Thursday, January 22, 2015

Awards-Nazi Award Nominations: Best Animated Feature

I saw only six animated films last year, so it was easier for me to decide which one not to nominate (an easy choice, really). I suppose I'm being too generous in allowing five nominees for a category with so few contenders, but what of it? Only one will win (another easy choice), but the others deserve this brief moment in the limelight for merely existing. Animated movies are tedious and difficult to produce, after all. So here are my nominees for Best Animated Feature of 2014:

The Boxtrolls (Graham Annable, Anthony Stacchi)
Laika continues to push the envelope in terms of what can be accomplished through the blend of CG animation and traditional stop-motion method. Their story material may have some limitations, but Stacchi, Annable & co. tell it with wit and a meticulous attention to craft, and they're clearly not afraid of going a little bit dark.

How to Train Your Dragon 2 (Dean DeBlois)
Here's an example of a blockbuster sequel that truly delivers, and with fiery confidence to boot. Not only is it Dreamworks' most thrilling adventure to date, but also its most thematically robust and elegantly handled as well, no doubt the byproduct of having a single writer-director in Dean DeBlois.

The LEGO Movie (Phil Lord, Christopher Miller)
It's hard not to have a good time watching this manic comedy from Lord & Miller, a definite step up from their kid-centric Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs series. Their premise for this one is just as wonderfully weird, but also appreciable on more grown-up levels. The laughs aren't always consistent, but they are plentiful.

Song of the Sea (Tomm Moore)
This jaw-on-the-floor stunner is so earnest and imaginative that we may have to start calling Tomm Moore the Irish Miyazaki. It's as visually rapturous as The Secret of Kells, but far more engaging on a narrative level. Maybe I'm going soft in my old age, but what a magical spell it casts!

The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Isao Takahata)
This visually splendid swan song from the great Isao Takahata draws on inspiration from ancient Japanese folklore and gleans from it several adult themes about the pursuit of happiness, truth and artifice, and the cyclic yet finite nature of life. A tad slow, sure, but it leaves a lingering melancholy that's hard to shake.

Just missed (but not really):
Big Hero 6 (Don Hall, Chris Williams)


  1. I could not agree more with your choices, and if Big Hero 6 and LEGO Movie swapped places, it would be an absolutely perfect animated feature category!

    1. the Oscar category, not with your choices. Probably should have mentioned that.

  2. Best Animated Feature:

    The Boxtrolls
    How to Train your Dragon 2
    Rocks in my Pockets
    Song of the Sea
    The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

  3. Lego Movie was one of my favorites of the year. A great look on the fine line between taking part in a culture and simply following a culture.