Thursday, January 22, 2009

Oscar Nominations for Animation

(UPDATE: Thanks to Alan Cook, here's a link to four of the five animated shorts that are nominated. The only missing film is La Maison en Petits Cubes.)

The nominees for Best Animated Feature are Disney's Bolt, DreamWorks' Kung Fu Panda and Pixar's Wall-E. It's a pretty good bet that Wall-E will take the prize. The only film of the three that could materially benefit from an Oscar would be Bolt, as the DVD is not yet out. Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda are done in theatres (barring a re-issue) and their DVDs were on sale for the Christmas season, so the bulk of their DVD sales are over.

Wall-E also got a Best Original Screenplay nomination, though I would say that the odds are against winning in that category. All of the Wall-E writers are animation artists, so it's a good bet that the writers in the Academy won't be voting for it. They would prefer to keep the category in the family, so to speak.

Wall-E did not get a nomination for Best Picture, though it did get nominations for Best Sound Editing and Best Sound Mixing. It also got nominated for Best Original Score and Best Original Song. That's six nominations, which is pretty good. None of the other animated features got nominations in any other category, which is why I think that Wall-E will win Best Animated Feature.

Waltz with Bashir was nominated for Best Foreign Language film. I think that it stands a reasonable chance in this category, although The Class has gotten strong reviews.

Nominees for Best Animated Short are:

La Maison en Petits Cubes - A Robot Communications Production, Kunio Kato
Lavatory - Lovestory - A Melnitsa Animation Studio and CTB Film Company Production, Konstantin Bronzit
Oktapodi - (Talantis Films) A Gobelins, L’├ęcole de l’image Production, Emud Mokhberi and Thierry Marchand
Presto - (Walt Disney) A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Doug Sweetland
This Way Up - A Nexus Production, Alan Smith and Adam Foulkes

I've only seen two of the above, Presto and Oktapodi. The latter is a student film from Gobelins, a major animation school in France. While I admire Presto, I hope that it doesn't win. I have nothing against the film or Pixar, but Pixar winning an Oscar for a short will make no difference to the future of animation. Should any of the other films win, the filmmakers will undoubtedly find it easier to finance their next projects. Perhaps the makers of one of these shorts will become major players artistically or commercially, and an Oscar win will do far more for them than it will for Pixar.

Visual Effects nominees are The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Dark Knight and Iron Man.

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