So the Oscar nominations for 2010 were announced recently. Take a look at the nominations for Best Animated Feature:
–How to Train Your Dragon (Paramount) Chris Sanders and Dean DeBlois
–The Illusionist (Sony Pictures Classic) Sylvian Chomet
–Toy Story 3 (Walt Disney) Lee Unkrich
Notice anything missing from that list? Not a single anime movie was on that list. Is the Academy really that blind? Are they completely oblivious to a little film called Summer Wars, easily one of the best animated films to recently come out of Japan? You know, the movie that won multiple awards from multiple film festivals? THAT one?
In case you are just as clueless as the Oscars, Summer Wars is a movie about online hacking where the virtual world and reality are in danger. It’s a lot like .hack//SIGN except it’s not as boring (ha ha, jk, I loved that show). Summer Wars was directed by Mamoru Hosoda who previously directed such anime masterpieces as The Girl Who Lept Through Time and Digimon: The Movie. It was a blockbuster in Japan ranking in $1 million in it’s opening weekend which I guess is pretty good by Japan’s standards. The Japanese Blu-Ray release set a new record beating out the previous spot held by Evangelion 1.0 (another film that deserved a nomination).
And you’re telling me none of that matters at all for a Best Animated Feature Nomination? Not even Best Original Song? Just listen to ‘Our Summer Dream’ and tell me that doesn’t deserve to win. When is Hollywood going to wake up and start recognizing anime for it’s true potential?
As for those ‘nominations’ for Best Animated Feature, they are a far cry from the intensity of Summer Wars. Toy Story 3? What a joke! They are plastic toys that can be reassembled. Where is the danger? Where is the drama? The suspense of toys being attacked or thrown away cannot possibly compare to the nail-biter of when a satellite almost collides with a nuclear power plant. But, no, toys being thrown out is much more important and sad.
How to Train Your Dragon? Don’t make me laugh. I’m a big dragon lover and those were not dragons: those were cats. Way to child-proof your movie, Dreamworks. While I will admit the ending is a little sad, it can’t compare with the tragedy in Summer Wars when Sakae dies after the Love Machine AI hacks into her heart monitor.
The Illusionist? I couldn’t see The Illusionist even if I wanted to because it never came to my theater. And, yes, I go to an independent theater (which is how I saw Summer Wars) so it would’ve been playing there but it wasn’t. Apparently it’s some French animated film about a magician. One of my foreign friends told me it’s about a dad trying to do his daughter which is disgusting! You’d never see something like that in a theatrical anime movie, believe you me.
I’m not really mad at the Academy. Just…disappointed. I had faith in them once when Spirited Away won for Best Animated Feature. But ever since then they have continued to let me down by ignoring some of the best anime movies of past years. Paprika, Tekkokinkreet, Ponyo, Tokyo Godfathers, Ghost in the Shell 2; all of these great works of art were passed in favor of mediocre dribble like Cars, Corpse Bride and Secret of Kells. If Evangelion 2.0 gets snubbed for next year’s nominations because of Cars 2, I’m done with Disney forever. That includes Studio Ghibli films they produce. Yes, Disney, I’m willing to go THAT far.