Sunday, March 15, 2009

"One Category at a Time" - Best Animated Feature

Sorry for the lack of activity, people (person?), but I've been under the gun this last week, so just a quickie today.

It seems every year that there's at least one animated film which is unanimously praised as one of the year's best film-making achievements, yet they continue to receive nothing but this hollow award designed to keep them from stealing the awards from the "worthy" live-action movies. I was surprised at how close my year-in-advance prediction of WALL-E earning a Best Picture nomination actually was, but if the Academy couldn't see fit to properly honour what clearly stood out as the year's best motion picture in a year as weak as 2008, then we should all take it as a confirmation that it will NEVER happen.

Okay, rant over. Pixar can do no wrong these days, and you'll be hard-pressed to find anybody who isn't predicting Up to earn a nomination. For being one of Pixar's founding creative talents, Pete Docter is overdue for a win, having been nominated four times previously. This looks like a good opportunity, but the fiasco at this year's Annies seriously has me considering the possible existence of Pixar-envy within the industry. Will they really win this category three years in a row?

It doesn't help Pixar none that the animated slate is full of promising projects this year: Critics have already been wowed by Coraline (it's early release will really hurt its chances though), Paramount has the comedy Monsters vs. Aliens, Fox has The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Disney has a few it can capitalize on; a return to 2D animation with The Princess and the Frog (which may stir up controversy for its portrayal of African American characters), and the much more intriguing Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea by animation master Hayao Miyazaki (who was nominated for his last two films and won for Spirited Away).

Predicted Five:
Ponyo on a Cliff by the Sea
The Princess and the Frog

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