26 Eligible Oscar Animated Feature Films Announced

Today the Oscars released their list of the eligible films for the Best Animated Feature Film Oscar. There are 26 films up for the 5 nominations and I’ve seen 19 of them. I thought I would share with you my quick thoughts on the list. Overall it covers the feature and indie films with the exception of My Little Pony: the Movie and Nut Job 2: Nutty by Nature- both films I liked especially MLP. Both films are certainly better than The Emoji Movie which is under consideration. Oh well. At least every indie film I loved that was eligible is on the list (Louise by the Shore and Your Name were technically 2016 releases).

So here are my thoughts:

The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales… (French: Le grand méchant renard et autres contes…)- Haven’t seen this one but very much looking forward to it. The buzz out of festivals is that it is very hilarious and GKIDS has picked it up and they rarely pick up bad films.

Birdboy: The Forgotten Children (Spanish: Psiconautas, los niños olvidados)- I must admit hadn’t heard of this one but the trailer looks pretty great and GKIDS has picked it up so that is a good sign.

The Boss Baby- This movie was very popular amongst Americans seeking to laugh at Donald Trump as a baby (I’m convinced that was the reason it made so much money). It does have some nice animation so I’m fine with it being on this list but I will be very annoyed if it is nominated. It will be a sign that the new nomination rules are looking at ticket sales more than quality.

The Breadwinner- I will be posting a full review next week but this is a beautiful animated film about a girl in Afghanistan who has to pretend to be a boy to save her family. It’s a little rushed in spots but the animation is gorgeous and I found it very moving.

Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie- It’s still the best mainstream animated film of the year. I love the animation, humor and the relationship between the 2 lead boys. I can’t imagine it actually winning but would be cool to see a smaller budgeted mainstream animated film get a nomination.

Cars 3– I honestly don’t know if Cars 3 will be nominated. It has some pacing issues but I loved the animation and especially loved the heart and the story of Cruz getting her chance. I feel like voters will pick Coco over Cars 3 but wouldn’t be shocked if both get nominated.

Cinderella the Cat (Italian: Gatta Cenerentola)- This comes out of Italy and is a crime film noire musical take on Cinderella. I love Cinderella so it looks fun. Variety said “Slick, creative animation and largely enjoyable music make “Cinderella the Cat” one of the best Italian animated films of recent years” Sounds great!

Coco- Anxiously awaiting seeing this and so jealous of all those who have. My worries have been assuaged after early reviews.

Despicable Me 3Even though this was a small step up from Minions I’d be pretty annoyed if DM3 gets nominated. It will show the new nomination system is alive and well because it made a lot of money. It just didn’t work as a cohesive story despite a few funny elements.

The Emoji Movie- Even if the nomination process skews mainstream I don’t see The Emoji Movie having a ghost of a chance at a nomination. It had some decent animation but the message was muddled and story derivative.

Ethel & ErnestI loved this little sweet portrait of a couple out of England and would be thrilled to see it get nominated. I guess if the Brits weigh in heavily it has a chance but unlikely.

Ferdinand- I like Blue Sky but so far I have not been impressed with the Ferdinand trailers. They have looked so generic of plots we have seen a million times. We’ll have to see if it turns out any better than that.

The Girl without Hands (French: La Jeune Fille sans mains)- An amazing film created by one man from practically start to finish. I love the way the animation moved and flowed and the dark yet hopeful parts of the story. One of my favorites of 2017.

In This Corner of the World (Japanese: この世界の片隅に)- I admit I’m a little biased in favor of this movie because I got to interview the director but it’s a beautiful film nonetheless. It is a slice of life story about a family and woman going through WW2 in Japan. Some will find it boring but I liked it. It’s unlikely to be nominated since the only anime that gets attention seems to be Studio Ghibli.

The Lego Batman Movie- This movie hasn’t really stayed with me the way I thought it would. The middle sags a little but it’s still a pretty entertaining parody film and has a chance but I feel like voters have already forgotten it so WB will have to mount a campaign to get nominated.

The Lego Ninjago Movie- Any chance a lego movie has to get nominated lies with Lego Batman. I was pretty underwhelmed by Lego Ninjago with most of it boring me except for the cat sequence. It just didn’t do it for me. If it does get nominated that will show the new system voted for mainstream over indies.

Loving Vincent- This film is a tremendous achievement for the animation so I wouldn’t be upset if it gets nominated; however, I thought it was disappointing in the story department.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower (Japanese: メアリと魔女の花)- I have seen it but can’t talk about it yet but I’ll just say I’m glad to see it on this list and if it gets nominated I will be happy

Moomins and the Winter Wonderland (Finnish: Muumien joulu)- I love Moomintrolls but didn’t know they were getting their own movie! This looks like a really sweet Christmas story for kids with cool stop motion. The trailer is 7 minutes long which is unusual.

My Entire High School Sinking into the SeaThis is a very original take on the disaster movie with a very funny script and creative animation. It has GKIDS behind and I would be happy to see it get nominated.

Napping Princess: The Story of the Unknown Me (Japanese: ひるね姫 〜知らないワタシの物語)- this is an anime for little kids with some really creative animation but it dragged a little bit for me. Still I woldn’t be upset if it got nominated. I’d honestly be happy to see any non- Studio Ghibli anime get nominated as none ever has.

A Silent Voice (Japanese: 映画 聲の形)- the best animated film of the year by a long mile. Beautiful animation, stirring story and a groundbreaking female director. I would love to see this get nominated and it would heal my bitterness at Your Name getting snubbed. It is a little long so that may turn off some voters as well as the painful subject matter. Come on voters!!

Smurfs: The Lost VillageI still think the most underrated animated film of the year. This has some issues but I enjoyed it and the animation is stunning. Definitely the best cg animation of the year so far. It’s chances are slim but glad to at least see it on the list.

The Star- I see it next week. Heaven help me!

Sword Art Online The Movie: Ordinal Scale (Japanese: 劇場版 ソードアート・オンライン -オーディナル・スケール-)- I haven’t seen this one but want to . I’ve heard nothing but praise.

Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming- One of my favorite animated films of the year. It tells a moving story with very inventive animation. It is very culturally relevant and it involves over a dozen different animators. With the right campaign it is possible for a nomination because of its relevance.

So there you go! That is my thoughts on the Oscar list. I’ve got 7 more movies to watch!

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Animated Oscars Tag

Hi guys!  As you all know I recently finished up a series on my youtube channel reviewing the Oscar nominated animated films.  You can read my written posts and see the videos here

To conclude the project I thought it would be fun to create a tag and ask different youtubers and bloggers to give answers to a variety of questions about film.  Here is the video explaining the tag:

Here are the questions to the tag:

Animated Oscars Tag

1. Tangled- a film that should have been nominated but wasn’t
2. Shark Tale- a terrible film that was nominated for Oscar
3. Rango- a movie that won an Oscar you don’t care for
4. Wall-e- a film about a robot you love
5. Triplets of Belleville- film with no dialogue you love
6. Wreck-it Ralph- film you like but everyone else loves
7. Lilo and Stitch- film which has grown on you each time you see it
8. Song of the Sea- movie you wish you could convince everyone to watch
9. Pirates: Band of Misfits- an underrated comedy
10. Coraline- what is a movie made for kids (or marketed to kids) that scares you or that would have scared you.
11. Persepolis- movie based on graphic novel you love
12. How to Train your Dragon 2- sequel better than original
13. Spirited Away- favorite movie with ghosts
14. Fantastic Mr Fox- favorite Wes Anderson film
15. Frankenweenie- favorite Tim Burton movie
16. Princess and the Frog- movie you like parts but really don’t like other parts
17. The Incredibles- movie about a family you love
18. Wind Rises- movie based on a true story you love
19. Happy Feet- movie that takes strange turn in act 2
20. Big Hero 6- favorite Marvel movie
21. Frozen- Favorite Disney Princess movie
22. Ernest and Celestine- favorite movie about 2 friends

Extra (if applies)- Rachel- Film you want to see after watching these videos about the nominees

You don’t have to give animated answers to these questions. My answers are all films I watched in the series- not necessarily my end all of all films.

In fact, you can answer it any way you want!  Anyone is open to do the tag but I am officially tagging. (And this is of course completely optional.  I won’t be offended if you don’t do it).

Mark at Animation Commendation

https://markb4.wordpress.com

Animation Curation

http://theanimationcuration.com/

Kyle’s Animated World

http://www.kylesanimatedworld.blogspot.com

Disney Freak with bit of Mascara

https://ncdavis2003.wordpress.com/

Disney in your Day

http://www.disneyinyourday.com/

Drew’s Movie Reviews

https://drewreviewmovies.wordpress.com/

Richard at Velociraptor256

https://velociraptor256.wordpress.com/

I would tag Swanpride but I think she said she doesn’t do tags any more.  Nevertheless I have appreciated her comments in this series.  Thanks!

Anyone else who would like to do it please do!

And some of you like Matthew David Cline comment frequently but don’t have blogs that I am aware of at least.  If that is the case put your answers in the comments section!

Thanks and what a glorious time to be an animation (or movie) fan!

Did the Right Film Win? 2014 Animated Oscars

Well my friends I have finished my series of watching all of the Oscar nominated films for Best Animated Feature Film.  Last year I said 2014 was one of the best years in animation in a long time and now after seeing films going back to 2001, I stand by that claim.  You can make an argument for 2009 and 2010 but for not having a Pixar movie it was pretty darn good- and really diverse in style, tone and everything else.

So here is my video breaking down my thoughts on the 2014 nominees:

This is the first year I was doing this blog and have reviews for all of these films, so my thoughts probably aren’t a surprise to any of you.  Nevertheless, here is a little summary:

How to Train Your Dragon 2- A rare sequel that improves upon the original.  An epic feel to the story and some of the best animation Dreamworks has ever done.  I find the story with the 2 alpha dragons to be a little confusing and I think they give the Mother too much of a free pass for leaving her family.  But still a very satisfying, entertaining, exciting film.

Big Hero 6- A film with real heart from Walt Disney Animated Studios.  I love the character of Baymax and the relationship of Hiro and Tadeshi.  I found the villain to be clever and surprising and Sanfransokyo was extremely creative.

Boxtrolls- A wonderful stop motion film about a town whose leadership gets to wear white hats and eat cheese.  Snatcher the villain wants to wear the white hat and be respected which I think is a unique motivation and a good lesson for kids about labeling through clothing and other items.  The Boxtrolls are sweet and the humor worked for me.  The ending didn’t 100% work for me and the lead Eggs is a little flat and I don’t love the drag queen segment but it is very entertaining.

Tale of Princess Kaguya– A movie that has improved each time I’ve seen it.  A true artistic masterpiece and a story unique to Japan.  It is about a girl found in a bamboo stalk who is trained to be a princess.  She has independent instincts but she chooses to be obedient.  At first that was challenging to accept but now I love it’s different perspective.  It is so gorgeous to look at and uses music very well.   It’s a little bit of an artistically challenging movie but worth the effort.

Song of the Sea- A true masterpiece.  Even with Inside Out, Song of the Sea is the best film I’ve seen this year.  It’s got the emotional depth of Inside Out with Ben trying to deal with the loss of his mother but the hand drawn animation is stunning.  Ben’s sister is a Selkie and Ben must get her back to the sea before it is too late.  Along the way they meet an Owl Witch and other creatures so it is exciting, heartbreaking and tense.  It made my Top 10 Favorite Animated Films.  The music is stunning and I wish I could convince everyone to see it.  I love it so much .

So if I was giving away the award I would pick Song of the Sea, despite my liking all 5 films.  Of the mainstream nominees I do think Big Hero 6 is the best so in that sense the right film did win; however, I think Song of the Sea is the best of 2014.

What about you?  What do you think of these 5 films and which would you pick as best of the year?

 

Did the Right Film Win? 2012 Animated Oscars

So I finally finished my video on the 2012 Oscars.  Sorry this one took me so long (and it was a pain to edit today also!).

In 2012 we had 5 nominees and they all have their strengths.

Brave– I recently talked about that in my Pixar review.  It is a flawed film that doesn’t deliver what it promises in the first 15 minutes.  It is supposed to be an epic legend but turns out to be a domestic dispute between a mother and a daughter.  I don’t mind that but it is a letdown when we are promised something mythic.  I do like Merida, the music and the animation is top notch.  I personally feel they took a lot of the lessons from Brave and used them to make Frozen better.

Paranorman- My favorite Liaka film and a film that made my top 50 animated films (so clearly I like it).  I really like the character of Norman and the fresh take they have on the bully narrative with the bullied becoming the bully.  I think it is very scary and funny with unique world building and character design.

Frankenweenie-  This was a new one for me.  I had avoided it because I really don’t care for Tim Burton’s style of movies.  However, I must admit that I thought it was charming.  I really liked the relationship between Victor and Sparky.  It makes you want to cry when he loses his dog and all the homages to the classic horror films are a lot of fun.  I also enjoy how they made it in black and white.  Overall a very entertaining film with a lot of heart.

Pirates Band of Misfits- One of Aardman’s best films with incredible attention to detail it is an underrated film.  They pack in the laughs and yet still tell a good story with the Captain wanting to win Pirate of the Year and his interactions with both Charles Darwin and Queen Victoria.  If you haven’t seen it trust me it is worth a watch!

Wreck-it Ralph– A film that starts out and ends strong but gets mired in a bland Sugar Rush world in the middle section.  Most people love this film but I think it is good but not perfect.  I like the character of Ralph but Vanellope I find annoying.  With the power cord train station they promise you all the worlds of the video games and yet spend 75 minutes in Sugar Rush, which to me is a disappointment.  But it is still an enjoyable film.  The villain reveal is done very well and I love Sergeant Tamora.

Like I said in the video, I think most people would pick Wreck-it Ralph for 2012 Oscar.  I can totally see that.  Of course, Brave won in a bit of an upset.  I personally would give it to Paranorman but I know I’m in the deep minority on that.  They are all enjoyable films. 🙂

What would be your pick?

Did the Right Film Win? 2011 Animated Oscars

Hi guys!  Time for the next in my animated oscars series.  Today we are looking at 2011 which was an eclectic year for animation with no Pixar or Disney nominations.  I personally would have nominated Arthur Christmas and Winnie the Pooh but the 5 they went with are interesting in their own right.

This is a bit of a long one but I think you will enjoy it.

Basically I thought Puss in Boots may be my favorite film from the Shrek universe.  I like how they kept the parody elements down.  I also liked the 3D back when I first saw it and think the animation holds up very well.  The voice work by Antonio Banderas is good and I like the action which was a loving homage to Zorro and those kind of classic films.   On downside I didn’t love how they handled the Salma Hayek character.  She starts strong but isn’t treated with much respect and ends up having to be rescued and as an ordinary love interest.  I also think it can feel a little episodic and gets a little convoluted at moments.  But overall I enjoy Puss in Boots.

Kung fu Panda 2 I really enjoyed.  I know many readers don’t care for it, which is cool.  Always good to have a variety of opinions.  I think they toned down the humor and made a real kungfu movie with good fight scenes and battles.  I think they also majorly upgraded the villain with Shen voiced by Gary Oldman.  I like the adoption subplot and the development of the Furious Five is much better than in the first.  Overall, I think it is a good martial arts movie!

Then we have Cat in Paris which was a huge surprise for me.  I had never heard of it and I really liked.  I thought the animation was unique and beautiful.  I really liked the Mother character and felt she was well developed and interesting.  The story surprised me and didn’t go exactly as I thought it would.  The music is really strong and it’s both scary and funny.  Its a real hidden gem.

The fourth nominee is a foreign film called Chico and Rita.  This is a very adult animated film with a lot of nudity and I had to skip over sections.  That said, I liked the character of Rita and the music.  The animation I thought looked rotoscoped and generic; although, there are pretty moments.  I didn’t like the character of Chico and felt the movie was a little to easy on him.  He’s a real jerk and doesn’t deserve Rita.  The jazz music is really catchy and I can see why it was nominated even if it isn’t my cup of tea.

The final nominee is Rango.  If you have been a fan of the blog you might remember my review of Rango last year. I was pretty tough on it and I must admit I liked it a little bit more this time around.  The beginning has some interesting surrealist touches and towards the end the story picks up.  I appreciate they were trying to do something different but overall the pallet feels very beige to me so everything ends up looking bland and the same.  I also feel it takes way too long for the story to get going and don’t find Rango ambling around very funny.  Granted I haven’t seen many Westerns it is spoofing so that may be part of it.  I think the characters are underdeveloped and you go long stretches without characters which makes them even weaker.  Overall, I’m just not a fan of Rango but I see why others like it.

Of course, Rango won for the year and I think in this case the wrong film won.  There just isn’t enough story and the artistry is too bland for me to get behind Rango.  If I had to pick out of the 5 I would go with Cat in Paris.  I think it is visually inventive, the story surprised me and I really liked the characters.  Overall, it is a real delight.

What would you pick out of the 5 films?