Voices From Outside
Overseas studios make a strong case for Oscar inclusion
SINCE BIG- BUDGET CG features have been so influential, it’s sometimes hard to hear the outside voices that vie for attention during awards season. Gkids regularly reminds us that hand- drawn animation continues to attract Oscar nominations — for such Irish films as “The Secret of Kells”; French offerings, including “Ernest and Celestine,” and great titles from Japan’s legendary Studio Ghibli.
This year, Gkids is highlighting two Japanese 2D films, the sweet-tempered family tale “Mirai” and the surreal “Lu Over the Wall.” And Sony Pictures Classics is touting the Hungarian indie film “Ruben Brandt, Collector,” which definitely illustrates the idea that animation isn’t just for kids.
Of course, cultural sensibilities always factor into the equation. Illumination Entertainment may be headquartered in California, but its main animation crew is based at Mac Guff in France. That presented an interesting challenge when Illumination was making “The Grinch,” since the Seuss book plays liberally with the English language.
“Americans grew up with the Seuss books, but that’s not the case in France,” says co- director Yarrow Cheney. “When we did ‘The Lorax’ [in 2012], it was the first introduction to Dr. Seuss for many people at our studio.”
Fortunately, Illumination landed Benedict Cumberbatch to voice the Grinch and he was well aware of the book.
Co- director Scott Mosier, who oversaw the recording of Cumberbatch’s voice performance in London, says, “We were able to bring Benedict in early, and he did the heavy lifting to become the character.”
Britain was also where Wes Anderson’s stop-motion crew animated “Isle of Dogs,”