Sunday, November 11, 2007

Oh no he didn't!

Old friend, workmate and goof-off partner Jeff Lew just completed his 85-minute feature, Killer Bean Forever on his own! I think the whole animation community joins me in saluting your independent spirit, your perseverance and your eccentricity in pulling this off. It better be good, Jeff, but either way I think you have massive beans.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Animation at the Academy Awards

Victor Navone writes a great comment about Beowulf being nominated for an Oscar against Ratatouille. He focuses us on how recorded performances encroach on animation creativity, but also laments the existence of animation categories at the awards:
"I believe the category of Best Animated Feature should not exist, because it creates an arbitrary distinction between mediums and ultimately ghettoizes animation into a separate category so that it can never compete for Best Picture. If you want to make distinctions, do it by genre, not by medium. Ratatouille is the best reviewed film of the year, but it will never compete directly against the year's live-action films because the Academy has it squarely seated at the kids' table."
Come on, man. Remember who started the Academy Awards? Cigar chomping studio moguls posing for pictures with their tall film stars, putting on dinner suits and celebrating themselves one night a year. Animators have always been a more modest specie of filmmaker. As a kid I used to love acting stuff out, as long as no one could see. We're mostly shy. That's why we love to work from home, and, IMHO, why we like to ghettoize ourselves when in big buildings (wink wink honk honk). I think the award seperation is healthy for our kind as it is for foreign films, with some overlapping reasons; Most people like to watch stars more than watching animated characters. That's how it can be that there are too many animated films in one year for the market to absorb profitably. Academy members would never vote Remi over Daniel Day-Lewis and Johnny Depp. Not even Woody over Tom Hanks.
While the crossover of live-action and animation is pushing the envelope of filmmaking techniques and enriching the audience experience, the Oscars are really for the American screen stars and for their patrons.
Happy belated birthday, Victor!