Is the Academy Award for Best Picture a Farce?

28 Feb

My spouse (not a Disney Parks fan, but an animation nerd) has a bone to pick with the Academy for last night’s Best Picture win, and the fact that Toy Story 3 didn’t win. From his blog this morning, Why The Oscars’®©™ Best Picture award is a farce:

As good as it undoubtedly is, [The King’s Speech] isn’t better than TS3 and the collected body of work Pixar has turned out. TS3 like Godfather II, and yes I believe they deserve to be discussed together, was able to be as good as – if not better – than the great original movie. (TS2 was 50% of a great movie and certainly not in a league with the other two. Drop me a line and I’ll explain why.) The depth of character, the incredibly mature story it told, the writing, the storytelling, the acting were all of a quality seldom matched. And it’s nomination was nothing more than tokenism. Feh. A pox on all The Academy’s houses.

Myself, I can live with the fact that Toy Story 3 walked away with just two Oscars, for Best Song and Best Animated Feature.

But it bugs me that I can’t imagine an animated film winning Best Picture, despite the excellent work in this medium. And let’s remember that it is in fact a medium, not a genre . . . which makes it odd to set apart in the way that we do. Plus, comedies tend to be perceived as less prestigious somehow than serious dramas, or even thrillers, so if we ever do see an animated film win best picture, my money’s on something more like Metropia than Toy Story, despite the fact that the latter is a better film.

I’m not sure I’ll go as far as my spouse, in calling the awards a farce. But the deeper I get in animation fandom, the more disgruntled I am with the Academy’s apparent attitude.

2 Responses to “Is the Academy Award for Best Picture a Farce?”

  1. Jon March 7, 2011 at 6:19 pm #

    Jen, I agree with you but hear this out. The way best picture is chosen is that everyone in the Academy gets a vote. This means that everyone from set designer to screen writer has a say in best picture.

    Now I’m imagining that there are far more people working in the “live action” segment of the motion picture industry within this Academy than animators.

    Not to say that all of those people would have to vote for The King’s Speech, but I think it presents a bias against animated films in general. After all, the Oscars are supposed to be about craftsmanship. I don’t know if any of the production-side people. Your thoughts?

  2. Jennifer March 8, 2011 at 4:37 pm #

    Jon, thanks for the interesting comments about some of the possible reasons behind the bias against animated films. I’m also increasingly irritated by the (perceived?) bias against comedies, action films . . . basically anything but “serious” dramas.

    It’ll also be interesting to see what happens as the industry continues to change. Will we someday see new awards such as “Best Use of 3D Stereo Vision,” as the state of the art in narrative continues to take better advantage of new technologies? Or will the Oscars grow even more stale than they seem today?

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