Is the Animated Feature Oscar Just for Kids?

A large number of films have been submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 2012 awards, and despite there being a good mix of family films and more adult features I can’t help but feel that only those with a child friendly approach will have any chance of taking home a statuette.

The 18 submitted films are:
Rango, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots, Rio, Cars 2, Hoodwinked Two! Hood Vs. Evil, Gnomeo & Juliet, Mars Needs Moms, Winnie the Pooh, The Adventures of Tintin, Arthur Christmas, Happy Feet Too, Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, The Smurfs, Alois Nebel, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita and Wrinkles.

Amongst the list I can see two films I know to be aimed at a more mature audience, Chico & Rita with its story of love and music, and Alois Nebel the beautifully dark tale of a man haunted by the past. The latter absolutely blew me away and deserves all the awards it can get, yet I cannot imagine it getting the gong in February next year.

Looking back at the winners in the Best Animated Feature category, only established in 2001, the winners are always films for all the family. Six of the previous ten winners are for Pixar films, and I hope it isn’t too controversial to call these family films suitable for all ages. This is not a criticism as all six are excellent films, however these victories have meant that equally worthy, and perhaps less child-friendly, films such as The Illusionist and Persepolis have not got the recognition they deserve. Maybe it’s not even about being a family film but about being a fun comedy, something that animation is more synonymous with than drama.

The introduction of this category itself is thought to exclude animated films from the Best Picture category and, while certainly not against the rules for an animated film to win, has been the case so far. By giving the animated films their own category it sets them aside from live action features, almost suggesting a second place position and making them unlikely to take home the biggest award of all. This diminished ranking makes the Best Animated Feature Oscar feel like a more “fun” award and so much less likely to go to a dramatic film like Alois Nebel and more likely to go to a family comedy like Rango (which I adored too).

This is all just my personal opinion and I am more than happy to be argued against or even proven wrong in February. Animation is a true art form and deserves to be recognised as such whatever the genre the animation may be.

Out Now – 22nd July 2011

A Pixar film comes out today!!!! It’s the worst reviewed Pixar film ever!!!!

Cars 2
It’s not just that this is the worst reviewed Pixar film ever, it is getting a huge amount of negative reviews, 64% to be precise. Admittedly I didn’t enjoy the original Cars, but it makes no sense to follow a film about learning to take it slow with a film about spying. For shame, Pixar. For shame.

Beginners
What looks like a touching film about a man connecting with his father as he deals with coming out as a gay man late on in life, and with the fact that he has terminal cancer. Expect to laugh, cry and then call your dad.

The Big Picture
As per usual in France a man kills his wife’s lover and then assumes his identity and flees the country. Expect a flurry of sex and violence followed by an hour of scenery and quiet contemplation.

Horrible Bosses
A mediocre film made good by an impressive cast. Fans of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia will be excited to see Charlie Day, everyone else will be confused by his presence.

Gilda (limited release)
The classic Rita Hayworth film returns to the silver screen. It won’t be in 3D so why bother.

The Violent Kind (limited release)
A biker gang are the victims in this horror after one of their women becomes possessed and hillbillies come for her. I want to see it just to make sense of the synopsis.

Break My Fall (limited release)
The synopsis on this film’s website is long and confusing, I bring you a short excerpt; “In the three days leading up to Liza’s 25th birthday things finally come to a head between Liza and Sally. After a failed birthday dinner the four friends are plunged into emotional meltdown at an illegal rave and by the end of the night there’s no going back to how things were.” Sounds tiresome.

The Lavender Hill Mob (limited release)
Another classic re-released, this title starring Alec Guinness and Stanley Holloway as an unlikely pair of smugglers.

One Life (limited release)
A family orientated nature documentary with a terrible level of info online. Narrated by James Bond.