Every day until the Oscars ceremony we’ll be highlighting a different category or movie here on the LAMB! Here’s a link to all the posts written so far: https://largeassmovieblogs.com/2018/01/the-lamb-devours-the-oscars-2018-roster.html
Today, Tony Cogan from Coogs Reviews is here to look at the nominees for Best Animated Feature.
Best Animated Feature is often the category for the Oscars that I have the most issues with. Sure there have been a lot of incredible animated films recognised by the Academy but this category, more than any others in my opinion, is most filled with preconceptions about animated films, a lot of times it feeling like the voters only put up the nominated films because they were what kept their children quiet. Most years, this opinion hasn’t been as strong, but this is probably the weakest overall line-up for Best Animated Feature since 2006, outside of three films, and some of the films sit alongside Shark Tale, Surf’s Up, Brave and The Croods for films that should not have been nominated.
Let’s get the films that weren’t nominated out of the way first. The most obvious snub, and one that I along with many other members of the LAMB share is that The LEGO Batman Movie should have been nominated. The snubbing of The LEGO Movie, when it not only should have been nominated but should have won that year, was one of the biggest errors the Academy has made in this category and I thought that this year they would be able to go past their preconceptions about the film and judge it based on its quality, but no, once again a LEGO movie hasn’t been nominated seemingly because it’s a LEGO movie. The LEGO Batman Movie was one of the best animated films released last year and was a perfect mix of gut busting humour and genuine heart that most films only dream of achieving and this film not being nominated is one of the big showcases to me that the Academy members don’t watch all of the films they are presented with.
The other big issue for me is that every film in the category is from an English speaking country. In the history of this category, of the 69 films nominated, only 14 have been made outside of the US, UK or Ireland, the most egregious issue in this for me being the underrepresentation of Anime. For the Oscars, the only times that anime films have been nominated have been when they were made by Studio Ghibli, but solely giving attention to Ghibli means great films are overlooked. Last year, the big snub for me was that Your Name wasn’t nominated and this year great films like A Silent Voice, Napping Princess and In This Corner of the World were overlooked. I’m hoping that in the future the Academy will give more attention to these films, but knowing about the rule change for this category, that isn’t likely to happen.
Getting into the actual nominees, there’s no point beating around the bush, Coco is going to win. After watching the film the day before I wrote this piece, Coco is a brilliant film, one of Pixar’s best films with gorgeous animation and a really beautiful story, this is the one to beat. In terms of artistic experience though, Loving Vincent may give it some competition. Now I haven’t seen Loving Vincent due to the limited release it had in the UK but the whole idea of the film, that it’s a rotoscoped film where the rotoscoping was done using oil paint, replicating the style of Vincent Van Gogh’s paintings, makes it the first fully painted animated film. The technical skill alone and, based on the trailers, the gorgeous animation make it a worthy nominee. The only nominee that I haven’t seen anything of is The Breadwinner since it’s not out in the UK yet. Now I am intrigued by The Breadwinner since it’s from the same team that made The Secret of Kells and the incredible Song of the Sea and I am hoping I get to see it soon.
Of course the most attention for this category has been for the other two nominees, Ferdinand and The Boss Baby. The nomination of these two films has seen the lion’s share of the criticism for this category and the nominations are seen as emblematic of a perceived problem of the Academy in that they nominate films that have kept their kids quiet rather than focusing on artistic merit. Now I’ve not seen either of these films so I’m going on the general reaction to the films and the critic reactions. Based on the critics, I can kind of understand the nomination of Ferdinand since it has a 70% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.2. Granted, most of the other films in consideration had a higher score and the trailers made it look incredibly bland, but there is some precedence for Ferdinand to be nominated and it may have deserved it in a year with weaker animated films.
The nomination for The Boss Baby though I don’t understand at all. It has been one of the most mocked films of the year with a reputation of being bizarre in a bad way and has a score of 55% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 5.5. Even among the films made by Dreamworks this year it wasn’t the best received as Captain Underpants, which I really enjoyed, is rated 86% on Rotten Tomatoes with an average score of 6.8. Throughout the whole Awards season, the constant nominations for The Boss Baby and Ferdinand over The LEGO Batman Movie have annoyed me, the only exception being at the BAFTAs with the nomination of My Life as a Courgette over The Boss Baby, Ferdinand and The LEGO Batman Movie, which doesn’t annoy me as that is an incredible film and more than worthy of awards love (mainly for Celine Sciamma’s script), and I was hoping that the Oscars would be the awards that would finally give The LEGO Batman Movie some love, but that was not to be and I congratulate Pixar on their inevitable win for Coco.
What do you think is going to win ?
Tags: Coogs Reviews