Hyperpat\’s HyperDay

SF, science, and daily living

The Academy and Animation

Posted by hyperpat on February 24, 2009

Stupid me, I went and watched the Academy Awards show on Sunday. What I saw was an almost complete disparagement of animation and science fiction, as if neither of those categories was really worth any consideration by the Academy. Yes, Wall-E took best animated picture, but that was almost a given – there was nothing else out there remotely approaching its quality in animation land. But, and this is a big but, it wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture, even though (IMO) it was clearly better than a couple of the movies that did get a nomination nod. Iron Man was almost completely ignored, and The Dark Knight got only what everyone expected.

Now it could be argued that The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is sf – but I think it really belongs in the fantasy camp, or perhaps ‘magical realism’. Regardless, the focus of this movie is not on the mechanism of his reverse aging, but rather what that does to his personal relationships. It might also be noted that some of film techniques used in this movie are traveling into the world of animation, especially in the early scenes which have heavy CGI graphics. Apparently such work is acceptable if it’s a ‘live action’ movie.

The query becomes, why did this movie get nominated and not Wall-E? I think it has a lot to do with the ‘quality’ of its origin, being based on a short story by F. Scott Fitzgerald – and as such, shows up something that I think has been present in the Awards process for a long time: the snob factor. This is not to say that I don’t think Button shouldn’t have been nominated – it’s a fine movie. But The Reader, Milk, and Frost/Nixon are what I consider to be marginal entries.

Maybe someday the Academy will get hip to the fact that some of the best stories, acting, and overall movie experience today are being produced in animation land, and are given nominations and awards on an equal basis with live action movies – but I wouldn’t count on it soon.

In the meantime, I’ve already nominated Wall-E for the Hugo Award, and will vote for it when that time comes. But getting that award may seem like small potatoes to the creators of this movie.

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2 Responses to “The Academy and Animation”

  1. Got here from your Amazon SF list, of which I also read 80% of in my youth. This allows me to claim some sort of kinship. I share a fondness for Piers Anthoy’s Planet series which nobody seems to read anymore.

    “The Curious Case of Benjamin Buttons” allows a 40 year old woman, who marries the age-appropriate love of her life, to nobly have sex with an 18 year old Brad Pitt. In short, a chick flick. This is the female equivalent of many of the Heinlein novels where old guys get to have sex with young women.

  2. hyperpat said

    We’ll see tonight if Wall-E managed to snag the Hugo.

    Like your take on Benjamin Button. It’s an interpretation I hadn’t really thought of. But not all of Heinlein’s works had older men with younger women – take Tunnel in the Sky, where Roderick’s partner is actually a little older than he is, or Glory Road, where Star is a lot older than Oscar.

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