I don’t know much about the film industry. I know that I like movies, usually bad ones. I also know that in the early months of the year movie types gather together to pat each other on the back and give each other little gold statues. The best films, actors and all around movie types rarely win or are even nominated. I’ve only seen one of the films that’s been nominated for best picture, granted, it was a pretty awesome movie. If you’ve read any amount of this blog, then you know that I much prefer animation to live action.
Luckily, there’s an awards show just for animation. The 43rd annual Annie Awards are happening this Saturday and I wish that there was a way that I could watch it. On top of working a double shift, I’m not even sure if it’s a televised event. Either way, I much prefer reading about the Annie’s to the Oscars. One, it covers a wider range of movies and two, it’s about more than what people are wearing. Last years Oscars didn’t even bother to show clips of each of the films nominated for Best Animated Feature. This only leads to my suspicion that the Academy doesn’t really care about the category, but with everything that’s been going on with them lately, we all know they suck.
So awards show, I’m bad at predicting them. Last year I was convinced that Lego Movie was going to take the Oscar and it wasn’t even nominated. Then I was sure that How to Train Your Dragon 2 was going to win because the original How to Train Your Dragon, should have one instead of Toy Story 3(and it won the Annie). While I was pleasantly surprised that Big Hero 6 one, Song of the Sea was the best animated film hands down and I really wish it would have won. Which brings me back to my earlier point that the best film rarely wins.
I want to say that I think the Good Dinosaur was the best animated film of the year. It was so heart warming/ wrenching and it was every western ever made and it had dinosaurs and it was perfect. So I was pretty choked that it wasn’t nominated for an Oscar, but at least it got a nob at the Golden Globes and is nominated for the aforementioned Annie. In the case of both the Oscars and the Annies, I think Inside Out will win. Not only is it superbly animated and a really innovative idea, but it’s also a feel good movie that helps erase the stigma of depression. But I’m pretty awful at picking winners, so I’m probably dead wrong. So in the likely chance that I’m wrong, so for a runner up I’d pick Anomalisa. Personally I found this film a little disappointing, but it’s probably one of the most technically impressive animated movies ever made. It’s one of the few films that came out this year where the characters actually look like real human beings instead of automated fashion dolls.
So here are some thoughts on the films nominated for Best Animated picture in both the Oscars and the Annies.
I like to find themes in things and last year there was a specific theme in the films nominated for best animated picture last year and that was loss. Four of the five films dealt with the death (or apparent death in the case of Boxtrolls) of a family member, while the tale of Princess Kaguya dealt with the loss of self. This year the theme of the best animated films is largely about identity, finding out who you are and where you fit into the world (All except for maybe Boy and the World as it’s the only one I haven’t seen).
Boy and the World: This is the only film of the nomanies that I haven’t seen. It looks amazing and I want to see it so badly. I’m hoping that it will get a limited release in Calgary like Anomalisa did, but I’m not going to hold my breath. I’m looking forward to it’s DVD relase, which I will snap up the second I can preorder it.
Shaun the Sheep: This is by far the cutest movie of the year, about a group of sheep lead, by the titular Shaun into the Big City, to find their farmer who has lost his memory. This is the movie that Postman Pat should have been, it stays true to its roots, pokes fun at our shallow society and stays relevant. It also doesn’t need dialogue to make a point and is all the stronger for it.
The Peanuts Movie: This is probably the weakest of the films, but boy is it pretty. The animation in this movie is so gorgeous and true to its source material that it alone is worth watching for. The story is simple, pretty much what you’d get out of any given Peanuts television special. The best thing about the Peanuts Movie is that Charlie Brown never compromises being Charlie Brown, even while trying to reinvent himself. There are several moments that Charlie Brown has the opportunity to be a jerk for personal gain, but he never gives in and always does the right thing.
Inside Out: Inside Out is the simply complex story of a girl and her emotions as she’s moved from everything she knows and cares about. It’s probably one of the most clever films I’ve ever seen and it’s one of the few movies I’ve seen in theaters where people were openly weeping.
The Good Dinosaur: I think that this might be the perfect movie for me. It has everything I love, dinosaurs, tragedy, over whelming cute and amazing animation. This is the best thing Pixar has done. Good Dinosaur is every western ever made, particularly the Boy and his wolf narrative. It does an amazing job of matching dinosaurs with western tropes, which are two of my favourite things in the world. It also made one of my favourite dinosaur movies, The Land Before Time, look like annoying garbage. Seriously, I would not recommend watching those two back to back, it hurts the nostalgia.
Anomolisa: I wanted this movie to be a lot weirder than it was, but it’s still great regardless. It’s the story of a successful sales writer and the way his mind warps things to justify his awful behaviour. I might have been disappointed with this film when I first saw it, but I’m still talking about it with friends. So there’s that.
When Marnie Was There: Much like Inside Out, When Marnie was there follows the emotional journey of a young girl and she goes through a bit of an identity crisis. It’s part ghost story, part love story and full of magic and whimsy. There are a lot of twists and turns and it never quite went where I expected, yet the twists never feel forced. It is one of the weaker films that was nominated, but with everything it’s up against that’s not a bad thing.