As the end of the year rolls around, nearly every site and station is picking their top ten this and best of the year that…. and we will also fall into this meme. Our list shall be what we consider the best animated feature films of the year, without regard to box office, previous awards or if they played in Los Angeles theaters for a week. It is also not a numbered list. These are just the animated feature films we feel stand out from the rest… and probably deserve a second look if you have not seen them. And you probably haven’t!
First on our list is Reel FX’s The Book of Life, which was directed by Jorge R. Gutierrez, art directed by Paul Sullivan and with production design by Simon Valdimir Varela. It is because of the last two that this film is on the list- this was the prettiest film of the year. The colors bloomed, and the design was fresh and new. I am not even sure what the story was about, I was like a cat staring at sparkling lights. If we needed to pick a most beautiful picture of the year, this would be it.
Our next pick is. This troublked film barely made it to the big screen because of the bankruptcy of the French studio Duran Duboi which was in charge of the fabrication of the animation. But it finally did make it, with the help of Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp. This film has an earthy, man-made quality about it that so many modern animated films lose in their technology.
Our third choice is Bill Plympton’s Cheatin’, which is proof that anyone with talent and a good idea can make a feature animated film. To be sure, Plympton is not just anyone, but he is certainly a talented man with a lot to say. What makes this film stand out is that it was wholly financed by a Kickstarter funding program. Cheatin’… and Hullabaloo are great examples of how good films can be made in the modern age.
Our list would be remiss withoutfrom Studio Ghibli. Directed by Isao Takahata, this studio is a storytellers studio. Somehow, commercial success seems to follow. Sort of like how Pixar used to be. It took the studio eight years to make this film.
There are a lot of films fighting for this last spot in my mind. I have picked one… then changed it… and then changed it again. Should it be Song of the Sea, despite the fact I have not seen it. I love Tomm Moore, and his Brendan And The Secret Of Kells which was an Academy Award Nominee in 2010. The trailers I have seen for this one impressed me. Because I have not seen the whole film, I may be wrong…. but I doubt it.… or ? I am going out on a limb and choosing
Now which film will with the Best Animated Film Oscar? You don’t think that any of these will, do you? I don’t, either.
I read a story last year that quoted many of the voters in this category and why they chose Frozen as the best animated feature. Many voted for the Disney film because their daughters were still singing the songs from the film. Really???? I give credit to the few that abstained from voting, but there were far more that voted without seeing this (or any!) of the films up in contention.
I have lost a LOT of faith in the Academy after that article. The Best Animated Film Oscar is more like an, “Oh, yeah, I need to vote for this category, too,” than a serious award. With this sort of voting group, they will only vote for something they have heard a lot of talk about, not something that they have gone out, seen and rally for. And a foreign film? No way!
So, in my opinion, Big Hero 6 won’t because voting members little girls are not singing the songs. How to Train Your Dragon 2 is an also ran, hackneyed, and a sequel. The Boxtrolls, while good, is not Laika’s best. Mr. Peabody and Sherman… yeah, right. Penguins of Madagascar… see How to Train Your Dragon 2. And their is nothing from Pixar to come in as a spoiler.
So, by process of elimination, the old farts at the Academy that really don’t care, that are unwilling to take any risks, stick their necks out, or even bother to see the films…
Besides, it’s Warner’s turn.