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Entries in Best Animated Feature (12)

Sunday
Feb032019

Annie Awards swing giddily into the "Spider-Verse" and might predict Oscar's Animated Short winner 

by Nathaniel R

The directors of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse had a great great night at the Annie Awards

Though Disney dominated the Annie nominations with huge tallies for both Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet  it was Sony Animation's all time biggest hit that proved the ultimate champ with Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse hogging the big prizes at the event. Other big winners were Disney's Mickey Mouse, and two series from Netflix: Hilda  and Bojack Horseman. The winners list and commentary including a few full winning short films and notes on Oscar's animated short race after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Jan152019

Which of these animated films take the fifth spot in the Oscar race?

by Nathaniel R

Our final Oscar predictions continue with Animated Feature. Though we've learned never to wholly trust consensus in this race (that shocking omission of The Lego Movie!) we're assuming that Spider-Verse, Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs and Ralph Breaks the Internet will be nominated. One spot is free. 

In Ye Olden Times (i.e. a couple of years ago before Oscar opened this category up to all voters, instead of just animators) we'd assume that that would be it for the mainstream titles and we'd also get Early Man (animators love Aardman films) or Japan's Mirai in there. But under the new rules we have to assume that The Grinch is a strong possibility since it's a massive hit (#7 of the whole year). But will anyone really put it at #1 on their ballots with Incredibles 2 (even more successful and more beloved) right there for the taking? Ruben Brandt Collector is memorable and stands out from the foreign pack in aesthetics but a qualifying release only was a bad move on Sony Pictures Classics part and it likely won't have been widely seen enough to garner many votes. Early Man didn't have the impact that Aardman films usually have (it's the lowest grossing of their features) so we're going with Mirai since it hails from a respected filmmaker, it honors Japan's robust industry, and it was boosted by that Golden Globe nod.

Related:
Animated Oscar chart | Reviews of Other Longshot Contenders Not Listed Above: MFKZ, Tito and the Birds, On Happiness Road, The Night is Short Walk on Girl, and Lu Over the Wall

Friday
Jan112019

Interview: Mamoru Hosoda on his animated Oscar hopeful "Mirai"

by Nathaniel R

If Americans outside of the subculture of anime enthusiasts know anything about Japanese animation it's generally only related to Studio Ghibli. That legendary studio has been mostly dormant these last few years considering the on-again / off-again retirement of Hayao Miyazaki. It's long past time that American audiences start familiarizing themselves with other giants of the huge Japanese industry. One such artist is Mamoru Hosoda of Studio Chizu. The filmmaker, just 51, has already directed four films which won the Japanese equivalent of the Best Animated Feature Oscar: The Girl Who Lept Through Time, Summer Wars, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast. He's yet to break through with Oscar but his latest feature, Mirai, is eligible this year and was among the nominees at the Golden Globes. It remains to be seen whether Mirai can repeat that trick to become an Oscar nominee (the new Academy rules allow non-animators to participate in the nomination process now, which will theoretically make it harder for the lower profile titles to score)  but we're hopeful.

We had the opportunity to speak to the filmmaker through a translater recently about his beautiful new film about childhood...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Jan072019

Fresh Globe-to-Oscar Stats

by Abe Fried-Tanzer

A collection of quick interesting stats for you given that the 76th annual Golden Globe ceremony is now part of history.

• This is only the second time in documented Globes history that the winner of Best Motion Picture –Drama (Bohemian Rhapsody) didn't have a corresponding Best Director (Bryan Singer) nomination. In 1992, Scent of a Woman took the top award at the Globes, but Martin Brest wasn't nominated in Director (though he did go on to an Oscar nomination!). Clint Eastwood collected the Best Director prize at the Globes instead for Unforgiven before that film went on to win both Director and Picture at the Oscars. If history literally repeated itself here, Bryan Singer would be nominated for an Oscar (!!!) and Roma would be our eventual Oscar winner for Best Picture and Director.

More after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan062019

The 2018 Animation Contenders: On Happiness Road

Each weekend, Tim has been taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

Taiwan's animation industry does not have a particularly strong reputation, to put it gently. For many years, the country's animation studios have largely served as inexpensive places to farm out work from other, more well-heeled companies, or to produce short films and clips that are largely ephemeral and quickly forgotten. So perhaps the first impressive thing about On Happiness Road is that it exists at all: a Taiwanese-produced feature-length animated film, about Taiwanese history and the cultural position of Taiwan in the wide world. That it is largely good is even more impressive.

The film is the brainchild of writer-director Sung Hsin-Yin, making her first feature after a handful of short films. It tells the life story of Chi (voiced by Kwei Lun-Mi) a thirtysomething expatriate who returns from America to Taipei, where we immediately intuit she'd rather not be... 

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec292018

The 2018 Animation Contenders: Two films by Masaaki Yuasa

Each Saturday, Tim has been taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. Today, two of them by the same artist.

Masaaki Yuasa is, to my mind, the most interesting director working in animation today. Ever since his first feature, 2004's Mind Game, he has subjected himself to a nearly constant process of self-reinvention, with every one of his major projects shifting to a new style, genre, or most likely both. He's mostly worked in television, but he had a very phenomenal 2017 with two extremely well-received features. Both of those were released in the United States in 2018 by distributor GKIDS, and both are among the most stunning, even radical pieces of animation available on any screen of any size in the past twelve months.

The first one produced, though the second one released by GKIDS, The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl is also the more openly startling in pretty much every way. Stylistically and thematically, the film is a successor to Yuasa's 2010 television series The Tatami Galaxy, but this is no mere retread. It's a story of two nameless college students in Kyoto: an anxious boy who has a crush on a girl just starting to find her footing in the adult world. The film tells their stories using highly expressionistic animation, in which everything about the whole world bends itself around their subjective experiences of one incredible night that seems to stretch on for months...

Click to read more ...

Saturday
Dec222018

The 2018 Animation Contenders: MFKZ

Every Saturday this month, Tim will be taking a look at one of the films submitted for the Best Animated Feature Oscar.

For lack of a better place to start, it must surely be the case that MFKZ is the most globally-minded animated film released in the United States in 2018. The screenplay was adapted by French writer Guillaume "Run" Renaud, from his own 2015 comic book. The animation was done by Japanese company Studio 4°C, under the co-direction of Renaud and Shojiro Nishimi. The setting is saturated in a pop culture vision of Los Angeles that feels influenced more by the Grand Theft Auto video game series, the Fast & Furious movie series, and rap videos than the actual life of the city's black and Latino communities, and the story is a criticism of systemic racism in the U.S. and the worldwide corporate greed that has led to the impending climate crisis. Plus it's a crypto-remake of John Carpenter's They Live.

All of which is to say that the movie sure is… something. Something that is, frankly, quite a bit messy and confusing, possibly racist, and also exciting and startling in its originality.

Click to read more ...