The Oscars openly don’t care about animation

A heavy ambivalence hangs around the Oscars. This ceremony, scrutinized by everyone and defining for American entertainment and the industry as a whole, is a point X-ray of the cinema at the moment T. According to a few thousand votersin any case.

But she struggles to get rid of her clichés. In 2016, the “Oscars So White” controversy highlights the lack of racial diversity in the nominees. The following year, the Weinstein affair cast a chill over a ceremony that celebrated Hollywood. In 2020, it’s the lack of gender diversity among the nominees who caused a stir. The last time a female director won a Best Picture Oscar was in 2009, for Kathryn Bigelow and Minesweepers. But nothing else in the best realization for ten years. “Congratulations to these men”, quipped actress Issa Rae by announcing the short list 2020. In the animation category, I lost my body is the French outsider – voters still have to look at him.

The Academy is often singled out as a group of navel-gazing voters who understand little of the stakes of the ceremony. Last year, the victory of Green Book has often been judged as “the worst since Collision» and the multiple appointments of Joker in 2020 divide.

Even before the problems of Oscar representations, it is easy to point out a glaring lack of skills in other areas: the statuette for best animated film, created in 2001, is a recurring dismay for anyone interested in it.

It’s (very often) Disney who wins in the end

The lists of nominees obey a programmatic logic and the hegemony of Disney, which capitalized a third of the American box office in 2019, continues until the almost systematic victory of the Disney film (or indirectly with Pixar, which it owns) in its category. It’s been thirteen years since a Disney feature win the timpani if there is one among the nominees. A few exceptions: Shrek (2001), Spirited away (2002, distributed by Buenavista, therefore also by Disney) Wallace and Gromit (2005, with The Howl’s Moving Castle in front) rango (2010, no Disney in the running and no competition). Last year, the victory of spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse against excellent opponents (Mirai, The Incredibles 2, Isle of Dogs) had an unexpected character, but the support of the film’s fans bordered on memeticism. spider verse is a constant delight that uses the animated medium to the maximum, that plays with and subverts it at every moment, far from the Disney canons and playful animals from Dreamworks. A Herculean victory in such a context.

But not everyone is so lucky. Your Name (2016) was a truly cross-generational phenomenon that encapsulates an era and revealed a director, Makoto Shinkai, to the whole world. Not for the Oscars!

Your Name. | Screenshot via YouTube

Corollary, the only foreign film to have won this statuette is Spirited away. This sometimes gives singular results: in 2015, The New Heroes triumph over Tale of Princess Kaguyaa sublime, complex and twilight work.

Author and animation specialist, Olivier Fallaix reminds us that the influence of this category should not be underestimated. However, “on the Oscars site, the dedicated section is as if hidden, almost mentioned last”. It highlights how much the statuette contributes to the influence of Japanese animation and the country. “It breaks down all the barriers, the stakes are high. It’s more than the icing on the cake.”

Three Disney and two Dreamworks

In order to make it to the Oscars, you have to aim for a wide exit window in Los Angeles. This is also the reason behind the few Netflix exclusives to be used in a few rooms: they become eligible for rewards.

But who can submit a film? Everyone. It is necessary to remember that the first short list of any category is open. Anyone can slip in. If we go back to the more than twenty films selected in 2018, we see that it is a real menagerie. There you can find the entire Annecy festival previous, some films that really advance the medium (Liz and the Bluebird, Night Is Short Walk On Girl) rub shoulders with soulless commissions or somewhat heartbreaking works such as Teen Titans! GB.

Light years away, it’s not too late to see Marona’s Extraordinary Journey, by Anca Damian. A superb Romanian film still in theaters – but it will be too alien for the Oscars.

The Oscars openly dont care about animation

The extraordinary journey of Marona. | Screenshot via YouTube

And if only one example was needed to prove that everyone can be found on this list, let’s highlight the presence of The Laws Of The Universe, promotional film of the Happy Science cult (not to say “sect”). In the previous opus of this series – because it is one –, we learn that the first men jousted with laser beams on the backs of raptors. A delirium close to Scientology, therefore. On an improbable list of thirty films where we find a few nuggets, “the short list final will always be composed of a Disney, a Dreamworks and one or two foreign and arty films”, ironically Olivier Fallaix.

Movies not even watched

But why such automatic results? Every year, the journalist and specialized author Amid Amidi answers the question by redoing the same article on the Cartoon Brew website. In essence, it collects comments from voters who do not watch all the films and who are sometimes influenced by the uses of their children. For the past year, he quotes a voter: “I have not seen Mirail, Ralph 2.0 Where The Incredibles 2. Isle of Dogs? Not liked at all. SpiderMan: Into the Spider-verse was great. I will vote for him.”

In his 2013 edition, an academician qualified The Tale of Princess Kaguya of “fucking Chinese thing he’s never heard of”. Hell and damnation.

It must be said that the presentation of the trophy for animated features is one of the only two purely “filmic” categories where voters are not required to watch all the nominees. The second? The best movie.

Olivier Fallaix emphasizes a double standard. “The short film category is much more eclectic. We do not find the same phenomenon there, the nationalities and genders are more varied. To believe that it is easier to enter into an author’s logic when Disney is not in the equation. “They are the ones who release the most films, that’s for sure. […] And not being American doesn’t help,” he laughs.

However, Olivier Fallaix recalls that a specialized ceremony exists. “The Annie Awards are the real appointment of the animation. They are more consistent, there are modern sizes, as Masaaki Yuasa», an author who actually tries many registers and won the Annecy Crystal in 2017.

At the Annies, we distinguish best film and best independent film, where I lost my body alongside Buñuel and the Golden Age, Okko and the ghosts, Promare and The Children of Time. Japan monopolizes the main categories, but the selection is even more varied in the best advertising, the best commission, the best film in virtual reality and student films… the kind of content that the French can see at the Annecy festival which, remember, is open to the public. Two events where the whole world has a voice.

It is very difficult to have a bad week at the Annecy festival, where the atmosphere is unique.

Who could win in 2020?

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In the absence of the Frozen IIPixar represents Disney with Toy Story 4, and becomes automatic prediction. Winner at Annecy in 2019, I lost my body probably doesn’t stand a chance, but his presence in the short list is already a great victory. Rewarding this movie would be incredible case law in the category. Klaus strikes a good balance between classicism, efficiency and invention, but it has two handicaps: it is not American and it is broadcast on Netflix. Dragons 3 occupies the usual niche of the Dreamworks studio, and Mr Link, from the venerable Laika studio, was released to general indifference last year. A glance on the poster explain this situation a bit. Olivier Fallaix is ​​betting on the latter. Glory to the victors, honor to the vanquished. But until proven otherwise, this reward is, by definition, an injustice.

We wish to give thanks to the author of this short article for this remarkable material

The Oscars openly don’t care about animation