Jan. 24th, 2017

dixon_green: (Festival)
Well, I blew it again.  I did start on the animation list a couple of weeks ago, but there were 27 (!) eligible films, and that is a LOT to research, even if just superficially.

I did start, though.  I'd already selected my guesses for nomination: Zootopia, The Little Prince, Moana, Finding Dory, and Kubo and the Two Strings.  Here are the films nominated this morning:

  • Kubo and the Two Strings

  • Moana

  • My Life as a Zucchini

  • The Red Turtle

  • Zootopia

Three out of five.  Little surprised Pixar's Finding Dory was not included, because, Pixar.  For as good as it was, this was not one of Pixar's best efforts.  The story thundered down its path like a train on rails because it had to, not because it needed to.  Very little organic growth, not nearly the tight degree of writing I expect from Pixar.  Still, there was that absolutely lovely moment when Dory is completely alone in the ocean, completely panicked, and she remembers her parents' advice and grounds herself, calms herself, and finds her way.  Also somewhat surprised The Little Prince didn't pick up a nom.  Haven't seen it, but it has a pedigreed literary component, not insignificant box office, and is just the sort of arty film that attracts nominations.

I haven't seen My Life as a Zuchinni, but I was picking up positive buzz about it during my initial research run.  It might have taken the Little Prince's spot for the same arty reasons.  But I don't think it will win.   I know NOTHING about the Red Turtle.

I skipped Kubo and the Two Strings.  I really did not need to see another coming of age magical hero quest with a boy-child protagonist with a snotty attitude.  It looks pretty as all get out, and Laika is a bit of a outsider darling, but I just could not make myself care.  If I want magical hero quest coming of age, I've got Steven Universe to fill that void.

I did see Moana and I did see Zootopia.  Ans this is where it gets complicated.  I think Moana is going to win the Oscar.  It is a gorgeous film with fabulous music and songs.  It's recent and it is easy movie to vote for.  The story was well done, but there was something about Moana herself that bugged me.  If this film had been a rom-com, she would have been the perfect Manic Pixie Dream Girl.  Honestly, her only flaws were a bit of cute clumsiness and a touch of wanderlust.  Both parents, who loved her completly, a role she was being groomed for and was well suited to, she lives in an honest-to-god paradise!   Ahem.   I could go on and on about some of the structural issues I had with the story.  And why didn't she get her a tattoo at the end of her adventure, too?  But. Zootopia was a better story with better characters.  Still had flaws, but overall, it was better.  And, it has picked up the Golden Globe for best animated film.

On the downside, both of these are Disney flicks, and that could split the vote, which could let Kubo through for the win.

Moana also picked up a best song nomination for How Far I'll Go.  It's a good song, but ultimately it is extremely conventional.  "Shiny" is better.  It's a villian song, and on the surface is very bright and poppy.  But the way it shifts between major and minor, and the underlying rhythms are deeply unbalanced, oh, musically, it is marvelous.


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