Sunday, December 16, 2012

Dec Oscar Buzz and Predictions - 'Toons of Any Length

  Best Animated Short
     It became far simpler to at least make good guesses for this especially frustrating category (that is, if you are trying to make predictions), with the recent shortening of the competitors list to ten possibilities.  Still, I don't quite feel ready to argue with the buzz yet, so I'll just offer brief commentary along with the current buzz list...
  1. Paperman - This Disney production that played theatrically alongside Feature Contender Wreck-It Ralph is definitely the front runner by a huge margin in terms of both buzz and general awareness.  First time director John Karrs bounced around the animation departments of various films at Pixar for years until eventually making his way to the parent company as the Animation Supervisor for Tangled.  In Paperman, he utilizes an innovative blend of both 2G and CG animation that has a lot of people very excited.
  2. Adam and Dog - Winner of LAST year's ANNIE for short subject, this film is directed by another first time director:  Minkyu Lee, who also has some Disney background on a much more limited scale.
  3. The Eagleman Stag - This ambitious work of stop motion animation is the debut directorial effort from Michael Please.  It has already won him a BAFTA and the Animated Short Subject award from the Chicago Film Festival.
  4. Maggie Simpson in The Longest Daycare - This (along with Paperman) is a nominee for Best Short at THIS year's ANNIE awards.  Will Groenig, Silverman, Brooks, and company finally win an Oscar?
  5. Dripped - Yet ANOTHER debut effort from French film maker Leo Verrier, this short has already won a host of small film and animation festivals.

  6. Fall of the House of Usher - ?????
  7. Combustible - The lastest effort from Katsuhiro Otomo, creator of Akira.
  8. Head Over Heels - The third short film from Timothy Reckert, this one has also received numerous citations and a few wins on the festival circuit.
  9. Tram - The only previous nominee on the short list (for 1993's Words, Words, Words), you would expect Czech director Michaela Pavlatova to be a strong competitor if Tram were not an overtly erotic bus trip fantasy that no one has heard of.
  10. Fresh Guacamole - Director PES has won many awards for short film work but none were for this film.

  Best Animated Feature
     Well, it is now official:  enough animated films qualified for this category that we will definitely be looking at a field of five nominees come January.  I am embarrassed to say that I have only seen two of the competitors, but I am making this category's stand outs more of a priority in the near future.  It became obvious what the top five wide release films were going to be months ago, but somehow that pesky little distributor G-Kids has developed a real talent for pushing otherwise obvious choices out of the way to nab a slot or two.  This year they have four potential spoilers in the mix, and any of them could wind up in the final five.  To make the prediction game even more difficult, for the first time in years there is no clear front runner heading into the nominations, although I have a hunch.  More on that later, the buzz says (with previous rankings in parenthesis)...
  1.(1) Brave
  2.(5) Frankenweenie
  3.(2) Paranorman
  4.(4) Wreck-It Ralph
  5.(3) Rise of the Guardians

  6.(8) The Painting (Le Tableau)
  7.(7) From Up On Poppy Hill
  8.(10) The Rabbi's Cat
  9. Pirates! Band of Misfits
  10. Madagascar 3
  Leaving the rankings: The Lorax, Hotel Transylvania
     I, however, am gonna differ quite a bit this time...
  1. Frankenweenie - Although a meta-critic score of 74 hardly qualifies you as a critic's darling like the last three winners of this category, this film is winning the most critic's group awards and is the ONLY animated film showing up on any year end top ten lists so far (at least that I've seen, and I've LOOKED).  It was also made by Tim Burton, who (some recent waning of quality in his live action offerings notwithstanding) is a highly influential director and writer that the Academy has not found an excuse to honor.  This might be their best chance for some time to come.
  2. Brave - I really don't expect this tepidly received picture to win, but it takes a total flop to keep Pixar studios off the list of nominees.  This is one of the two that I've seen, and it was...good.
  3. The Painting - This will be G-KIDS surgical strike number one.  It has been steadily gaining buzz and HIGHLY positive notice, and I feel pretty sure that this film, like the two above, is a near lock for a nod.
  4. Paranorman - It was highly tempting (considering this film's mixed reviews) to just give G-KIDS all three remaining slots here, but 'Norman has been winning almost everything that Frankenweenie doesn't, so I have to leave its nomination in place...for now.
  5. The Rabbi's Cat - Surgical strike number two!!!!

  6. From Up On Poppy Hill - Or this could be number two...or even number three!
  7. Wreck-It Ralph - There is a decent chance that Disney could get this film into the line-up.  It has gotten pretty positive reviews overall, especially for John C. Reilly's voice over work.
  8. Rise of the Guardians - Despite pretty dreadful reviews, early precursor honors (some sight unseen) have kept this film in the conversation (the All-Star VO cast doesn't hurt either).
  9. Pirates! Band of Misfits - The second film that I've seen.  Never count out Aardman Studios.
  10. A Liar's Autobiography:  The Untrue Story of Monty Python's Graham Chapman - I can dream.

Related Posts: Nov/Dec Oscar Buzz and Predictions: It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year (preview), Musical Techs (Score and Song), Noisy Techs (Sound Editing and Sound Mixing), Pretty People Techs (Hairstyling and Make-up & Costume), Pretty Picture Techs (Production Design and Cinematography), Finishing Touch TechsBernie! On a Ledge of Misfits (Pirates! review), September Oscar Buzz and Predictions - The Genres

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