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Furry Movie Award Watch: January

Your rating: None Average: 5 (2 votes)

We are down to the nitty gritty; the Annies announced their nominees last month, nominations for the Ursa Majors have opened, and yesterday morning the nominees for the Academy Awards were announced.

crossie’s current best guesses

Oscar for Best Animated Feature Annie for Best Animated Feature Ursa Major for Best Anthropomorphic Motion Picture
Winner Rango Rango Rango
Nominees A Cat in Paris
Chico & Rita
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
N/A Bitter Lake
Kung Fu Panda 2
Puss in Boots
Rio

The 84th Academy Awards

RangoUnless Gore Verbinski uses a gay slur with a microphone recording nearby, he better start practicing his acceptance speech, because Rango winning Best Animated Feature is happening.

Rango’s biggest competition, The Adventures of Tintin, failed to gain a nomination, most likely due to issues with motion capture and questions whether or not the technique is truly animation. More surprisingly, Rango’s second biggest competition according to critics’ awards wins, Arthur Christmas, also failed to gain a nomination, possibly due to poor box office returns.

At this point, the race is between Kung Fu Panda 2 and Rango, as God intended. Kung Fu Panda 2 is still much weaker, having not won a single critic’s award, and having to deal with Puss in Boots splitting any sympathy for DreamWorks Animation. On the positive side, it was the worldwide box office leader for the year in animation.

I suspected one spot would go to a smaller, foreign movie, but did not predict that two spots would. Both Chico & Rita and A Cat in Paris are distributed by GKids, meaning that two distributors account for every nomination, since Paramount distributed the DreamWorks duo and Rango was produced by the studio. Who would have guessed in the mid-nineties that after 11 years of the Best Animated Feature Oscar, Disney’s home animation studio would have zero wins, and Disney would fail to even distribute a nominated movie this year?

None of the five movies managed any other nominations, unfortunately, not even in traditionally animation-friendly areas like the two Sound, Music and Song categories, or the recently animation-friendly Screenplay categories.

Rio did manage to gain a Best Song nomination for “Real in Rio;” the category contains only two songs, however, with “Man or Muppet” from furry-but-not-animated The Muppets being the other. Apparently the Academy added an “Alliterative Word/Two Letter Word/Movie Title” song title format rule to the category at the last minute. The Adventures of Tintin was also nominated for Best Original Score; Rango probably would have gotten in in this category if Hans Zimmer had not decided to take his ball and go home this year.

Personally, I think the Best Animated Feature line-up is decent, though I would have liked to see Winnie the Pooh in there. I am disappointed that Rango could not get any other nominations; it really should have picked up a few of the animation-safe awards, especially in Screenplay. I still think the Animation branch could have gotten it into the Best Picture race as well, especially when there ended up being nine nominees.

My best prediction was probably the first, way back in the comments of the Cars 2 write up.

The Annies

I have changed my prediction from Kung Fu Panda 2 winning to Rango for the same reason you do not predict a split between Best Picture and Best Director when the Best Picture is assured. Essentially, with its two biggest competitors down and out, everybody knows Rango is going to win Best Animated Feature; at this point, the Annie is a rubber stamp.

The animators may not like Rango since it is an outsider movie, but the Kung Fu Panda franchise was already a part of a controversial split. Besides, there will be more more Kung Fu Panda movies; if Jennifer Yuh Nelson stays with the franchise, and does not get bored with it, I think she can win the Oscar/Annie duo eventually.

The Ursa Majors

This month, I predict Rango will sweep the three awards. The Ursa Majors are the hardest award to predict for me, as the only accurate way to guess is to be a part of the community in ways that I am not, i.e. having an active Fur Affinity account and attending conventions.

I was really angry when Fantastic Mr. Fox was snubbed by Avatar two years ago; a good movie about talking foxes should not lose the award for furry movie of the year to a movie with no animals period, never mind anthropomorphic. What really got to me was I was the only idiot who did not see it coming. That said, in general, Rango and Kung Fu Panda 2 are the movies I have seen most talked about by furries as the furry movies they have seen, period - so unless furries are voting for movies they have not seen, one of those two should win.

Then again, maybe people are just appeasing me because those are my favorites.

Comments

Your rating: None

Well, you certainly called MY five nominations for the Ursa Majors!

Fred Patten

Your rating: None

I was upset about Fantastic Mr. Fox losing out to Avatar too. Rango, in my opinion, really nails anthropomorphism - the animals just ooze with characterization, based on their designs alone, whether they look grizzled, dangerous or scatterbrained. But they're not sexy, they're dirty and gritty, so Kung Fu Panda will likely receive more votes.

Chico & Rita, I'm not familiar with at all. A Cat in Paris... It's unlikely to win. It uses a simpler, more abstract visual design, which in this age of CGI has very little "wow" factor - plus there's a "wtf?" thrown in near the end. The cat's role in pretty minor; it serves as a narratorial linking device, and attacks people's heads at convenient points. It's a story about an obsessed cop, her daughter, a cat burglar, and a gangster. The daughter is very sympathetic until one specific moment, when she can't bring herself to do something, and this is so frustrating to watch, you lose all your sympathy for her instantly. It's extremely frustrating. The film's ok, nothing amazing, nothing terrible, a decent way to pass the time, no regrets there - but I think it's probably included simply as one of the token foreign movies, unlikely to skew the vote.

Your rating: None

Yeah, well, I took A Cat in Paris off my predictions because of your recommendation ... grumble, grumble.

That being said, even if it is terrible, I'd still rather watch a terrible movie about a cat than the Annie "foreign" pick that didn't get nominated, Wrinkles, which even the positive reviews call "depressing." I appreciate the Animation branch spotlighting smaller, artier movies, but that doesn't mean I always like it. The Secret of Kells was awesome, but The Illusionist ended with the literal message "Magic Isn't Real." I don't watch cartoons for that stuff. Chico & Rita will, I freely admit, probably bore me to death, but apparently it also has gratuitous nudity, so there is that.

Funnily enough, the expansion to ten movies nominated for Best Picture was apparently designed to both allow in crowd pleasers and, oxymoronically, artier films than are the usual Best Picture crowd, something the Best Animated Feature has consistently been able to do for the last couple of years, even during three nominee years.

Also, juicy rumor inappropriate for the actual story (basically repeating this from a semi-anonymous comment on Cartoon Brew), but the big shock for me was Arthur Christmas failing to get a nomination. Apparently, the movie's director was a real bitch; word got around in animation circles, and that's what really kept it off the ballot.

Your rating: None

It's like the video-gaming industry . . . every company has one employee who knows a contact at company X.

On a semi-related note, the video-gaming industry roundtable discussion at FC was great, and well-attended.

Your rating: None

Kind of why I was still holding on to Rango Best Picture chances; it was showing up in none of the precursors's Best Picture equivalents (besides the Annies, duh), but none of the precursors contain a contingent of voters specifically biased towards animation (besides the Annies, duh).

That's not entirely true. Arthur Christmas did show up on the ten movie pre-official-nominee list for "Best British Film" at the BAFTAS, which is the only other organization besides AMPAS to have an Animation Branch (or Chapter, in the BAFTAS), which did baffle a few pundits. So, that actually kind of contradicts the Arthur Christmas jerk director theory, unless the jerkery was in basically forcing Aardman Animation votes for Arthur Christmas, but gave me hope for the Rango surprise nomination.

Seriously, if Rango could have gotten that tenth spot (and it totally deserved it over Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, with an impressive 46% on Rotten Tomatoes!), it could very well have been a serious contender; The Artist, that French silent film (which I am actually looking forward to eventually seeing) I talked about in an earlier column, is pretty much a lock for Best Picture. The surprise nomination (and it would have been the biggest surprise ever) might have garnered Rango enough cachet to get enough voters to go "Ah, what the hell, we were going to give it to a French silent film anyway, why not an animated movie, the animators in the industry are due, especially after pulling off a stunt like that? At least it's actually American." that it might have actually won.

Paramount seems to be over the freaking moon about Rango; they are FYCing the crap out of it like they're actually worried about it losing Best Animated Feature, and they are rereleasing it for limited engagements in L.A., where most of the Academy live. Interestingly, the three American, big animated productions who got nominated were the only three I saw running online FYC ads in non-animation sites (well, that and The Adventures of Tintin).

Your rating: None Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

Kung Fu Panda will win the Ursas, because furries tend to be on the poor side so they only go to a few movies each year (I've gone to zero), and they are more likely to go see a movie with a panda in it then a chameleon.

This is the general public you're dealing with, aim for the lowest common denominator. It's not about the best, it's about the one that's most well known.

Your rating: None

That's what I've been saying all last year; though the "sexier" movie would be Puss in Boots, to go back a comment to dronon, I guess.

The thing with Rango is it's becoming more well know; the Oscar win may not only win awareness, but also make the common denominator "pretension." Hey, they might not understand the movie or even like it, but it won the Oscar, dude! That means, it's like, important or something, right?

Perhaps Fantastic Mr. Fox would have done better if it had actually won the animated Oscar, or gotten a Best Picture nom (and it did have some buzz. Not a lot, but some.). Furries still would have not liked or understood it, but they might've voted it for it because they felt they were supposed to vote for it. Also, anyone voting for Avatar could have pointed to its Best Picture nomination (and very near win) as proof that it really was an "important" movie. Essentially, I'm using the freaking Oscars as a precursor predictor award for the Ursa Majors!

The third factor is, well, me. I've essentially gone to bat for Rango, both incidentally in this article series, and explicitly in my top ten list; no movie has ever had anything like this (essentially, a furry "critic" pushing a movie on the voters, like, say The Social Network was pushed by critics for the Oscar last year) in the furry fandom before. I really am the X-factor in my own calculations, and am honestly in a not very good position to judge what effect I will ultimately have, if any (as The Social Network ultimately proved, the Oscar voters eventually ignored the critics).

That being said, I also pushed Kung Fu Panda 2 hard all year, and gave weaker-with-the-groundlings anthropomorphic movies Winnie the Pooh and The Muppets spots on my top ten list with the Ursas in mind (I don't think Puss in Boots really needed the help); especially The Muppets, which, from the comments on my review, I got the impression that it was a movie furries didn't dislike, so much, as one they didn't care about.

I read a piece by an Oscar pundit, not exactly bemoaning The King's Speech getting Best Picture, (as he was on the record he didn't really like The Social Network either), but pointing out that it was a case of Oscar pundits getting exactly what they wished for; Oscar voters voting with their hearts, instead of studio politics or critical sway or whatever. Unfortunately, Oscar voters hearts are, well, kind of dumb. And evidence suggests furry voters vote with organs even farther south.

That being said, if furries do go with the southern organ voting method, I mean, the lowest common denominator here is Puss in Boots, not Kung Fu Panda 2. Remember, Ursa Major voters chose Bolt over the original. Can you even remember Bolt? I remember thinking, at the trailer, "Oh, a dog superhero movie, that sounds fun, er ... no, it's a Galaxy Quest/Three Amigos/The Man Who Knew Too Little type comedy with a dog who thinks he's a superhero, now that really sounds fun!" And then I watched the movie and it was that for like five minutes, surprise twist movie change again, it turned out to be a remake of the remake of The Incredible Journey with the old dog replaced by an annoying hamster. So, yeah, that wasn't as off the rails crazy as not-furry-movie over furry-foxes, but still a little weird.

That being said, it'll be hard to piss me off this year. I mean, I'll be disappointed if Rio wins (but who's expecting that to happen, anyway?), because it just wasn't my movie, and Bitter Lake either has an unfair advantage or an unfair disadvantage being the fan film in the mix, I'm not sure which, but nothing will actually manage to make me mad.

So, probably Cars 2 will win, then.

Your rating: None

Your theory relies on a premise: How many furries watch the Oscars, or even care about the Oscars?

But in the case of Puss in Boots, since it is more "fresh" (in age and in other ways). I mean, you don't even have to play 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon between Room 366 and Puss in Boots the trailer used the same music. Probably possible it'll win over Kung Fu Panda. Actually probably more likely now that I think about it

Cats are more popular then Pandas who are more popular then Chameleons.

I don't think Cars 2 will win, there are just too many mainstream furry movies this year that going after exaggerated anthropomorphic isn't as necessary. Fantastic Fox was a cult classic by the sounds of it sadly, and unfortunately Avatar was more of a cult then a classic. And their's was bigger.

Your rating: None

The Oscars are like the Super Bowl; you kind of have to be outside of American culture entirely to not know who's playing, even if you would rather not know.

Non-American furries are exempt here.

Your rating: None

Actually, a good question for you would be, how does that effect your voting? Are you still going to vote for your favorite, or try not to "waste" your vote, or what?

Your rating: None

I'll be hoping Rango wins. I loved that movie, especially the realistic, gritty ("not cute") character designs.

And on the subject of Rango, its Oscar nomination has lead to it getting a brief second run in one of the cinemas in Los Angeles.

Your rating: None

>a certain S. Korean animated film is not included
D':

Your rating: None

Prediction game, Mister Twister, prediction game. This is about who will win, not who should. Unless you're talking about the Oscars; in that case, it was never submitted for consideration.

Unless the South Korean furry voting bloc is larger than I suspect (which would actually be cool), Leafie's got no chance in the Ursa Majors.

Your rating: None

There are quite a few, but they may have different priorities; last time we talked, all they cared about was my hair.1

Fauna Urbana posted a story, but the tone of the piece and the one comment posted thus far suggests that without more local works being recommended and nominated, there will be little interest in other areas of the world.

Perhaps a "best international/non-English X" would be appropriate for certain categories.

1 Actually this is not fair to WSK, who keeps up with Flayrah, and indeed contacted me just a week ago to comment on the recent survey results.

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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.

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