QUOTE The More Things Change … OF THE MONTH

Animation Magazine - - Front Page - Tom McLean Ed­i­tor tom@an­i­ma­tion­magazine.net

One thing that look­ing through old is­sues of An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine in pre­par­ing for our 30th an­niver­sary this year has shown is just how much the an­i­ma­tion in­dus­try has both changed and not changed.

On the change side, there’s clearly a huge in­crease in cre­ativ­ity. You may have no­ticed this month that we have two cov­ers, one for Sony Pic­tures An­i­ma­tion’s fully-an­i­mated Smurfs: The Lost Vil­lage and one for Dream­Works An­i­ma­tion’s new­est fea­ture, The Boss Baby. While they are very dif­fer­ent, they are both very high-qual­ity fea­tures with ex­cel­lent an­i­ma­tion, great laughs, lots of ad­ven­ture and plenty of heart. That wasn’t al­ways so — it used to ap­pear that only Dis­ney had the magic for mak­ing a great an­i­mated fea­ture. And then, slowly, over the past 30 years or so, other stu­dios have emerged to give the old Mouse House a real run for its money. And ev­ery­one ben­e­fits from that.

Not that Dis­ney isn’t re­spond­ing to a more com­pet­i­tive mar­ket with its own in­no­va­tions. Last year’s Dis­ney dou­ble-punch of Zootopia and Moana prove the stu­dio still has it where it counts.

Which brings me to the end of awards sea­son, and this year’s big win­ners at the An­nies, the VES Awards and the Os­cars. (All of which An­imag at­tended and live-tweeted! You were fol­low­ing along, right?) One of the great things about this year’s awards sea­son was that all the nom­i­nated films were re­ally wor­thy, which lim­ited to al­most zero the num­ber of awards that drew gasps of sur­prise from at­ten­dees. (Of course, I’m not count­ing the Best Pic­ture flub, which goes down as one of the most mem­o­rable mo­ments in Os­car his­tory, but even there, both La La Land and Moon­light were wor­thy of the honor, so there’s al­ways that.) How­ever, Zootopia’s win for Best An­i­mated Fea­ture sug­gests the Academy just plain prefers Dis­ney’s work in this cat­e­gory, with Dis­ney or Pixar hav­ing won it 11 times in its 16 years of ex­is­tence. And while I think Zootopia was clearly wor­thy of its vic­tory, there is some­thing about the Os­cars process that trou­bles me.

Ev­ery year, I read The Hol­ly­wood Re­porter’s Brutally Hon­est Os­cars Bal­lot fea­ture, in which mem­bers of the Academy anony­mously re­veal their votes. Of the six such bal­lots fea­tured this year, three of them ab­stained from the an­i­mated fea­ture cat­e­gory be­cause they didn’t watch all the nom­i­nated films or plainly stated they just weren’t in­ter­ested in an­i­ma­tion. That’s not dis­sim­i­lar to re­sponses from pre­vi­ous years.

What’s dis­heart­en­ing about this is that it ap­pears the Academy (and by ex­ten­sion, the world­wide film­mak­ing com­mu­nity cen­tered in Hol­ly­wood) is not tak­ing an­i­mated fea­tures se­ri­ously. It ap­pears that years of box of­fice, crit­i­cal re­sponse, and reach­ing a mass au­di­ence with high-qual­ity fea­tures is sim­ply not enough to con­vince ev­ery­one that an­i­ma­tion is the most cut­ting-edge sto­ry­telling medium on the planet. And while I’d love to change that overnight, I also re­al­ize that hearts and minds are changed one by one and no one ar­gu­ment or movie will con­vince ev­ery­one.

Which brings me back to An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine’s 30th an­niver­sary and what it says about this great in­dus­try and art form. We’ve been here ev­ery day, ev­ery is­sue — and will con­tinue to be here for all of our read­ers, ad­ver­tis­ers and ad­mir­ers for a long time to come. We are glad you’re with us, and can’t wait to cel­e­brate 30 years of suc­cess as well as the amaz­ing for­tunes that the next 30 years holds for an­i­ma­tion.

Un­til next is­sue,

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.