We’d rather not start on Oscar talk yet, because there’ll be plenty of time for it in the upcoming months and because we don’t care. Still, the LA Times‘ Patrick Goldstein has an interesting, brief interview with the cheerily diplomatic Pixar creative chief John Lasseter, who’s also a member of the Academy Board of Governors, in which they discuss why it’s so hard for an animated film to get taken seriously.
love for me to complain, wouldn’t you? Well, I’m not. But I will say
I’m proud that the academy has an Oscar that celebrates the best
It used to be the best you could hope for
was a musical nomination. I guess you have to view it as akin to the
best foreign language film. You’re still eligible for other categories,
even if it doesn’t happen very often.
Variety has a whole section on the topic of Oscars and animation: Ellen Wolff notes that some categories (like writing) are more available to animated films than others, particularly directing: "Ratatouille"’s Brad Bird complains that "Obviously you’re not standing there with a megaphone in virtual land, but we still have to analyze whether people can follow an emotion through a film. We still deal with camera angles and the rhythm of shots." Iain Blair discusses voice casting and David S. Cohen looks into how the Academy is struggling to define animation in the face of the growth of motion-capture, and how "this fall’s big mo-cap release, ‘Beowulf,’ may stump the rules — or at least have the Acad asking the filmmakers to answer a few questions."
On that latter film, Dalya Alberge at the London Times has a breathy piece on its 3-D incarnation:
The technology has become so flawless that it is set to transform the way films are both made and watched, film-makers say. There is an unsurpassed clarity, making audiences feel that they are in the picture. Two reels of film go through the projector and fool the brain into merging them and seeing them in 3-D.
Personally, we’d love to see "Ratatouille" get a best picture nod, and it probably does have the best chances of any animated film in quite a while. And it made A.O. Scott get all gushy. Marjane Satrapi’s "Persepolis," which with its black and white cel animation looks in no way related to either the semi-lifelike insanity that is "Beowulf" or the more figurative "Ratatouille," could also be in line for awards â€” if not animation, then foreign language film, as it is France’s submission to the category this year.
+ John Lasseter (LA Times)
+ Is animation stuck in Oscar ghetto? (Variety)
+ Animation voice experts debate tricks (Variety)
+ Academy struggles to define animation (Variety)
+ Beowulf becomes even more epic in 3-D (London Times)