Tuesday, January 23, 2007

And the Nominees Are....

Happy Feet, Cars, and Monster House.

If I were a betting man, I would say Cars is the odds-on favorite to win, but I wouldn't rule out Feet. Monster House, to my mind, is definitely a dark horse in this mix.

But what do I know? I'm just a thick-witted union stiff.

Update: And while we're at it, let's consider the Animated Shorts, shall we?

For the first time in a while, most are from the U.S. of A.:

Lifted - Pixar - Gary Rydstrom

The Little Matchgril - Disney - Roger Allers and Don Hahn

To Time for Nuts - 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky - Chris Renaud and Michael Thurmier

The Danish Poet - National Film Board of Canada - (A Mikrofilm and National Film Board of Canada Production) - Torill Kove

Maestro - Szimplafilm - A Kedd Production -- Geza M. Toth

Interesting to see that the majors are into the shorts category in a big way. Usually that isn't the case...

LATE Update: Tom Sito has some nice insights into the nominees. Better to link it late than never.


Anonymous said...

Out of the features, I hope Cars wins. It's the only one of the three that actually counts as animation really. (As opposed to that Mo-Cap garbage).

Anonymous said...

Good God, I wonder if the archives have postings similar to the one above where some malcontent is bashing that new fangled CG garbage over good old cell animation? Or maybe there is one where someone is bashing Xerox over hand inked cells, or maybe we can find some real vintage stuff where the addition of sound killed the medium.

Time and technology march ever forward - mocap is a tool - just the the pencil, and the Xerox machine and everything else that is used to tell a story.

To refer to it as "garage" is an insult to the many artists that lent their time and talent toward telling of these stories. Thank God the Academy is not so stuck-up and stuck in the past to realize that the message is what is important not the medium used to tell it.

Anonymous said...

I will agree wholeheartedly with almost all of the anonymous post above and I'll use my name. Though I don't think it's the 'message'. It's if animators were needed and used - and it's clear Monster House and Happy Feet both needed real animators to look the way they do.
If the film is able to be run through a computer process and does not need the work of animators than it shouldn't be considered an animated film. I'm not sure if this includes Scanner Darkly or not - though it qualified for nomination by the board.
I tend to avoid the phrase "slippery slope", but this definitely qualifies as one. If these films were disqualified becuase they used motion capture as a tool (like rotoscope has been used since Snow White) than do we disqualify poorly animated films? or films animated by subcontracted overseas studios for a small budget?
There might need to be a line drawn, but this isn't where it should be.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, mocap is NOT just a tool, like CG. It is, in fact, the opposite of animation.

Animation has ALWAYS meant the frame-by-frame creation of movement from the imagination of the animator's head, regardless of the medium. Motion capture has nothing in common with this, being simply a recording of live-action.

Yes, I realize some "tweaking" is necessary to make mocap work. But ALL of the creative decisions were made by someone other than the animator, who simply becomes little more than a data processor.

Those who suggest that mocap is "just another tool" either don't understand what animation is, or have a vested interest in propagating that myth.

Anonymous said...

I couldn't disagree more.
I think by this point I understand animation pretty damn well and I have no vested interests anywhichway.
By your definition Bluth's Anastasia (as one example) wouldn't really qualify as animation since Bluth shot all of his 'animation' in live-action first and left little or nothing to the imagination of the animators except how much to stretch and squash the mouths and where to put the little puppy.
While Polar Express's animation might have been souless in many ways it still is light years away from what they accomplished in Monster House. If 'soulful' animation is your criteria for what constitutes animation then a lot of what has always been excepted as animation should not be considered such.
I would also argue (and have) that Gollum's performance would not have been the same without the abilities of skilled animators and for that reason Andy Serkis did not deserve to be nominated for an Oscar.

Anonymous said...

Let's call rotoscoping exactly what it is--a cheat and a crutch used by those who can't animate. Mocap is used for exactly the same reasons, primarily by live-action directors who want to enter the animation game but have no knowledge or comfort with the medium.

Bluth was fairly excortiated for his use of rotoscoping, and to use his efforts as a justification for mocap is to head down a bad direction. To this day, the only Bluth work worth talking about is the stuff where rotoscoping played an insignifcant role. "Anastasia" suffers, rather than is enhanced, by its overwhelming rotoscoping.

I can certainly agree regarding Gollum, considering that the mocap that was generated was essentially never directly used. Gollum was almost entirely keyframed, as the mocap data simply wasn't usable. This resulted in a fairly agreeable arrangement whereby Serkis' performance gave many good reference ideas, but the character itself was keyframed. At least in that scenario, actor and animator are essentially on equal creative footing.

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