Monday, February 23, 2015

Big Win: 'Big Hero 6' Takes Home Best Animated Feature Oscar

Prior to last night's Oscar ceremony, I was expecting DreamWorks to take it home for the first time in thirteen years... And the second time ever for them to do so...

Yes, throughout the Best Animated Feature category's history, DreamWorks won only once... For Shrek. That was the first time the BAF was given out at the ceremony, as the film beat out the much better Monsters, Inc. Many people and fans agreed that the Shrek win was a mistake, but DreamWorks never won again. From 2002 to 2007, their candidates arguably just weren't very good. I mean c'mon? Shark Tale in 2004? 2002, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, that was alright, but it was no Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, or Spirited Away. In 2003, 2005, 2006, and 2007, they were shut out.

Then we get to 2008, when Kung Fu Panda came out and was surprisingly really, really good. However, Pixar had released a beautiful sci-fi epic that was a game-changer for animation that year, so that was some tough competition right there. In fact, by this time, it was argued that Kung Fu Panda deserved the win over WALL-E. Those complaints, to be honest, aren't unfounded. Kung Fu Panda was DreamWorks truly stepping up their game after years of mixed bag features (Madagascar, Over the Hedge) and some outright clunkers (Shark Tale, Shrek the Third), to say nothing of their what I like to call the "outdo Disney phase" features. Also up for BAF that year was Disney Animation's acclaimed Bolt, and some out there were upset that WALL-E made it tough for it and Panda to have any chance at winning.

How To Train Your Dragon, released in 2010, was beloved, and many felt that it should've won over Toy Story 3. DreamWorks' two 2011 releases - the really good Kung Fu Panda 2 and the very enjoyable Puss in Boots - got nominated, but lost to the brilliant Rango. DreamWorks was shut out completely in 2012, despite having the wonderfully fun Madagascar 3 and the imaginative Rise of the Guardians in hand, but 2012 had so many strong animated features that picking five was not going to be an easy task. The Croods got the nom in 2013, but it obviously was going to get crushed by Frozen. This year, I felt, was their time to shine.

I figured that How To Train Your Dragon 2 would get it because the first film didn't really have a chance, and because it was - in many people's eyes - a damn good film. I think it's their best film to date, and much better than the first film, but I digress.

How To Train Your Dragon 2 took the Golden Globe home, and it swept the Annies... I was sure that Toothless would fly away with the little gold man statue, but it went to Walt Disney Animation Studios instead, for their great Big Hero 6...

To be honest, I'm quite content. I was rooting for the dragons and the balloon robot, but I was also rooting for The Tale of The Princess Kaguya and Song of the Sea. I would've been happy with any of those four winning. Since indies/small films usually don't get the little gold man, it was really a race between Disney Animation and DreamWorks. A majority of the voters probably only caught the former, so it's not hard to see why the Mouse House won.

However, I'm happy Big Hero 6 won. I loved the film, and it's great to see a more outside-the-box Disney animated film get a win for once. I feel that Disney should've won the Oscar for Wreck-It Ralph back in 2012. As much as I loved that year's Brave, I was very disappointed that Wreck-It Ralph didn't win. I wanted Disney to get rewarded for making a film that successfully told audiences, "We're not just about fairy tales and talking animal flicks, you know!" Any through-and-through Disney fan knows that Disney Animation is certainly capable of telling many kinds of stories, but I feel not too many outside the fan circles know that. A film like Wreck-It Ralph shows audiences what Disney Animation can do. Wreck-It Ralph, I felt, was the strongest of the five nominees released in 2012 outside of LAIKA's wonderful ParaNorman. Alas, the Academy went the safe route and gave it to Brave. Based on everything we've seen about Oscar voters and those "brutally honest ballots", I reckon that a majority of the voters only watched that one film.

So it's no shock that Disney Animation took it home this year. I know lots are upset about that, and that's okay, I was personally happy with it winning. I thought the film was well-written, action-packed, funny, creative, and again, Disney Animation showing that they can certainly tell any kind of story. They pulled the action film genre off quite well!

But remember, it's just a golden statue. If Big Hero 6 wasn't your pick for Best Animated Feature of 2014, you aren't wrong. People need to stop taking the Oscars so seriously, for they are not the be-all end-all decider of what makes a quality film. Why am I content with the win? Well, because I loved the film a great deal. Last year, I felt Frozen didn't deserve that Oscar at all, but it is what it is. Some others felt differently, and they felt that film did deserve it. It's just a reward, not like it magically makes the film the greatest. It's all subjective.

Anyways, three cheers for Walt Disney Animation Studios and Big Hero 6! And also an obligatory moment of silence for The Lego Movie...

And also, Disney, the film got an Oscar. No more excuses, start plugging the hell out of this movie because damn it I'm more than done with you aggressively shoving Frozen down my throat.

1 comment:

  1. To be fair, Frozen seems to be dying down a little bit around where I live (North Myrtle Beach). But hey, I'll take Frozen being popular over High School Musical any day. HSM is NOT what Disney's about. It's about the animated classics, and of course the theme parks. By the way, I actually saw some Big Hero 6 toys at my local Walmart. Bandai is making these toys, and it's part of their new 2015 toy lineup (along with Power Rangers - no surprise there - and a Japanese anime franchise that was brought to the US last year called Doraemon).