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Entries in Pixar (49)

Friday
May022014

First Round Oscar Predix: Animated Feature

The first chart is up and we're starting with the toons since they're the easiest to tackle given a limited slate of contenders. Not that "easy" is a word one should use when surveying the current state of animation which is, shall we say, robust. Give or take live action superheroes, it's the single most popular film genre in the US marketplace. We'd prefer to call animation a "medium" which is more accurate given that there's no reason why there couldn't be animated dramas, noirs, westerns, horror flicks, thrillers, etcetera but in the US at least animation is not a medium but a genre (the computer generated family action comedy... with or without musical numbers).

Is Laika Animation still too unique for Oscar or are they 'thisclose' to finally winning? Could The Boxtrolls be their breakthrough?

In terms of the Oscar race ahead, I've already heard whisperings (including my own preemie voice) that this will be a slim or "weak" year but let's not get ahead of ourselves. That's what everyone was saying last year and everyone turned out to be wrong. Last year's shortlist was hardly an embarassment; Frozen, Ernest & Celestine, and The Wind Rises would be a fairly worthy trio of nominees in any year and The Croods wasn't half bad. (I never saw Despicable Me 2 but its popularity with the public was indisputable)

While I still think there's very little cause for this particular category to exist given the expanded Best Picture field, the animated genre produces its fair share of strong movies annually with most of the major studios upping their games steadily after nearly 20 years of watching Pixar horde all the loot & respect. The problem in current perception may well be Pixar itself. They've finally proven themselves fallible critically and awards-wise (they missed even a nomination in 2 of the last 3 Oscar battles) and 2015 is the first year in a decade without a new Pixar film in release. That was bound to cast weird shadows on "The State of Animation." But the sky isn't falling. If you love animation there are still a lot of films to look forward to.

first look at a fictional San Francisco in "Big Hero 6"

 

The Chart!
Which of these films are you most looking forward to and what you think will become of animation in the next few years? Do you think the race will be hotly contested this year or we'll have another slam dunk like Frozen?

Tuesday
Mar182014

New Pixar sequels announced, one more incredible than the other

Disney announced today that Pixar has more sequels in the pipeline after Finding Dory in 2016. For our sins, one of them is Cars 3, because as long as the company can make the GDP of several small nations by selling Lightning McQueen lunchboxes, there's no compelling reason to stop making Cars films, apparently. The good news is that Cars 2 probably sets the bar low enough that the next film in the franchise ought to be able to blast right over it without much trouble.

By far the better news, though, is that the studio is also gearing up for The Incredibles 2, a sequel to the one Pixar film that seems rich with possibilites to have its plot expanded upon. And Brad Bird is on hand to write the screenplay, at least, which is pretty much the only thing they had to say to keep me, for one, more than a little optimistic.

No dates are announced, but the studio has a full slate through Thanksgiving, 2016, so we likely have a solid three years of alternating hopefulness with troubling stories about last-minute director replacements or more.

Anyone besides me genuinely excited for The Incredibles 2? Can anyone muster up something even a little nice to say about Cars 3?

Monday
Dec022013

41st Annie Award Nominations

Tim here, with a quick bit of news: the International Animated Film Society has announced the nominees for the 41st Annie Awards. Unsurprisingly, it's heavily tilted towards big studio fare, with Despicable Me 2 dominating the list with eleven nominations, Monsters University and Frozen with ten nominations apiece, and The Croods just a breath behind with nine.

In the short categories (Best Animated Special Production, Best Animated Short), three of the films on the Oscar bake-off list made the Annies' cut: British TV special "Room on the Broom", the Canadian "Gloria Victoria", and Disney's tech-heavy new Mickey short, "Get a Horse!"

The full list of nominees is here. For now, I'll leave you with the nominations for Voice Acting, entirely men aside from Wiig. (The corresponding TV category is 100% male)

  • Paul Giamatti as the voice of Chet - Turbo  
  • Terry Crews as the voice of Earl – Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2  
  • Kristen Wiig as the voice of Lucy – Despicable Me 2
  • Steve Carell as the voice of Gru – Despicable Me 2  
  • Pierre Coffin as the voice of Minions - Despicable Me 2
  • Billy Crystal as the voice of Mike – Monsters University 
  • Josh Gad as the voice of Olaf - Frozen

And the seven films in contention for Best Animated Feature:

We can probably expect Oscar's list to consist of some combination of four or five of these.

Monday
Nov112013

Looking back on the 2003 Best Animated Feature nominees

Andrew Stanton with the first of his Animated Feature OscarsTim here. This November, we’ve been reflecting on the films of 2003, in preparation for the newest edition of the Supporting Actress Smackdown, and I’d like to use this as the opportunity to return us all to a simpler time. An easier time. A saner time. A time when the Best Animated Feature category at the Academy Awards wasn’t routinely filled up with five nominees because some much-too-small arbitrary threshold had been reached.

There were three nominees in the category that year, out of a field of eleven. And even that was not quite a small enough number to keep away from something a bit like a filler nomination (looking at the list, the fact that Satoshi Kon could have two eligible titles in Millennium Actress and Tokyo Godfathers, and swing a nomination for neither of them, depresses me something fierce). But it’s not a bad mix of films at all, anchored by two films that have survived the intervening decade as bona-fide classics of the medium, and one film that… hasn’t, though it’s clung to an appreciative cult.

Fish, Bear and Other after the jump

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Nov052013

The 2013 Animated Feature Oscar hopefuls

Tim here, officially taking over the Film Experience animation beat to share with everybody some news: the final list of 19 features submitted for consideration for the Best Animated Feature Film Academy Award has been announced. There's no guarantee that all 19 will end up qualifying - The Smurfs 2 is on the list, and there seems little reason to assume that it won't follow its predecessor in being disqualified - but as long as 16 make the final cut, we can look forward to 5 nominees in the category. Meaning that every animated feature released in the United States will have a 1 in 3.8 of receiving an Oscar nomination, which are not the most appropriate odds of receiving a prestigious, internationally prominent award.

We'll spend more time in the weeks to come going over all of these titles individually, but I thought it would be a good time to do some immediate sorting. Rather than just dumping the list on y'all, I decided to break it down into groups based on where the film came from and what its prospects might be going forward.

Frozen looks lock'ish

American studio releases with a good chance for a nomination
The Croods (DreamWorks Animation)
Despicable Me 2 (Illumination Entertainment)
Frozen (Walt Disney Animation Studios) - based on the recent wave of warm reviews, it's looking like the biggest lock of them all
Monsters University (Pixar Animation Studios)

American studio releases with little or no chance for a nomination
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 (Sony Pictures Animation)
Epic (Blue Sky Studios)
Free Birds (Reel FX Creative Studios, dist. by Relativity Media)
Planes (DisneyToon Studios)
The Smurfs 2 (Sony Pictures Animation)
Turbo (DreamWorks Animation)

High-profile foreign productions with strong distributor backing
Ernest & Celestine (GKIDS)
A Letter to Momo (GKIDS)
The Wind Rises (Studio Ghibli/Disney)

O Apostolo is a stop motion feature from Spain

Foreign productions about which I know nothing
The Fake (South Korean, unknown distributor)
Khumba (dist. by Millennium Entertainment)
The Legend of Sarila (dist. by Phase 4 Films)
O Apóstolo (Spanish, unknown distributor)
Puella Magi Madoka Magica: The Movie - Rebellion (dist. by Aniplex of America)
Rio 2096: A Story of Love and Fury (Brazilian, unknown distributor)

UPDATED OSCAR CHART