Chris Rock was not the only one to be slapped this year Oscars. The entire animation industry got a slap in the face when its three presenters Best cartoon movie The award rejected the medium as a kiddie fare, saying: “So many kids watch these movies over and over again… and over and over and over and over again… I think some parents out there know exactly what are we talking about. “And Phil Lord and Chris Miller they are tired of it.
In a very clever article about Varietyits two directors The movie Lego, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verseand this year’s Oscar nominee Mitchells vs. Machines asked the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to treat animated films with the respect they deserve for a variety of reasons: 1) they are as carefully directed, designed and interpreted as any live-action film. 2) Many of them are extremely popular with adults, whether they have children or not. 3) They often face difficult or important issues like any other Oscar-worthy film. and 4) can be really, really good.
But the biggest reason is that by treating cartoons as Oscar’s second-class citizens, they create a stigma that pervades the entire industry. The Lord and Miller cited two excellent examples of the problem: “Framing the five Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Feature as a corporate product for children that parents have to endure with resentment could be dismissed as simply careless. But for those of us who have dedicated our lives to making cartoons, this carelessness has become routine. The head of a large animation studio once said at an animators’ meeting that if we played our cards right, one day we would “graduate in live action”. Years later, another studio executive said that a particular animated film we made was so enjoyable that it reminded them of a “real movie.”
The rejection of cartoons also leads to the dismissal of the people who make it, which is why the Cartoon Association was forced to rally to seek fair compensation for their work. The Lord and Miller continue: “We are currently negotiating with the Film and Television Producers Alliance to persuade the studios to pay the animation workers fairly, especially when animation is such a large and important part of their results. (Look for # NewDeal4Animation to learn more!) During the pandemic, when much of the physical production was shut down, the animators started working right away from home. “These films have kept our business afloat.”
They are not wrong! Nor are they wrong about the respect these films deserve. It’s crazy that Oscar nominees basically called cartoons virtual babysitters when this year’s nominees included Fleein which a man recounts his sad escape from his homeland Afghanistan to his Danish future wife — a film that was also nominated for Best International Film and Best Documentary. The whole article is worth reading if you have some—go check it out. Let’s hope that the members of the Academy will do the same.
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