Well, this year I find myself scratching my head at the Oscars. I find it hard to criticize films that are nominated mainly because I've never produced anything "Oscar-worthy" and as such, have never been nominated for an Academy Award. So, setting aside issues of competent filmmaking (following the rules of film and the principles of animation), I'm stuck just speaking about the films that resonate with me, or more to the point, the films that I would have chosen.
"Up" won Best Animated Feature. Okay. I can see that, decent filmmaking and animation. Felt the story was a touch light, but it was very touching in some parts and exciting in others. A solid, if unspectacular film. Still liked "The Incredibles" better, but that's just me. "Princess and the Frog" was good, but not good enough to win in my opinion. I was really hoping that "Secret of Kells" or "Coraline" would win. Despite the story flaws in "Coraline" and the highly stylized art design in "Kells," I still felt that they were the strongest films in the selection this year. But as I didn't like "Fantastic Mr. Fox" at all, I took a little comfort that at least that one didn't win. It's just my opinion, but I thought it looked like a one semester project from a bunch of second year film students who said "hey, let's make an animated film." Wes Anderson has produced an Oscar nominated, feature-length, stop-motion film. I have not. So, take that assessment for whatever you think it is worth.
"Logorama." Huh. O-kay. Again, not my choice. Don't get me wrong, it was cute, but the story was meandering and, in the end, it was kind of pointless. I'm not a big fan of 'slice of life' films and quite frankly, the vulgarity put me off. "A Matter of Loaf and Death" was very competently produced, but I couldn't shake this feeling of 'been-there-done-that'. The excitement just wasn't there. Eh, I bought the DVD so Mr. Park should be happy. The two films I liked the most out of this year's bunch of Animated Short Films were "Granny O'Grimm" and "the Lady and the Reaper." Yes, a very simple story, but I thought that Granny was funny and I liked the art design in both the 2D and 3D sequences. "French Roast" was okay, but again, the story was just too simplistic and I felt that it was stretched out to fill a span of time that the story just didn't justify having. I liked the character design and thought the animation was solid, but not enough there to get my vote. Having seen all the nominated shorts, "Lady and the Reaper" was by far my favorite. Loved the character design, thought the story was clever, animation was solid. And I just got the most edge-of-your-seat laughs out of it. Antonio Banderas should be proud of his people, they made a really fun film that should've won (in my opinion).
Overall, though I think last year's entries were stronger films with a much greater diversity of story and artistic styles, but there were still some solid performers in this year's batch.
Sigh. I'm glad I'm not betting money on which films win and which ones lose...