Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Armistice Linkage

As we celebrate the anniversary of "the war to end all wars" (and aren't you glad we got that out of our system?) here is your Armistice Day linkorama.

Our long period of nail-biting is over. Animation has a poop-load of Oscar contenders and the longer list of cartoon nominees prevails.

Turns out that 20 films have been submitted for consideration in the Oscar race for best animated feature. That means there will probably be five nominees, since 16 eligible entries must be submitted. Fewer eligible entries means that there will be just three nominees in the category, which has been the case seven times over the last eight contests since the category was created.

"Eligible" is a key word. According to the academy Rule Seven, that means an entry must score 7.5 or better when evaluated by members of an academy committee who will rank each one from 6 (lowest) to 10 (highest). There's also the issue of production technique, which must utilize "frame by frame" animation. Using computer-generated imagery is a cloudy matter.

What the above reflects, of course, is the reality that animation is a growing segment of the movie biz. (Like you didn't already know that ...)

The Indian animation industry finds itself diversifying as it grows out of the recession:

Indian animation charts new course on route to recovery

... [Indian] industries have had to reshape the way they go about their business. The Rs 17.4 billion Indian animation industry has also found an alternate revenue stream in what was hitherto dubbed as ‘allied’ applications of animation.

... Industry estimates put media and entertainment as still providing over 70% of the [animation] industry’s revenue. But it is specialized animation that is growing faster, at about 40% (compared to media and entertainment’s 25% annual growth rate), and is powering the industry ..

...[There are] nearly 8,000 specialised animation studios across India that are faring well thanks to increased demand for their services from diverse industries. ET Spoke to at least five such specialized animation studios- all testifying to about 30% growth in business.

ASIFA announces its McCay awards:

The International Animated Film Society, ASIFA-Hollywood has announced the Winsor McCay Award recipients for 2009: Tim Burton, Bruce Timm and Jeffrey Katzenberg ... Named in honor of animator Winsor McCay, best known as a prolific artist and pioneer in the art of comic strips and animation, the Winsor McCay Award stands as one of the highest honors given to an individual in the animation industry in recognition for career contributions to the art of animation ...

The voice actors answer questions regarding their thesping in The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and Meryl Streep proves she knows a lot more about acting than animation:

Streep: [...] It's sort of like recording a musical piece almost because Wes is so specific about the nuance of the sound of it. He feels like the sound calls up a whole set of expressions. And since the animatronics are so limited in what they can express, it all had to be in our voices.

Laika, the newer cartoon studio in Portalnd, clearly plans to be around for awhile:

Laika, Phil Knight's Portland animation studio, named a Hollywood studio executive chief financial officer on Monday.

Gary Raksis had been in charge of strategic planning and corporate finance at DreamWorks Animation SKG in California. He moved to Portland to join Laika, according to the studio.

Mr. Raksis Probably wouldn't pack his bags and move north if he didn't think Laika has staying power. (Or is it Big Bucks that lured him to Portland?)

The sweeping of Disney's Big Broom picks up speed as the house-cleaning continues:

The reorganization under way at the Walt Disney Studios accelerated on Wednesday with the promotion of several lieutenants and the jettisoning of over a dozen midlevel marketing, distribution and operations officials. The move comes after the dismissal of three top executives at the studio within the last two months ...

Rich Ross, who succeeded Mr. Cook as chairman last month, has moved quickly to begin an overhaul of the studio, which lost money in the most recent quarter and recently suffered the disappointing debut of its $175 million version of “A Christmas Carol.” It’s no surprise that marketing has been Mr. Ross’s first target: The department was filled with job redundancies and has been criticized by Robert A. Iger, Disney’s chief executive, for leaning too heavily on old-fashioned marketing practices ...

You will note that, by and large, the slate of films overseen by Mr. Cook continues to underperform. I would submit that's a large part of why Mr. Cook is now enjoying retirement.

Have a splendiforous Veteran's Day.


Anonymous said...

I know there's no chance in hell, but I wish "Astro Boy" would get nominated. Frankly, I enjoyed it more than any other animated film this year. And everybody I know who's seen it has loved it, and their kids adored it. I weep for that film. It deserved a better fate.

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