Okay, that’s enough of that, then. On to the column.
Alright, my first time at bat as an Ursa Major movie pundit worked out, as Kung Fu Panda 2's win put me at three for three predicting the movie awards I set out to predict. Read on for my reaction to the awards and my first guess at next year’s nominees and winner.
The nominees for the Ursa Majors are here, and if you are reading this, I expect you to have already voted for at least the category this column is about. You really already should have seen at least four of the five movie nominees, as they are readily available from wherever you happen to rent movies, and most rentals nowadays cost fewer than two bucks, so seriously, what’s your excuse?
If you haven’t watched them yet, go. Watch them. Now. This article will be waiting for you when you return.
The Annies are done and the Oscars were last Sunday. Rango inevitably won Best Animated Feature, so there is really not much reason to go on about it. Meanwhile, the Ursa Major nominees will be announced next month, so guess what next month’s column will be about.
For now, however, we might as well begin the process all over again; that’s right, I’m going to call next year’s Oscars and Annies right now!
I mean, everyone knows it’s going to be Brave, anyway.
Your humble ed-otter was pleased and proud to attend the 2012 presentation of the Annie Awards for 2011, which took place at UCLA on Saturday the 4th. The Annie Awards are the “Oscars” of the animation industry, presented every year by the International Animated Film Society (ASIFA). It was a busy year for the awards, with many of the numerous categories having up to 10 nominees. And of course, entries with an interest for furry fans were well-represented. The big winner of the evening was clearly Rango, with five wins including the big one, Best Animated Feature. It also won for Writing, Character Design, and Editing, as well as the new Members’ Favorite category (the single category voted on by all ASIFA members, regardless of their professional or fan status).
Interestingly, it was not a complete Rango sweep, as Rio won for Character Animation (by Jeff Gabor) while Kung Fu Panda 2 won for Production Design, and Best Director (Jennifer Yuh Nelson). Secrets of the Masters, the back-up short included on the Kung Fu Panda 2 DVD, also won for Best Animated Special Production (which honors OVA’s and direct-to-DVD projects). Disney’s 2D Winnie the Pooh also racked up one win, for Feature Film Storyboards by Jeremy Spears. The winner of Animation in a Live Action Production (a new category that was just introduced last year) was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. Minkyu Lee won Best Animated Short Subject for his 17 minute 2D film Adam and Dog.
At the 39th Annual Annie Awards, movies featuring anthropomorphic animal characters took many top awards.
Rango was the big winner, with four awards, including Best Animated Feature. The movie with the most nominations, Kung Fu Panda 2, only won two, but one of them was Best Director for first time theatrical director Jennifer Yuh Nelson.
Other such movies with wins include Rise of the Planet of the Apes, winning Character Animation (in a Live Action Feature), Winnie the Pooh, which won Storyboarding, and Rio, for Character Animation (in an Animated Feature).
2011 has come and gone. Before we all get excited about 2012, now is a good time to take one last look at the best the past year had to offer. In movies, anyway.
The Annies announced their nominees earlier this month, so for once that award will be first up in the rundown. The last month has also been full to the brim with critic’s awards, which can influence the Academy.
It will be a five-nominee year for the Best Animated Feature Oscar. 18 films were sent in for a chance at nomination for the award, and all were accepted. The motion-capture debate seems to have been for naught; all three films under question were accepted, though only one is a contender.
This is an opinion column, but this month I’m using that tag a bit more than usual, as I discuss the Academy’s bias against animated movies.
I’ll then tell you what’s wrong, not with the Ursa Majors, but with me covering them.
Lastly, I might actually have something to say about the Annies. Maybe.
September is an important month for next year’s awards. Major film festivals earlier in the month (which didn’t feature anything remotely furry, so this is their last mention), plus the beginning of screenings of studio hopefuls and even the first precursor award make September the unofficial beginning of “awards season” for movies.
Meanwhile, back in the furry fandom, a major player has had a setback, completely changing my Ursa Major predictions.
This year looks to be interesting in all three awards. With Pixar flopping and all sorts of new rules, the Best Animated Feature Oscar may be a surprise this year. The flop also affects the Annie Award for Best Animated Feature. Finally, the fandom’s own Ursa Majors’s Best Anthropomorphic Movie will see something entirely new; a movie made by the fandom.
When first shown the trailer to Nickelodeon Movies' Rango, I was unimpressed. Though the inclusion of Johnny Depp would normally be interesting, I assumed he was just another slumming celebrity voice. And the character designs were a bit offputting. To put it mildly. But the revelation that the director for the movie was Gore Verbinski did pique my interest.
Rango is Verbinski's eighth film; previous work includes such oddities as Mousehunt (which furry fans may be somewhat familiar with), the American remake of The Ring (one of Bravo's "100 Scariest Movie Moments" selections), and the three released Pirates of the Caribbean movies — the third of which made him one of only four directors to gross over a billion dollars at the box office (putting him in the company of Peter Jackson, Christopher Nolan and Ursa Major Award-winning James Cameron). In other words, Verbinski is a director to watch.
But does Rango live up to some of his previous works?