There was a lot of animation news in the Sunday papers, starting with:
Russia's animation industry looks set for a boost with TV station Channel One announcing it will be putting major funds into the sector -- starting with distinctive arthouse fare ...
"One of the targets of Channel One's cinema producing policy will be support of full-length feature 3-D animation blockbusters oriented at a wide family audience ..."
Channel One plans to deepen its relationship with Petrov and other gifted Russian animators, knowing that that even though their works aren't likely to be blockbusters, the Russian animation biz will stagnate without them.
"Nothing happens in this business without talented artists-animators, and we'll be doing our best to support them, too." ...
More players in the game. Is the field getting too crowded, or am I paranoid?
If anyone looks like "Mr. Inevitability" for the Best Animated Feature Oscar, it's the often-interviewed Brad Bird:
"[He] is singularly one of the finest and rarest filmmakers working today," [Disney Studios Chairman Dick] Cook says. "This guy writes, he directs, he does everything. He's incredibly smart and it shows up in all of his work."
Oh sure. Disney execs slobber all over Brad now. I can remember when Disney execs were firing his butt.
However. Is the Big Mouse laying it on too thick? Because there are a couple of dark horses in the Oscar race, one of them being a surfing epic:
Oscar prognosticators expressed surprise, even shock, when "Surf's Up" received a nomination alongside Sony Pictures Classics' "Persepolis" and Pixar Animation's "Ratatouille," the favorite to win. It trumped two Golden Globe nominees, "The Simpsons Movie" and "Bee Movie" with Jerry Seinfeld. But the arched eyebrows had less to do with the movie's merits than with its apparent invisibility among industry insiders.
"I don't know anyone who's seen it," says one Academy Award consultant for a rival studio.
But I do. A veteran director -- a very talented guy -- came up to me a month ago and raved about the picture. "It was really good. Funny, and I liked the characters. I took way too long to go watch it."