Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oscar™ Time!

`Twas the day before the Oscars, and all through the street,
Union industry folks drank coffee and looked really beat.
For they'd been up all night schlepping and rigging and such,
Getting ready the pageantry for millions to watch.

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posted by Brian at 10:24 AM 0 comments links to this post

Friday, January 26, 2007

Will the Real Oscar-nominated Animated Film Please Stand Up?

The nominees for this year's Oscar™ for best animated film are in:
  • Cars (Disney/Pixar)
  • Happy Feet (Warner Brothers/Animal Logic)
  • Monster House (Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Imageworks)
Whoa! Dreamworks is shut out entirely despite having two in the running, Over the Hedge and Flushed Away. No love for Ice Age or Open Season either.

Unlike last year, in which two stop-motion puppet animation films were in the running, this year we have one key-framed CG feature, and two others that are largely motion-capture based. (You can be certain the House in Monster House was key-framed though...)

There's quite a bit of controversy over this in the animation realm. Some purists are arguing "It's not animation!" and some even suggest it's more like puppetry (I beg to differ -- it's more like mime or acting in a suit than it is puppetry) Sigh. I remember when folks were arguing computer animation wasn't animation because it didn't involve drawings. Then they realized "oh... stop motion has puppets, not drawings." "Well, ok, but artists are doing things frame by frame!"

I believe that suggests at least two spectra. One one axis, Acting and Puppetry at one end are real-time arts. Forms of Theatre. (Think analog watch.) Animation is at the other end of it is discrete (think digital watch) There's another axis, Tangible arts (Physical Things) vs. Intangible.

As technology changes, we're finding that hybrids are emerging. Life is increasingly digital and intangible and so is Art. So I don't think it's unreasonable to find ourselves having difficulty labeling things using old forms of classification.

Puppetry purists are likewise constantly debating what is Puppetry vs. NOT-Puppetry, and just like animation purists, often declaring the NOT-artform to be inferior or degrading. (Personally, I see this as a sign of an artform with an Inferiority Complex.)

I suppose labels matter when it comes to meeting Academy Elligibility Requirements, but artistically, not so much.

And for what it's worth, this is not so much an essay as it's an unedited, rambling blog entry. So there.

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posted by Brian at 12:44 AM 0 comments links to this post

Monday, November 06, 2006

16 Animated Film Nominees for 2006 Oscar®

According to, these are the likely 16 nominees for the Animation Oscar this year. It points out that if any of these fail to meet the requirements, it will mean only 3, not 5 films will be picked for the final list.


Nearly all CGI films this year. Arther and the Invisibles is the only 2-D (I think). A Scanner Darkly used a rotoscope technique (digital painting over live-action). Renaissance (from what I know) is motion-captured and rendered with a cel-shader (to make it look like it was drawn). Monster House is motion-captured and rendered in such a way as to look like it was done as a stop-motion film. Happy Feet supposedly has lots of motion capture in it for the dance moves. The rest are key-framed CGI.

If they pick five, I bet it will be Cars, Monster House, Ice Age 2, Over the Hedge, and either Happy Feet or Flushed Away depending on how they do boxoffice-wise.

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posted by Brian at 4:27 PM 0 comments links to this post

Sunday, February 29, 2004

Oscar™ countdown

Living in Hollywood, I am only a few blocks away from the mystical Academy Awards. Doesn't seem quite as mystical when it's being set up. Very surreal to know that in 24 hours, millions of dollars worth of celebrities, clothing and jewels will convene in the same spots I was below:

Outside the Kodak Theatre...

Wonder who gets to sit in these bleechers?

Winner of the Best Grip in a Drama category carries away his Oscar™...

Here's where I will check in, pretending to be John Cusack.

Inside the Kodak Theatre plaza

An ABC camerawoman practices her cues.

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posted by Brian at 1:31 PM 0 comments links to this post