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Entries in animated films (322)

Saturday
Mar192016

Oscar Whisperer: Have we seen any nominees yet?

Though we all know that the bulk of Oscar nominations come from the last quarter of each and every year, have we seen any awards players yet? Here's a tricky thing about punditry -- if you start too early people say you're part of the problem in "narrowing" the field but if you don't start early how are you going to be of service in keeping the entire year in play and offering perspective on which film should be watched so that it's not all about "cramming" at the end of the year which leads to all that last quarter focus. So we start early.  Here are first quarter possibilities if the Academy has longer memories than usual this year and if they surprisingly generate excitement later in the year by way of top ten lists or second wave releases (Bluray, streamin, etc...)

January
Kung Fu Panda 3 (Animated Feature)
Both of the previous films about the round warrior "Po" (Jack Black) were nominated for Best Animated Feature. Will Dreamworks go 3 for 3 with this series? The reviews are right in line with those of the previous films but franchises often outstay their welcome when it comes to "Best of Year" accolades.

The costumes in Hail Caesar (courtesy of Mary Zophres) are great fun

February
Deadpool (Visual FX, Makeup and Hairstyling)
Hail Caesar!
(Original Song "No Dames" and Any Category, really) 
The WWitch (Sound, Supporting, and Any Category, really) 

Deadpool will surely surface for the Saturn Awards but good luck with the standard awards bodies considering that superhero films don't fare well even in VFX nominations... and Deadpool is a bit bargain bin aesthetically, however popular it may be with audiences.  An extreme longshot but it will surely attempt Oscar recognition in both VFX and Makeup bakeoffs.

As for Hail, Caesar! and The VVitch, they're the most prestigious of the year's mainstream releases thus far by way of being from beloved filmmakers or inspiring critical fervor, respectively. But will any voters remember them or take them seriously enough given traditional resistance to comedy and horror? The first step in taking any film seriously is to actually watch it; conscientous voters should watch these two films. 

March
April and the Extraordinary World (Animated Feature)
Batman v Superman (Visual FX)
Krisha (Best Actress)
Zootopia (Animated Feature) 
Hello My Name is Doris (Best Actress) 

Zootopia is by far your best bet for early bird Oscar glory given the outstanding reviews and audience love and Disney being a power player in the animated feature category. Can Sally Field's Doris generate good Golden Globe will? Will Krisha develop a following (it won the Cassavettes at the Spirit Awards for 2015 but the Spirit Awards have different eligibility rules -- festival showings sometimes count for them).

Of the two attempts at reviving the Superman franchise (Superman Returns in 2006 and Man of Steel in 2013) only Returns won Oscar favor (Visual FX nomination). Will Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice be ignored or embraced for its effects? It all depends on its future competition but it's worth noting that, for whatever reason, Batman is the favorite superhero of groups that traditionally resist superheroes. Batman films have won 3 Oscars from 15 nominations. 

What will you hope for or count on from the first quarter?

Thursday
Feb252016

Oscar's Animated Shorts. Who Will Prevail?

In Part 1 we looked at the nominees from Best Live Action Short and Best Documentary Short one of which was animated. Here's Part 2 where all the animated films usually go.

Best Animated Short

Sanjay’s Super Team features a young Indian boy whose love of Western television and superheroes frustrates his traditional Hindu father.  The film comes under the Disney/Pixar imprimatur and looks just like every short you see before a new Pixar full-length release.  It has a sweet personal touch from the director, but it’s standard-issue short-form Pixar. 

Pro:  Pixar.  Con:  None.

four more films after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Feb072016

43rd Annie Award winners

Over the weekend, ASIFA-Hollywood held the 43rd annual Annie Awards, honoring the year in animation. Their complete list of winners is here, but some of the highlights that you should be aware of:

• Pixar's Inside Out, an Oscar nominee for Best Animated Feature and widely assumed to be the frontunner in that category, had a terrific night, winning 10 awards for everything from its production design to Phyllis Smith's vocal performance as the mopey character Sadness, to Best Animated Feature.

It was a virtually clean sweep of the animated feature categories, interrupted only by...

• Pixar's other film, The Good Dinosaur, which managed to overcome the stigma of being Pixar's first-ever box office bomb to nab the award for Outstanding Animated Effects in an Animated Production.

• Fellow Oscar nominee Boy and the World, the little masterpiece from Brazil that I've raved about before, won the inaugural award for Best Animated Feature-Independent. Hey, whatever it takes to make sure a masterpiece like that gets to walk away with a trophy.

• Continuing its award-winning weekend, The Revenant won an award for Outstanding Character Animation in a Live Action Production for everybody's favorite, Judy the Bear. The Revenant is also nominated for Best Visual Effects at the Oscars, and if it wins, it's going to be mostly on the basis of the same character.

Friday
Jan292016

Sundance Buzz: Short Film Winners

The Czech queer short "Peacock" won Best DirectorWith the Academy Award short nominees opening in theaters today, it's a good time to note that the Sundance short film jury handed out their awards this week. This year's jury of three was Key & Peele's Keegan-Michael Key, MTV's chief film critic Amy Nicholson, and Amazon Studio's Gina Kwon. Since Sundance is a qualifying festival for Academy Awards you might hear the name of some of these shorts again in about a year. One of last year's big winners, for example, was World of Tomorrow by Don Hertzfeldt. That's an Oscar nominee right now for Best Animated Short. 

The 2016 Short Film Winners are as follows:

 

Grand Jury Prize Thunder Road (USA, Jim Cummings) an officer eulogizes his mother. Cummings is a producer/director with some shorts under his belt.
U.S. Fiction The Procedure (USA, Calvin Lee Reeder) a horror short about a captive man. Reeder has made several horror shorts and directed one of the segments in that anthology V/H/S
International Fiction Maman(s) (France, Maïmouna Doucouré) This one is about a young girl in a Parisian suburb whose father returns from Senegal with a surprise, a second wife
Non-FictionBacon & God's Wrath (Canada, Sol Friedman)  an elderly Jewish woman cooking bacon for the first time and reflecting on her life. This short also received an honorable mention from the jury at TIFF in September so perhaps it's a legit long list contender for next year's Documentary Short competition?


AnimationEdmond (UK, Nina Gantz) see the teaser above. This short has been making the rounds for a bit now. It recently won the BIFA and it's a BAFTA nominee this year but it did not make the longlist cut to 10 finalists for the current Oscar competition
Outstanding Performance Grace Glowicki won for Her Friend Adam (Canada, Benjamin Petrie) in which her boyfriend's jealousy spirals out of control.
Special Jury Award for Best Direction: Peacock (Czech Republic, Ondřej Hudeček). Peacock bills itself as "a twisted queer romance" it's set in the 19th century and has something to do with the birth of an influential writer. The film promises "Suspense, laughter, violence, hope, nudity, sex, and a happy ending—mostly a happy ending."

 

Thursday
Jan282016

Tim's Toons: A preview of 2016 in animated features

Tim here. Kung Fu Panda 3 opens this weekend, and thus begins one of the most crowded years for animated features in living memory (technically, Norm of the North already kicked things off two weeks ago, but we're all better off consigning that one to the memory hole).

As a public service, I'd like to offer this highly abbreviated guide to some of the animation that will be coming out in the U.S. over the next 11 months. As with every year, there will of course be a healthy number of foreign imports that we can't predict, and hopefully a little indie or two that nobody has heard about yet; best to think of this, maybe, as a handy field guide to clearing your way through the glut of big-ticket studio films about to reign down upon us all.

Lots more Toons after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan222016

Retro Sundance: 1988's "Brave Little Toaster"

Team Experience is looking back on past Sundance winners since we aren't attending this year. Here's Tim on an animated indie honored early on...

The Sundance Film Festival isn't necessarily what you think of as a hotbed of animation: even a simple animated feature takes a large budget and hundreds of hours to produce, and these are resources that indie movies are particularly noted for lacking. So when The Brave Little Toaster screened at Sundance in 1988, it was quite the aberration. Such an aberration, in fact, that it would be 13 years before another animated feature would show up at the festival. It was well-received, however: the film received a special citation from the jury at the festival's awards ceremony, and director Jerry Rees has maintained in later years that he was told that it was only a concern that awarding a cartoon would dilute the festival's prestige kept it from serious consideration for the grand prize.

The film is a curious beast in every way possible. The project was initiated by Walt Disney Feature Animation – future Pixar guru John Lasseter had it in mind as a project while he was with Disney – and much of its financing came from Disney's coffers, and its talent Disney's staff, which would seem to be enough to disqualify it from "independent" status. [more...]

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan142016

Team Experience: Personal Favorite Oscar Nods

While I update the charts I asked the team to share their single favorite Oscar nomination of the day. And I hope you'll pick a single nomination to praise in the comments to. What most delighted you?

And now the favorite things hoopla begins... 

Mad Max: Fury Road - Best Picture
Back in May, critics and cinephiles, myself included, fell in love with Mad Max: Fury Road. It wasn’t just lust or infatuation. It was the kind of love that breeds doubt that others could see in the movie what we saw. Perhaps for that reason, a chorus of moans immediately went up about how not only is the Academy so often forgetful of Spring films, but that Mad Max was probably too fun, too action-y, too daring, hell, too feminist, for the academy to acknowledge it come Oscar season. Then, over the course of the summer, it didn’t even become the blockbuster many expected it would. Domestically speaking, it barely recouped its $150 million budget. (That may sound like a lot, but in the summer of “gigantosauri,” as Mark Harris called it, it was runtish.) How wonderful then today, to see a movie as exciting as it is smart get its due. - Kyle Stevens

Lenny Abrahamson, Room - Best Director
Every moment is so carefully considered. His touch is so gentle that he earns every tear he's coaxed out of us by patiently setting up character and context. He makes Room feel so big and the real world so oppressively small. You can feel that the film was constructed by someone with a deep well of compassion and a profound understanding of what presentation the story demands to impact us. I had hoped that he could make it in, but so rarely does the director's branch award solid quiet observation. - Chris Feil  

more after the jump... 

Click to read more ...

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