Furry Movie Award Watch: October
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.
crossie’s Current Guesses
|Oscar for Best Animated Feature||Annie for Best Animated Feature||Ursa Major for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture|
|Winner||Rango||Kung Fu Panda 2||Kung Fu Panda 2|
|Nominees||The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
Chico and Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Winnie the Pooh
Winnie the Pooh
Puss in Boots
Some of you might have noticed that of the three awards I’m covering, this is the only one I'm not predicting Kung Fu Panda 2 to win.
It’s no secret I like this movie and want it to do well. Since last month’s column, I learned that Kung Fu Panda 2 was the highest grossing picture directed by a woman, ever. The movie had a decent box office combined with decent reviews. I believe that if Jennifer Yuh Nelson had directed almost anything else she’d be a top contender for Best Director, which all but guarantees a Best Picture nomination. A Best Picture nomination guarantees the Best Animated Feature win.
If a movie is hitting those kinds of numbers with critics and audiences and has “historical” importance (like best grossing picture directed by a woman), and, oh, yeah, it’s a decent movie, too, we’d be talking Best Picture chances, never mind Best Animated Feature. As it is, though, it’s an animated movie, so Kung Fu Panda 2 is going to have to be satisfied with the Best Animated Feature race.
In last year’s Best Picture Race, Toy Story 3 was probably the closest an animated movie has ever came to actually winning (yes, even over Beauty and the Beast). It was at the time believed to be a final entry in a “due” series from a “due” studio that was a box office and critical hit, and, oh, yeah, a decent movie, too. But nobody really gave it a chance because it was animated.
Let's go back to Kung Fu Panda 2, which, admittedly, has other problems besides being animated.
Kung Fu Flaws
First of all, it’s a sequel, and the Academy is also biased against sequels. Animated sequels aren’t exactly known for their quality, even before Disney decided to pillage their own back catalogue in the 90s and early 2000s.
Also, there’s the whole DreamWorks Animation/Paramount Pictures thing; DreamWorks should probably feel grateful Paramount is even listing their movies on their For Your Consideration site. The company’s distribution contract is up, and Paramount is asking for more money to distribute before they renew. Paramount is starting their own animation studio and may drop DreamWorks, meaning no Oscar campaign money for them.
The biggest problem facing Kung Fu Panda 2 at the Oscars is that, good as it was, and as much as I like it, Rango was better. Yeah, I’m betting Kung Fu Panda 2 will win the Annie; Rango is an “outsider” for that competition. And I’m still betting on it for the Ursa Major, because of the porn.
I think Rango is deserving of a spot on the Best Picture list; however, no one else seems to be drinking my “Animation branch conspiracy” flavor Kool-Aid on the “real” Oscar prediction circuit, so I’m probably wrong about that. Still, I can’t help but point out that the entire purpose of expanding the nominee list for Best Picture was to let movies like Rango (or Attack the Block, Super 8, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 and Rise of the Planet of the Apes) a chance to say, hey, we had our horse in the Kentucky Derby. Even if they didn’t win it.
The press release from the Academy announcing the new “variable” nominee system also announced that Best Animated Feature no longer needed to be “activated.” In other words: “hey, it was a bumpy first couple of years, but you guys aren’t so bad after all.”
Finally, even the “real” Oscar pundits are saying it’s an open year; this time last year, they knew it was either The King’s Speech or it was The Social Network. This year, the movie to beat is still War Horse, a sight unseen movie that is going solely on director prestige. Of the movies that have been seen, the favorite of quite a few pundits is something called The Artist. It is, let me check here, yes, a silent film.
You know what? Screw that. Rango for Best Picture!
Some other junk
. . . though apparently not for Best Original Score. In other tidbits:
- Rango is one of the first three films to use streaming screeners
- The Academy is asking mocap movie makers if their movies are animated
- A a Foreign Language Film entrant is rotoscoped, and would like to enter the animation race, so more “what is animation?” controversy
- I’m adding Chico and Rita to my nominee list because the foreign movie nominee is almost a sure-fire addition and it’s got the one with buzz from the “real” pundits
- Noted fan of anthropomorphic inanimate objects John Lasseter tries to explain why Cars 2 didn’t completely stink
- Finally, because it's funny, the furry fandom’s least favorite magazine on Rango’s and Cars 2’s Oscar chances.
The Ursa Major
I think the concern of some furries is that I am trying to get people to vote for what I want them to vote for; I would have the same concern if anyone else was doing it, so I won’t blame anyone for suspecting me. But I won’t tell you how I voted, because that would be cheating.
My purpose for this column (besides airing my paranoid Oscar conspiracy theories, of course) is simply to remind people that, hey, we have an award to give. I don't want you to vote like me. I just want you to vote. If you vote for one thing next year, vote for the president. But if you vote for two, or are non-American or too young or whatever, vote for the Ursa Majors.
In other news, I won’t be able to catch Puss in Boots for a while, but the TV spots are all right. Looks very much like a contender.
Since we began this column with Kung Fu Panda 2, maybe we should finish it off with a bit about Kung Fu Panda. Namely, how it ended up being the equivalent of the Oscar’s How Green Was My Valley or the Ursa Major’s Avatar.
Kung Fu Panda was a pretty good movie, and I thought WALL-E was mostly just boring, but even I have to admit the former should not have beaten the latter for the Annie in 2008. I’m bringing this up because it has ramifications for this year’s Annie awards. Back in 2008, the Annies were voted on by all due-paying members of ASIFA. One perk of being employed at Dreamworks was paid ASIFA membership. Whether or not this membership was just a perk, or some kind of ploy by Jeffrey Katzenberg to win Annies is beside the point; Disney boycotted the award.
I’m giving Rango the Oscar nod, but not the Annie. It’s an outsider movie, and the animators seem to reward their own. Then again, the animators could just go with Rango, or even back some other, non-DreamWorks animation studio because, you know, Kung Fu Panda 2 is the sequel to the movie that has gone down as the Annie’s answer to the Oscar’s Citizen Kane snub. Or, they can let bygones be bygones, and give the award to Kung Fu Panda 2, which is still my current prediction.
If Rango is anywhere near as good as I’ve led you all to believe, it may end up making Kung Fu Panda the series that snubbed the animated Citizen Kane twice.