publicity accompanying an nomination will serve the film well over the next few months, which for some, is just as good.
Legends of the Guardian
By all accounts, the closest thing we’ve got to an animated film that looks live-action. Stunningly beautiful but hopelessly technical in it’s beauty. It’s yet another one I have not seen, but it is gunning for the Best Animated Feature Award. I don’t know the odds, but it’s yet another film that could be said to be on the fringes.
Day & Night
Yup, the funny little “cartoon modern” style short is looking for the Best Animated Short nod and while it is a fantastic little film with plenty of spunk to it’s two characters, the competition in the shorts category is much stiffer than the features. The reason is simple, shorts cost a heck of a lot less than features so more people can afford to create them. As good as it is, I think it would be a shame for Night & Day to get it, what with all the excellent films that are also in the running for the nomination alone.
Released late in the year, this film is still fresh in everyone’s mind, a fact that often plays into the minds of voters. The ad (which is quite similar to the one at the top of the post) is also very traditional, with a few stills from the film, a listing of which categories it would like a nod in and the requisite “for your consideration”.
Tangled stands a good chance in the animated category, and is certainly a film worthy of the award. It does irk me however, that it doesn’t go for any categories outside the animated ones besides Best Original Song. It’s as if Disney (read: Pixar) would like to keep this film squarely confined to the categories that all ‘traditional’ Disney films are confined to, all the while Pixar continues its lust for glory as it competes against the live-action boys.
Yes, I know both firms are joined at the hip, but there does seems to be a two-tier system in place that perhaps is the last remnant of the Eisner days. Hopefully in years to come, Disney itself will put out film of the same calibre as Pixar and that both of them can together clobber some live-action film for Best Feature. In the meantime, I’m going to have to wait for my bookie to get back to me on what the odds are for Tangled. Let’s just say I wouldn’t be disappointed if it won something.
So there you have it, a long post I know but it was worth it. Now we just have to wait and see how wrong I was!
It must be award season already. How do I know? For one, the latest issue of Animation Magazine that came through the letterbox when I was away is the annual ‘award’ issue, which means it jammed full of ads asking me for my ‘consideration’. Which would be great, if only my consideration counted for something, which right now, it does not much of anything.
So let’s take a quick peek at what animated films are
grovelling for requesting consideration for the various accolades that will be handed out in the coming months.
Toy Story 3
Beginning with the one on the cover, we see Woody sitting on a toilet bowl with the words
Not since On the Waterfront…
Now I’m no cinematic genius, but I know that said film is well known as one of the best ever made, it was also our film study in Levaing Cert Higher Level English, so I am familiar with the intricacies of the plot and the characters. And still, how Toy Story 3 compares to it and the Academy Awards is quite beyond me. It’s well known at this point that it is gunning for the Best Picture Award, so perhaps that is what they are attempting to compare themselves to.
The only problem is that if you are comparing yourself to a true classic like On The Waterfront, you’d better be darned sure that your film is up to par, which sadly, Toy Story 3 is not. As good of a film as it is, it can’t even hold a candle to the original in terms of character and story quality and I’m afraid to say that at this point, Pixar is starting to trade on a lot of the public (and Academy member’s) goodwill.
How To Train Your Dragon
There’s a special insert for How to Train Your Dragon that is really just a mini-issue with the articles on the film that have been published in previous issues. It’s a clever ploy as it gives the reader much more detail about the film and its background than does a simple ad, which is found on the back page.
My fondness for this film is well documented, so let’s just say that I am eager to see this one succeed. There is no listing for which honours it is chasing, but as mentioned here previously, the Best Feature Award is within DreamWorks’ sights. Personally, I think Dragon stands a much better and more deserved chance of winning than Toy Story, but that’s just my personal preferences.
Next up is Despicable Me, which wisely sticks to the animated feature, song and score categories. Despite it being a still from the film (which I thought would have been a lot sharper), it depicts Gru and the three girls coming in the door from the fair, their faces covered in silly paint (Gru is a rabbit).
This film, I think, stands a good chance of one-upping the establishment. it’s proven to be popular with audiences, and although I have not seen it myself (I know, I know, the shame, the shame), I am pretty sure that it has the solid storyline and characters to back it up. This is certainly one to watch over the season.
The original film was the nexus point for CGI theatrical films and this one is perhaps the ultimate blurring point between animation and special effects, although I believe it falls much more into the latter as a result of using live actors (Jeff Bridges aside). Comments will have to wait until another day, although it again, wisely chases the technical categories.
And that’s it for part one. Come back tomorrow for the conclusion to this thrilling, two-part post!