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Furry Movie Award Watch: July

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This month, nothing new is going on in the circuit, so I have devised a thought experiment to try and guess what movies might have been nominated and won Best Animated Feature if it had always existed as an Oscar category.

crossie’s Best Guesses

Oscar for Best Animated Feature Annie for Best Animated Feature Ursa Major for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture
Winner Rise of the Guardians Rise of the Guardians Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Nominees Brave
Frankenweenie
The Rabbi’s Cat
The Secret World of Arrietty
Brave
Frankenweenie
From Up on Poppy Hill
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
ParaNorman
Pirates! A Band of Misfits
The Secret World of Arrietty
Wreck-it-Ralph
Brave
Ice Age: Continental Drift
Rise of the Guardians
Ted

The Rules

First of all, until 2011, in order to be activated, eight films must be submitted to the Academy and qualify as animated features. In other words, there must be eight films in the year for the award to be given out. For the purposes of this thought experiment, I will be using Jerry Beck’s Animated Movie Guide as if any movie he counts as an animated feature was submitted to and qualified by the Academy.

This thought experiment posits an alternate universe where the Academy immediately drafted the Best Animated Feature rule after Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. However, they would wait over half a century before enough films to qualify were produced to give out anything but the Special Achievement Award. So, here are the first five years that would have qualified.

1982The Secret of NIMH

The first year to feature eight theatrical animated features, and actually, it’s still a cheat, since Hey, Good Lookin’ was not released in Los Angeles until the next year. However, we’re going to pretend it was put up for a qualifying run when everyone realized this could be the year.

No animated movie was nominated for any Oscar that year, and the Annies would not have a Best Animated Feature category of their own for another decade, which would be the best way to pick possible winners. This choice is going to come down to quality of movie alone. In that case, there is an obvious winner, but who were the Monster’s Inc. and Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius of this alternate universe?

The obvious winner is furry favorite The Secret of NIMH. Simply no contest. Of the other contestants (which include an X-rated animated porno, by the way), most are completely forgotten today. The only ones that seem to have any shot are The Last Unicorn, which I am vaguely aware that I am supposed to be more than vaguely aware of, and the aforementioned Hey Good Lookin’, which has Ralph Bakshi’s name attached to it.

Winner: The Secret of NIMH
Nominees: Hey Good Lookin’, The Last Unicorn

1986An American Tail

It would be another four years before enough animated movies would come out, though 1986 provided a bumper crop with 12 movies. Unfortunately, the vast majority have not gone down as classics. Releases included the Care Bear movie considered bad by even Care Bear movie standards, plus four other movies with titles ending with the words “The Movie,” including My Little Pony: The Movie (based on the pre-bronies version of the toy line), and Transformers the Movie (based on the pre-Michael Bay version of the toy line).

Setting aside the movies that were obviously merchandise driven, you find two obvious mouse-based nominees, and two more obscure possible nominees. An American Tail was an actual Oscar nominee, ”Somewhere Out There” nominated for Best Song, giving it the edge over Disney’s The Great Mouse Detective. I’m going to give the win to Don Bluth, making him two for two with mouse movies in this imaginary universe.

Battling for the final nominee spot are semi-cultish, stop-motion The Adventures of Mark Twain, and early Hayao Miyazaki Warriors of the Wind. Miyazaki would eventually win the award for real with Spirited Away, but Akira had yet to turn the West on to Japanese animation, so The Adventures of Mark Twain it is.

Winner: An American Tail
Nominees: The Adventures of Mark Twain, The Great Mouse Detective

1992Aladdin

Over half a decade would go by before a year with nine movies would come along; skipped would have been a showdown between the beginning of the Disney Renaissance (The Little Mermaid) and the beginning of anime becoming mainstream in America (Akira) in 1989 and the first animated movie in the Best Picture race (Beauty and the Beast).

The Annies had begun to award Best Animated Features themselves the previous year; this year, they gave the award to Aladdin, which also had a Best Score and Sound Oscar wins and further nominations for Best Song and Sound Effects Editing, so this one is a no-brainer as far as the winner is concerned.

The nominees aren’t so easy; possibilities include Annie nominees Bebe’s Kids FernGully: The Last Rainforest and Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland, reigning champ Don Bluth’s Rock*A*Doodle and Ralph Bakshi’s (only partially animated, but last film by the director) Cool World. I’m taking two Annie picks; Little Nemo and FernGully.

Winner: Aladdin
Nominees: FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Little Nemo: Adventures in Slumberland

1993The Nightmare Before Christmas

With eleven movies, 1993 became the first year with no gaps between the last competitive Best Animated Feature race. It is also the first year where there is a real race. The Annies aren’t much help; due to an odd qualifying year, no movie from 1993 won the Annie for Best Animated Feature.

The two movies in competition have gone down as classics of animation; one is Hayao Miyazaki’s My Neighbor Totoro, and the other is Henry Selick’s The Nightmare Before Christmas. The lack of an Annie nomination for My Neighbor Totoro and the fact that The Nightmare Before Christmas is the only animated movie to be nominated for a Best Visual Effects Oscar (where it was absolutely curb-stomped by Jurassic Park) makes me think the Academy would have waited for Spirited Away to honor Miyazaki.

Though no movie from this year won the Annie, Batman: The Mask of the Phantasm and Once Upon a Forest were nominees. However, I would bet the Academy would have ignored both for the more high profile at the time We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story.
The Lion King
Winner: The Nightmare Before Christmas
Nominees: My Neighbor Totoro, We’re Back! A Dinosaur’s Story

1994

Disney was at such a high point in the mid-nineties that the Academy had to separate the Best Score category into Dramatic and Musical/Comedy, despite the fact that a Musical Score award had never officially been taken off the books, so that Disney would stop dominating the category.

The Lion King had two Oscars out of four nominations from two categories, Score and Song, with three songs nominated. It also won the Annie and was the highest grossing animated movie at the time, and is still the highest grossing traditionally animated movie. So, I think it would have won.

The only other movie to gain an Annie nomination from 1994 was The Swan Princess, so it gets a nomination. Former back to back competitive champ Don Bluth had two movies out that year, Thumbelina and A Troll in Central Park, but I’m going to pass over both for The Pagemaster instead.

Winner: The Lion King
Nominees: The Pagemaster, The Swan Princess

Comments

Your rating: None

I fucking love every single one of those movies.

Your rating: None

All my childhood favorites!
I really need to find my old VHS of 'The Secret Of NIMH', It must be around somewhere...

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)

I've got mine. The sequel too, but nobody likes the sequel.

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I think The Great Mouse Detective would've won 1986 but these are silly debates to get into. More interesting to me is what has changed and what has stayed the same.

Back in 1986 there was My Little Pony, Transformers and Care Bears. As much as I like MLP:FiM you'd think in more than a quarter of a century someone would make a decent new series. Is creativity that dead that we have to keep resurrecting relics of the past to make shows? I mean a new Batman film has just been released when the character was introduced in 1939! That's the same year WWII broke out and we're still using recycling the same character.

My other issue is with music. It seems when we look back at the Disney classics they were winning awards for their music and songs. Why are we now just chucking pop songs in? For that matter why have musicals seemed to have died down? Is it just I don't see that many shows from that age group or is there really a lack of quality song writing now? Or, another possibility, did those old shows have a broader appeal than just children and that led them to considered for awards? Maybe growing up after they were all classics meant I only saw the top-quality ones.

"If all mankind minus one, were of one opinion, and only one person were of the contrary opinion, mankind would be no more justified in silencing that one person, than he, if he had the power, would be justified in silencing mankind."
~John Stuart Mill~

Your rating: None Average: 5 (1 vote)

Hi Rakuen!

I don't think I've seen 'The Great Mouse Detective', so I guess I have something to look forward to.

I agree with you on the whole creativity issue, however, there are only so many genres to choose from and people seem reluctant to go out on a limb with something new and truly creative, when there are so many successful franchises to resurrect.

Also, in my opinion the quality of the music (or lack thereof), stems from the fact that it's gotten too easy to make animated movies.
I just streamed 'The Secret Of NIMH' (Legally as I own a copy) and I realized how much of an effort it must have been to make at the time.
When you really put your heart into making something, as opposed to it just coming out the Disney factory line, I'm willing to bet you don't want to ruin it with the music of some cheesy pop group that's going to be forgotten or hated in a few years.

Well, as I am already expressing MY opinion, I will say this, I would prefer 80's animation over the computer generated "Insert derogatory term here" we have now.

--Fuzzy

Your rating: None Average: 2.5 (2 votes)

Aw, you broke 1986-me's heart by dissing Transformers the Movie. Give it credit for a bad-ass synthesizer and metal soundtrack, a dark story with tragic robot deaths written by Marvel comics writers, top voice talent including Orson Welles, and an "oh shit!" in a kids movie! (I haven't seen it since I was 10.) Consider seeing the Last Unicorn too, it's solid, but read the book first. It's so good, I keep giving away all my copies!

Your rating: None

i really loved the rats of nimh. such a great movie.

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

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The Secret of NIMH, the movie, proved that Don Bluth is a great animator but his storywriting/adapting ability sucks! The movie looks so great, and its story has such big holes in it that were not in the original novel.

Fred Patten

Your rating: None Average: 4 (1 vote)

i preferred the original novel, as well, but didnt get around to reading it until years after i watched the vhs tape as a kid.

still loved it, even with the holes. it had a magic that captivated me, and i fell in love with the characters. it made me cry when the prophet died.

Heaven is not a place, it's being with people who love you.

Your rating: None

Yeah; I saw it a few weeks ago, and was struck by the dubious quality of the story. Book was a great read! I think his video games were much the same.

Your rating: None

Regarding The Last Unicorn: I like her ... tree boobs?

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About the author

crossaffliction (Brendan Kachel)read storiescontact (login required)

a reporter and Red Fox from Hooker, Oklahoma, interested in movies, horror, stand up comedy

Formerly Wichita's only furry comic.