Monday, December 12, 2016

Sphere O' Gold '16: Golden Globe Nominees Out

The appetizer to the Oscars, the Golden Globes... Every December, every late winter...

The best animated feature line-up is surprisingly a little diverse this time around, considering that in the past, the animated category had mostly left out foreign entries. Here, we have the Swiss-French film My Life as a Zucchini, a stop-motion film that GKIDS locked up. Supposedly weighty and not afraid to go down some dark avenues, I see this film easily getting into the race for the gold man now. In the past, I thought it had a good chance at getting in. Now, it could very well be up for an Oscar nomination despite some pretty rough indie competition.

The next three were expected. Kubo and the Two Strings is up, as well as Zootopia and Moana. What I didn't expect was Sing...

That good, huh? From everything I'm hearing, it's a well-rounded, well-made comedy musical that seems to be leagues ahead of Illumination's post-Despicable Me output. The film is not even out here in the states, and it's already making some waves. I'm actually pretty excited for it, the newest trailer really makes it look like it could be fun and toe-tapping. But among the best of the year? I'll have to see about that!

Finding Dory, unsurprisingly, is out of the race. Not the first time a Pixar film - sequel or not - didn't make it at the Globes.

I think this time, it has more to do with the amount of truly high quality features that came out this year. Finding Dory, being very good, perhaps had small chances at getting into the final five. I have a feeling the same will go for the Oscars, as they - in 2013 - didn't hesitate to squeeze out Monsters University, and nominate middling fare like The Croods and Despicable Me 2. I know it's not chic to think Monsters University is anything above mediocre, but I felt it was very good, and actually better than the three mainstreamers of 2013 that were nominated for Best Animated Feature Oscar. Yes, that includes Frozen.

Finding Dory's miss is a bit disappointing, but at the same time there's so much good stuff this year that I'm not distraught over it. While Finding Dory was a personal film for me, I can handle it being out of the race. If I feel it's better than Sing, then I'll have questions for the Globe nominators.

Anyways, this has little bearing on my overall predictions for the Oscars. Since they're nominating more and more foreign works, I have a feeling that Sing won't get in, instead we'll get two indies. For a while, I was thinking April and the Extraordinary World and The Red Turtle would be the ones to get in, but now I think Zucchini has a lot of potential. Phantom Boy and Your Name still aren't out of the question. The three mainstreamers are obvious at this point: Zootopia, Kubo and the Two Strings, and Moana...

I'll eat crow if one of them doesn't make it.

If you check out what the critics' circles are saying, you'll find a bunch of different results. So far...

Zootopia has three wins: Critics' Choice, NY Film Critics, and the AFI. The latter has the film on a Top 10 best of the year list... Yes, an animated movie on a best of the year in general list. That's awesome.

Kubo and the Two Strings has a whopping four: National Board of Review, Atlanta Critics, Washington D.C. Critics, and Boston Online Critics. Wow!

The LA Film Critics chose Your Name, while the European Film Awards went for My Life as a Zucchini.

This means nothing, though. Remember back in 2012, none of the critics circles named Brave the best animated film of the year. The film won the Oscar and the Golden Globe, despite not being one of the year's stronger contenders. Now, you can argue that times have changed and that the Academy probably has new rules that require them to actually watch the movies before picking, but who knows. The Oscars, despite the supposedly new rules, still gave Inside Out the gold man at the last ceremony. Not a dig on Inside Out, it's a fantastic film, but I still get the sense that they didn't watch the others, or decided to just give it to the safe option - a mainstream, not to mention Disney-released film. The same applies for Big Hero 6's win for Best Animated Feature 2014.

Anyways, right now, it seems like Zootopia and Kubo are the darlings. One's from Disney, the other is from LAIKA, who has yet to win an Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Or a Golden Globe for that matter. ParaNorman was completely snubbed by the Globes in 2012, they gave the nom to Hotel Transylvania instead.

So I have a feeling the Globes are going to be predictable. Either Zootopia or Moana takes it home.

As for the Oscars, Zootopia is probably still locked to win.

Now because Moana's a musical, we're hearing some things here and there. Only 'How Far I'll Go' is in the running, alongside Trolls' 'Can't Stop the Feeling'. A pleasant pop song at best, I would've removed it to make room for another Moana song. If you were to ask me what Moana song I would give the award to, it would be 'I Am Moana (Song of the Ancestors)'... That's just my personal pick, though.

As for best animated feature, if I had to choose between the two Walt Disney Animation Studios films, I'd easily pick Zootopia. Moana's great, but it's comfort food. Zootopia does bold new things and its script is a little more consistent. Disney Animation should be rewarded for that, should they take anything home - be it spheres or statues.

Now throw in Kubo and the Two Strings, I would be okay with either Zootopia or Kubo and the Two Strings winning. Both are high points for modern mainstream feature animation.

Let the games begin!

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