animated Oscar nominations

Just read the news about the Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature. I pretty much agree with their choices this time. Wallace and Gromit is the clear favorite, and deserves to win. I loved Howl’s Moving Castle– it wasn’t as amazing as Spirited Away, but that still puts it way ahead of most American animated fare. The only one I disagree with is Corpse Bride, whose story I really hated, though the animation was undeniably good.

I did think it was interesting, if not too surprising, that none of the nominees were CG. These things seem to be cyclical, and it’s only natural that the winds turn in favor of different styles of animation from year to year. It all depends on the story, ultimately. And at least two of the three nominees are clearly the leaders on that count.

But some people seem to be taking way too much delight in what they perceive to be some kind of anti-CG backlash. What’s up with that? How can you hate an entire medium of animation? Do watercolorists have this kind of hatred for oil painters? Not last time I checked. So what’s really going on here?

I guess some people actually blame CG for the death of 2D. I don’t like getting involved in religious feuds, but this is so wrong that I feel obliged to address it. Here’s why it’s wrong. (1) It distracts us from the real villains: short-sighted, small-minded studio execs who can’t think beyond next quarter’s bottom line. (2) 2D animation is not actually dead! Yes lots of people lost their jobs, but believe me, 2D animation is going to come back. This lull is temporary. (3) It’s all about the story, stupid.

I don’t say this as a defender of CG animation against stop motion and 2D. I’m not taking sides. I’m saying that the feud itself is deeply, deeply stupid. I love all forms of animation, each for its own special qualities, and I believe they all have incredible unexplored artistic potential. We shouldn’t elevate one over all others just for nostalgia’s sake, or out of some kind of prejudice. Let’s just work together to make better movies in every medium! Okay?