Tag Archives: Academy Awards

Thoughts on the 2014 Oscars

Mr. Hublot
“Mr. Hublot.”

Another Academy Awards ceremony has come and gone…and with it, another batch of winners.

As highly expected, “Frozen” won the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Meanwhile, the Best Animated Short winner is “Mr. Hublot.” Apparently “Hublot” was deemed a surprise win, at least according to Cartoon Brew.

Meanwhile, “Frozen”‘s signature song “Let It Go” also won for Best Original Song.

As for the ceremony itself, Ellen DeGeneres did a vastly better job than last year’s Seth MacFarlane… of course, a pet rock could’ve done a better job than Seth MacFarlane (no slight intended against Ellen). Hopefully the Oscars folks have learned their lesson on who the cast for hosting duties.

The ceremony had a “heroes” theme, which was shown through the use of various time-filling montages, both live-action and animated. The animated montage of heroes saw a lot of Disney/Pixar clips, as well as clips of the Pink Panther and Shrek. Bizarrely missing: Warner Bros.’ characters—no Looney Tunes, Superman (the theatrical Fleischer shorts) or Batman (“Mask of the Phantasm” was released theatrically). I suspect the award show airing on ABC (which is owned by Disney) and/or rights issues might have something to do with the lack of Bugs Bunny, at a minimum. Meanwhile, the live-action heroes montage saw a lot of footage (plus a voiceover) from “Man of Steel,” but no Christopher Reeve Superman. A disappointing choice, especially given the mixed reviews/reception for “Man of Steel.” That said, it’s interesting that Superman got much more screentime than Batman (just a clip from one of the Nolan films?).

A full list of the Oscar winners is available here. “Mr. Hublot” is also available for viewing on YouTube, though not an official upload, from what I can tell.

The 2014 Oscar animation nominees

Bugs Bunny with his OscarThis year’s Academy Award nominees have been announced. As usual, I’ll note which ones should win and (in my opinion) are likely to win, plus thoughts on the Oscar nominees.

A full list of nominees in all Oscar categories are available here. The ceremony will air on Sunday, March 2 at 7 PM Eastern/6 PM Central on ABC.

Animated Feature Film

  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Ernest & Celestine
  • Frozen
  • The Wind Rises

Will win:

“Frozen.”

Should win:

While I’ve only seen “Despicable Me 2″ (as of this writing), various reviews, etc. and the Academy’s tastes (Disney/Pixar often being a lock, no matter what they’re up against) would suggest “Frozen.” “Croods” and “Despicable Me 2″ are probably too “lower tier” as films to win, while I’m guessing they won’t give the award to a foreign film like “The Wind Rises” or “Ernest & Celestine.”

Comments:

Odd that this year, “The Croods” managed to get nominated, but Pixar’s “Monsters University” was locked out. Unless they figured one film from Disney and/or its subsidiary Pixar was “enough,” and preferred “Frozen” over Mike and Sulley.

“The Wind Rises” is the final project by famed Japanese animated film director Hayao Miyazaki, who’s retiring. “Ernest & Celestine” is a Franco-Belgium effort.

Short Film, Animated

  • Feral
  • Get a Horse!
  • Mr. Hublot
  • Possessions
  • Room on the Broom

Will win:

Not sure, but it won’t be “Get a Horse!”; Mickey’s been nominated nine times for Oscars, seven of those back in the Golden Age of animation, and won once, for 1941′s “Lend a Paw.” Never mind that was more of a Pluto cartoon, but I suppose a win’s a win for Disney’s most famous character.

Should win:

See above.

Comments:

The Academy prefers art house fare these days for this category, versus slapstick humor back in the Golden Age (the Academy had some sort of obsession with “Tom and Jerry,” given it won tons of Oscars). While I haven’t (as of this writing) seen the films in this category, I’d assume the most “artistic” one of the bunch will win.

Music, Original Song

  • “Alone Yet Not Alone” from “Alone Yet Not Alone”
  • “Happy” from “Despicable Me 2″
  • “Let It Go” from “Frozen”
  • “The Moon Song” from “Her”
  • “Ordinary Love” from “Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom”

Will win:

It’ll be between “Frozen” and one of the live-action movies.

Should win:

Not sure, but suspect “Frozen” based on online praising of the film’s soundtrack, plus Disney’s general track record in this category in the past few decades.

(Update, 1/29/14) News came today of the disqualification of “Alone Yet Not Alone,” on the grounds of unauthorized campaigning techniques being used by the song’s creator (more details in this Entertainment Weekly article). Thus, one less song for the others to compete with.

Comments:

Not heard all the songs in this category, but it seems like there’s more choices this year than, say, in 2011, when the only two choices were “Man or Muppet” from “The Muppets” movie or “Real in Rio” from “Rio.”

“Brave,” “Paperman” win the 2013 animation Oscars

BraveA bit late, but thought I’d note that this year’s Academy Award animation winners are:

  • Animated Feature Film: “Brave” by Pixar.
  • Animated Short Film: “Paperman” by Disney.

Looks like I guessed right (as vague as my guesses were), and it’s a sweep for Disney this year. This year also marks a strong showing for women in animation, between “Brave” being Pixar’s first film with a female lead and “Paperman” produced by a woman named Kristina Reed.

The low point of the evening, of course, was Seth MacFarlane hosting the ceremonies. While I opted to watch “The Amazing Race” instead of the Oscars, I did keep up on goings-on via Twitter, and wasn’t pleased with what I read. Between MacFarlane’s usual bottom-feeding humor and “The Onion”‘s inappropriate tweet about one of the child actresses, this must easily be one of the worst Oscar ceremonies I can recall. Maybe next year the Academy should offer this year’s Golden Globes hosts (Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, who I heard were quite popular) twice whatever the Globes-folks paid them to host. That, or just stick with Billy Crystal.

The 2013 Oscar animation nominations

Bugs Bunny with his OscarThis year’s Academy Award nominations were announced yesterday. For animation, the nominees (and my guesses who’ll win) are below:

Animated Feature Film

  • Brave
  • Frankenweenie
  • ParaNorman
  • The Pirates! Band of Misfits
  • Wreck-It Ralph

Will win: A tough one. I’ll go with “Brave” (it’s Pixar), “Ralph” (it’s Pixar-like), or “Frankenweenie” (by a well-known-to-Hollywood-types live-action director). Going against my choices: “Brave” stars female protagonists (Hollywood sexism), “Ralph” is about video games (too low brow and/or the “competition” media-wise to movies), and “Frankenweenie” might be too odd for Hollywood, though per “The Artist,” they’re OK with black-and-white.

Should win: “Brave” or “Ralph.”

Animated Short Film

  • Maggie Simpson in “The Longest Daycare”
  • Paperman
  • Adam and Dog
  • Fresh Guacamole
  • Head Over Heels

Will win: Not sure, only having seen “Paperman.” It won’t be Maggie’s short—it’s A) based on a TV property, and B) it’s actually comedic; unlike Bugs Bunny’s day when “Knighty Knight Bugs” won, the Oscar folk nowadays seem allergic to comedies for animated shorts, instead favoring arthouse-type fare. Thus I’ll assume it’ll be one of the other four nominees, though given “Paperman” is from Disney, it might be too mainstream.

Should win: Again, can’t really say, though I did enjoy “Paperman.”

This year’s awards are being hosted by Seth MacFarlane of “Family Guy” fame, which removes any interest in my watching this year. Well, even moreso than usual. Of late, I’ve only flipped to the Oscars to see the animation and best picture categories before changing channel back to something else, so I suppose it doesn’t matter. Besides, I have Twitter and YouTube in case something goofy or interesting happens…

2012 Academy Award animation winners

Bugs Bunny's Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject in 1958 (picture from "Tiny Toon Adventures")On Sunday night, the winners for the two top Academy Awards animation categories were announced…

Best Animated Picture: Rango

Best Animated Short: The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

My previous prediction was right for animated picture.

No, I didn’t sit through the Oscars…the few minutes I did see were awful enough (Billy Crystal’s Sammy Davis Jr. routine…ugh), plus “The Amazing Race” was on. Thank goodness for Twitter.

And yes, it looks like Pixar’s been completely shut out this year. Maybe they’ll fare better next year with the (inevitable) nomination of “Brave,” a film that doesn’t scream “merchandising” like “Cars 2″ does.

2012 Oscar nominations announced for best animated feature, short subject

Bugs Bunny's Oscar for Best Animated Short Subject in 1958 (picture from "Tiny Toon Adventures")The nominees for this year’s Academy Awards were announced today. Here’s the nominees for Best Animated Feature:

  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico and Rita
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango

Looks like Disney and Pixar (despite “Winnie the Pooh”) got completely snubbed. Guess even Hollywood award voters aren’t tunnel-visioned enough to vote for “Cars 2.” At least Pixar has a (non-Cars-related) short up for the best animated short category; the nominees there consist of:

  • A Morning Stroll
  • Dimanche/Sunday (a National Film Board of Canada short)
  • La Luna (Pixar’s entry)
  • The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore
  • Wild Life (another NFB of Canada short)

A strong showing this year from our northern neighbor.

My guesses for animated feature:

  • Will win: Rango or Puss in Boots.
  • Should win: Not seen any of the nominees, so can’t say. Would be nice to see them show imagination and not pick either of the two sequels/prequels (Puss in Boots, Kung Fu Panda 2).

As for animated short, can’t really say, though the Oscar voters seem more willing to vote for “arthouse” fare in the short category than the feature one, so this might be a year without anything from Pixar winning.

2011 Oscar animation nominees

Here’s a list of the nominees for this year’s Oscars for Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short Subject:

Best Animated Feature

  • “How to Train Your Dragon” (Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois)
  • “The Illusionist” (Sylvain Chomet)
  • “Toy Story 3” (Lee Unkric)

Will win: “Toy Story 3.”
Should win: Not seen “Dragon” or “Illusionist,” so can’t say.

Best Animated Short Film

  • “Day & Night” (Teddy Newton)
  • “The Gruffalo” (Jakob Schuh and Max Lang)
  • “Let’s Pollute” (Geefwee Boedoe)
  • “The Lost Thing” (Shaun Tan and Andrew Ruhemann)
  • “Madagascar, carnet de voyage (Madagascar, a Journey Diary)” (Bastien Dubois)

Will win: My guess is “Day & Night.”
Should win: Not sure, only having seen “Day & Night.”

In addition, “Toy Story 3″ is one of the films nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Though after “Brokeback Mountain” got snubbed in favor of the likes of “Crash,” I wouldn’t lose too much sleep over the Academy’s choice in this category. I also guarantee the winner won’t be a “lowly cartoon,” especially with tough competition from “The Social Network,” “Black Swan” and “The King’s Speech.”

A full list of nominees is available here: http://www.oscars.org/awards/academyawards/83/nominees.html