“We Are Here, We Are Here!”*

I owe a tip o’ the pin for The Horton Hears a Who reference (see convo below) Hopefully the reason for it will be come clear lol.

In any case,  this is my fourth, or is it fifth,  post in reference to "How to Train Your Dragon" and its chance for an Oscar nomination. Before you groan and wonder what more I could possibly have to say on the matter, let me just remind you that the long list was announced today…and I  do have some thoughts on the subject…

I read the news that 15 animated films made the cut and qualified for Oscar nominations and my initial reaction was "Woo Hoo! Now HTTYD is SURE to get one of the five!"

Not so fast… (did you hear that? that was the sound of the needle skipping on the record)

The headlines should have read that only 15 films made the cut. The magic number to ensure a field of five was 16. I knew that. I just forgot in my short-lived excitement.

Okay, so that means only THREE will be nominated! Three is not five. In fact it’s a long way from five.  While I still fully expect HTTYD to make the cut,  I, along with Jeffrey Katzenberg and the entire Dreamworks animation department, could be disappointed. With five available slots, I’d say that would never happen. With only three, anything is possible.

Three nominations essentially means that there are only two slots up for grabs since I believe with a 99.99% certainty that Toy Story 3 will get one of them. It is a virtual lock. Had there been five slots, I would have said HTTYD was also a virtual lock. As it is, I don’t want to jinx anything.

Here is the long list (in alphabetical order):

Alpha and Omega
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore
Despicable Me
The Dreams of Jinsha
How to Train your Dragon
Idiots and Angels
The Illusionist
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole
My Dog Tulip
Shrek Forever After
Summer Wars
Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue
Toy Story 3

So which films get the other two slots? In an effort to be fair and impartial, I’ve decided to use the Bill Murray approach. (Does anyone remember Celebrity Corner? A segment of Weekend Update back when SNL was consistently funny? Have I just dated myself to the point that the eyes of anyone reading this have just glazed over?)

Actual conversation I had with a friend (who we’ll call Lola since she’s in the Witness Protection Program,)  when discussing the inception of this post:

Me: 5:58 pm
Damn you’d think i had some impact on this decision LOL
Lola:  5:58 pm
you never know. we are the Who’s on Horton’s speck*
every voice counts
Me: 5:58 pm
oh that’s good. can i steal it?
Lola: 5:59 pm
Me:5:59 pm
i think i’ll go with the old bill murray angle
Lola: 5:59 pm
Me: 6:00pm
do you remember SNL when he used to do his oscar picks?
Lola: 6:00 pm
lol no
Was I even born then?
Me:  6:01 pm
very low tech. he had this piece of cardboard with the names of the movies (or actors or whatever) on other strips of cardboard that attached with velcro. anyway he’d talk about a movie and if he didn’t think it would win he’d throw it out. for instance "Blah Blah Blah" "Never heard of it’ over the shoulder it went.
Lola: 6:01 pm
Me: 6:02 pm
His remarks were usually wittier than that
Lola: 6:02 pm
They’d have to be
Me:  6:03 pm
Bite me
anyway that’s the image in my head
Lola: 6:03 pm
OMG Paula Deen just said "spatchler" instead of spatula

(It was at this juncture I knew the conversation was over)

Anyway, I digress. (Hey… first one this post!)

First we’ll get rid of the obvious wanna-be’s…

Tinkerbell…  – Really? This movie’s only saving grace was the voice of Michael Sheen. It should have been straight to video, but it opened in LA JUST so it could pad this list. Sure it had a "tomatometer" score of 83%…of SIX reviews!  Next!

Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore – Another list padder. The title sounds like a Bond villainess made a wrong turn at Petco. Next!

The Dreams of Jinsha, Idiots and Angels, and Summer Wars
Never heard of them.  (Academy voters will because they will arrive in the mail.) Next ! Next! and Next!

Shrek:Forever After – General consensus is that this is the weakest of the Shrek series. It was a hit, especially overseas, but took a drubbing from critics. – Enhhh…thanks for playing.

Alpha and Omega – In a year with so many really special animated films, this one is just okay. The animation was average and the voice cast was B-List at best. – Enhhh…thanks for playing.

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole – Despite the fact that the visuals were stunning, the title is too long and hard to pronounce.  The PR blurbs say it’s based on the "beloved" books by Kathryn Lasky. I suppose I need to poll some children to know whether that’s true or not. Unfortunately I think "Watchmen" will be held against Zack Snyder and ruin his chances. Thank God he has "Sucker Punch" coming out, which has the same target audience as 300 did and is generating the same kind of internet buzz.  Bottom Line – Enhhh…thanks for playing.

Now we get to the high-brow, "art-house" animation. The films that most people say they like because it makes them feel cultured and intellectual if they can drop them into a conversation, despite the fact that they either a. didn’t see them or b. didn’t understand them….

My Dog Tulip – Okay so I have heard of this one. Only because I obsessively read about movies and the movie business. Joe Ticket-Buyer hasn’t since it made 0.1 million in its limited US release (it actually played TIFF in ’09) Joe Ticket-Buyer doesn’t make these decisions however, a jury  of animators does. It has a brilliant cast including Christopher Plummer and Lynn Redgrave (in her last performance. It very well may get a nod for this alone.) It’s also the first animated feature ever to be entirely hand drawn and painted utilizing paperless computer technology.  Bottom Line-Don’t count this one out.

The Illusionist
– Hasn’t opened yet but has very strong buzz. The director was also responsible for the multi-awarding winning "The Triplets of Belleville" (as well as a mediocre live-action film "Paris J e t’aime") Bottom Line-Don’t count this one out either

After the deep stuff, comes the popular stuff. Popular meaning populist…meaning the ones that Joe-Ticket Buyer bought a ticket for:

Despicable Me – Universal promoted the HELL out this and it payed off and made them a boatload of money. It also had an ad clip with a memorable line.  Tell me that if I write "IT’S SO FLUFFY!" you don’t hear that the way the little girl said it as she ran off with her giant stuffed animal. Gru looked like he was drawn by Charles Addams, which adds a bit of old-school panache (imho-the only one that counts on this page.)  Another top-drawer voice cast led by Steve Carrell and Russell Brand and the Bottom Line is only an idiot would count this one out.

– still in theaters which means it may have a leg up on the competition by virtue of the fact that Academy voters have ADD when it comes to remembering the movies that were released in the first half of the year. (I know Hurt Locker was supposed to be a harbinger of change on that score, but it’s too soon to call.) On average, it’s gotten more thumbs up than down in terms of critical response, and it features the voices of Brad Pitt, Will Ferrell and Tina Fey. The kids won’t care, but that’s what’s helping get the adult butts in the seats. Bottom Line- Only an idiot would count this one out as well.

Tangled – hasn’t even been released yet, so I’m only surmising it will make a heap o’ cash. The Disney promotion machine and its Thanksgiving opening (when the family is looking for something to do without killing each other and the kiddies have a couple of days out of school) pretty much ensure that it will, if it’s at all palatable. I think it will be…to the point of pablum. I think it looks kind of silly and the animation looks to be on a par with Alpha and Omega. Apparently there are some songs too. (It’s Disney. As long as there is ice in old Walt’s frozen body, there will be a Disney song nominated for an Oscar.) The voice cast is another B-List.  Donna Murphy is a wonderfully talented stage actress and I’ve been a fan since at least Murder One, but will anyone else recognize her voice? I might recognize Ron Perlman’s sonorous tones (and lord knows he has the face for voice work-Hey! I’m not hating, it’s fact. And I’m a huge fan of his work in Sons of Anarchy,) but that’s about it. Bottom Line-I have to go out on a limb and say Enhhh…thanks for playing.

That brings us to our two front runners…

How to Train Your Dragon – Do I really need to say it again? I’ve been saying it since April. Aside from TS3, this,  is the only other film on this list that I had no doubt would be here. It won’t be eligible for Best Foreign Film the way The Illusionist will. As much as I’d like it to be, I don’t think it will be nominated for one of the 10 Best Picture slots, the way I believe TS3 will be.  The film told a tale that’s been told many times before, about a boy and his father, of what it’s like to be a misfit, an outsider and to finally find love and acceptance, and told it in a way that made it seem fresh. The animation was spectacular, the voice cast perfection. The movie not only had tremendous "legs", which normally means a film that can go the distance and hold its own, it became more popular, in the truest sense of the word, as time went on due to positive word of mouth.  Any other year, I think this movie would not only have a lock at a nomination, it would have a lock on the win.  As it is, it will take an upset of Hurt Locker vs Avatar proportions for it to win. But Bottom Line- I believe this will get a nomination.

The 600 lb gorilla is, of course, Toy Story 3– As I stated earlier, not only is this one sure to get a nomination, and deservedly so, but I believe (unless, as I also stated above, there is a huge upset) it will also win the Best Animated Feature category. When the original Toy Story came out in 1995 and its sequel in 1999, there was no Best Animated Feature category. Much like Return of the King, which was arguably the best of the Lord of the Rings series, Toy Story 3 will win not only because it is the best of the three Toy Story movies, but because the others didn’t. On its own merits, it was not only HUGELY popular, but it was brilliant. Despite the fact that I am rooting for HTTYD, I can in no way find fault with this one.  As I said above, I think it will get a nomination for Best Picture as well as Animated Feature. (Which may actually help HTTYD’s chances. If TS3 is nominated in both categories and HTTYD, despite Mr. Katzenberg’s best efforts, is not- it may pull out a win as Animated Feature.)  Bottom Line- I believe this will not only get a nomination, it will win the category.

But damn it, it’s STILL only November! I’m getting worked up about this AS IF I ACTUALLY HAVE ANYTHING TO SAY ABOUT IT! I should be on Dreamworks’ payroll.

This just in–Moviefone and the Washington Post have both announced their early picks:

‘Despicable Me’
‘How to Train Your Dragon’
‘Toy Story 3’

Oh well…don’t expect this to be the last you hear on this subject.

Thanks for reading…here’s something shiny:

5 responses to ““We Are Here, We Are Here!”*

  1. I’m Torn …

    … because I looooove TS3 so much, but HTTYD too. Argh! AnyWHO, an all around hilariously astute post. Still LMAO at “Lola” and “spatchler”!

    PS – Thanks for the shiny *thud*

  2. OOOOOOHHH … SHINE-EEEEEEEE! (I’m assuming the positioning of this message box with the shineeee object is intentional. It’s verra distracting. Alas, I shall press on.

    “OMG Paula Deen just said “spatchler” instead of spatula
    (It was at this juncture I knew the conversation was over)” ROTFLMAO (This is what actually compelled me to comment. It was too “rich” to go unmentioned).

    I know I’m in the minority, but I was NOT all that impressed with ToyStory 3, nor were my 7 and 10yr old boys. At one point, the 7yr old even commented, “this is sorta borin’.” (This coming from a child who will watch the same episode of Pokemon 10 times in one day if allowed to do so…) And it sure as shit doesn’t have the soundtrack that “Dragon” possesses which is award-worthy in and of itself.

  3. BRILLIANT idea!! And it seems so obvious you kind of wonder why they’ve never thought of it. Well, obvious to smart people like you and presumably SAG ’cause I sure didn’t think of it.

  4. Coriolanus

    Fiennes is one amazing actor. Looks like his talents in front of the camera extend behind the camera as well. Butler’s fine, too, as long as he stops doing silly rom-coms that do nothing to showcase his real talent. I think he’s better suited to play serious dramatic roles like this one.

    Can’t wait to see this movie. Looks like something really special.

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