Furry Movie Award Watch: October 2013
It’s a bad year when the movie I’d most like to see win Best Animated Feature, Ernest and Celestine, takes that position sight unseen. Miyazaki’s The Wind Rises is also sight unseen, and, let’s face it, a biopic about an engineer, which doesn’t sound terribly exciting on paper.
DreamWorks put out one okay movie, one terrible movie. Disney has been putting out trailers that are actually hiding the movie’s genre (musical) and are hard to watch, too. Pixar may win it just for being Pixar again. No scrappy newcomer like Rango has emerged.
So, let’s talk about the Ursa Majors instead.
crossie’s Current Best Guesses
Note: Please remember these are my October guesses.
|Academy Award for Best Animated Feature||Annie Award for Best Animated Feature||Ursa Major Award for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture|
|Winner||The Wind Rises||The Wind Rises||My Little Pony: Equestria Girls|
Despicable Me 2
Ernest & Celestine
|Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2
Ernest & Celestine
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Box office and the Ursa Major
I came to an obvious realization recently that I should have noted a lot earlier; the last two movies to win the Ursa Major were also the two highest grossers at the box office out of the nominees. And, much as I liked Kung Fu Panda 2, the fact of the matter is that both of those winners were, well, the wrong choice. Okay, so Kung Fu Panda 2 was the great movie that won over the greater movie of Rango, while Brave was the movie that… totally deserved its nomination – this time – to the okay Madagascar 3.
Admittedly, I’m fudging that one; I think Madagascar 3 was a great movie, but right now, I’m pretty much alone in that opinion. Mark my words, history will show one day that Madagascar 3 was one of those classics of animation that were unnoticed in its time. Either that, or history will show Madagascar 3 was a movie one guy on the Internet really, really liked, but most people are all like “meh” about. Either or.
Going farther back, the trend doesn’t always hold up (Toy Story 3 should’ve taken the award running, though Avatar fits like a glove). But, as a popular award, voted on by anyone, well… popular movies are popular.
Equestria Girls and the Ursa Major
This year, however, we have a movie that I suspect is in the running to win the Ursa Major, but for which the box office will be a moot point. My Little Pony: Equestria Girls was given a fairly limited release; though it hasn’t done anything to disqualify itself from entering the Oscar race, I don't believe it tried to have a qualifying run. Even if it did show for a week in L.A. theater, if they submit for consideration to the Academy (update: they didn’t), it’ll be mostly because they think they can slide into the incredibly weird Best Original Song category, rather than hoping for a shot at Best Animated Feature. At this point, it’s struggling to get a mention on the Animated Feature guide at Cartoon Research.
Of course, the limited release severely hinders Equestria Girls’ box office potential; the movie supposedly did surprisingly well for what it was, and quite a few theaters booked additional showings, including the theater I watched it at in Stillwater, Oklahoma, where it was packed on a Sunday morning, and no, not just with bronies. This movie did have a target demographic that is often forgotten about when people talk about the show’s success, but for all the attention paid to the not-little-girls who enjoy the show, little girls seem to like it too.
Take this movie out of limited release, and that might be an entirely different story; limited supply increases demand, or something. I don’t know; I’m writing a movie column, not an economic tract. Would it have done any great business as a real wide release? Interesting question, to which I have no answer.
So, going by box office is not going to help us with My Little Pony: Equestria Girls chances, this year. However, while I believe it is a frontrunner, and it’s in the pole position this month, the real question is when does the backlash start?
Backlash and awards
Backlash is the reason, two years ago, all-time acting nomination record holder Meryl Streep began her acceptance speech for her third acting Oscar by all but apologizing for winning it. Backlash is the reason, last year, Kyell Gold got out of the Ursa Majors before they began.
It’s simple; people hate Winners. Oh, they love a story about somebody winning; but as an underdog, against the odds, come from behind. A Winner who keeps winning, and who everybody knows is going to win, begins to grate on people’s nerves. In sports, no big deal; everybody hates you, sure, but it’s not like anyone can beat you. However, get voting in on it, and it is a factor.
This is why I’m picking Gravity to win Best Picture (well, okay, and also because I love Gravity to pieces). At the beginning of September, 12 Years a Slave was hailed as the obvious Winner. Gravity has been the also-ran ever since; it could’ve been a contender, it could’ve had class. If it weren’t for 12 Years a Slave. The Winner.
Don’t you just hate that guy?
But what about last year? Argo was hailed as the winner back in September, and it won. Yeah, but the director was Ben Affleck, the guy who quietly went from an actor with a spiralling career to a director of pretty darn good movies. Oh, and he didn’t get the Best Director nomination; you know, the nomination without which your movie has about a million to one chance of getting Best Picture? Argo was never the underdog; but it did feel like one. So it won, instead of being The Winner.
Trust me, it’ll happen to Pixar; next year’s hiatus will either postpone it, or be the beginning of the end. It happened at last year’s Ursa Majors; you may not have noticed that there were only two repeat winners. Not DreamWorks, Flayrah, or Pokémon, and obviously not the writing categories (notice how winner of Best Short Story is not like the other nominees).
One of the repeat winners for last year was … My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.