And The Oscar Goes To….

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Oscar Statuette, Academy Awards

Disney- just wrap them up and take them home. Two years running, the House Of Mouse took both animated awards from the Academy. Let’s be honest, the big surprise at the Oscars this year in Animation was The Lego Movie being snubbed. But now that all is said and done, and the dust has settled, Big Hero 6 has won the little gold man for Best animated Feature. Feast pulled it in for Disney. This is the second year in a row the studio has won best animated feature (and the seventh in the last eight years for a Disney company) and the third in a row for best animated short.

Are Disney films really all that good… or are some of the Academy voters just lazy and a Disney Film is an easy and safe choice? It does seem to make one question how the Academy votes for these two categories… especially when one considers that Big Hero 6 has not won any major awards in the lead up to the Oscars.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 won best animated feature at both the Golden Globes and the ASIFA Annie Awards, Song of the Sea won at the Satellites, and The LEGO Movie won similar distinctions at Producers Guild of America, the BAFTA, the New York Film Critics Circle, the Online Film & Television Association, and the Critics Choice Awards. Big Hero 6 won best animated feature, uh…. nowhere (though it did win Best Family Film from Women Film Critics Circle).

By contrast, at least Feast won best animated short at the Annies. Most of the other shorts also won at least one major award.

I do not meant to say that any of these films deserved the Oscar because of what they won coming into the Academy Awards. But when they all compete head-to-head against Big Hero 6 in multiple well-respected awards shows and Disney came out the loser in every case, one does have to question the criteria and the competency of the Academy judging.

This would all be a bunch of sour grapes and much ado about nothing if it were not for two years of reading through The Hollywood Reporters series of “Oscar Voter Reveals Brutally Honest Ballot.” For the last two years, a good number of voters seem to have abstained (which is good). But that makes me wonder how many did not, and may have just checked the box next to what they might have though was a safe vote. There is no way to know. Many others who voted admit to not seeing all the films in contention[1][2]

One voter admitted to voting for Feast because she is “a dog lover, so this one was no contest”[3]. Many others just did not watch any of the shorts and abstained.

There is no way to know how representative 7 voters out of 5,755 voting members actually are. Some of the comments made by these seven voters pulled back the mask to me, and made me think that the process is not quite as perfect and professional as the Academy and PricewaterhouseCoopers would like you to believe. If you extrapolate from the sample to the members at large, over one quarter are voting on films they have not seen. Is this really the best way to choose the best?

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