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Rotundo’s Oscarology, Part I: The Back of the Bus

As a lifelong film lover, I find it sad that I don’t have more movie posts on this blog. I just don’t have the time for it, normally.


But here it is Oscar season, one of my favorite times of the year. I love trying to predict the Academy Awards, crazy and futile as it often is. The wife and I host an Oscar party every year, complete with ballots. Attendees make picks in every category–yes, even Documentary Short Subject–and the winner is awarded a special trophy fashioned by my wife . . . and of course, bragging rights for the year. What I’m sayin’ here, I take the Academy Awards kinda seriously.

So I figured I would perhaps take some time to lay out my thoughts on the current crop of nominees, interspersed with a bit of Oscar prediction theory. I’ll be doing this in installments all this week. This may or may not be of interest to anyone, but I’m gonna have fun with it, anyway.

Here we go:

The first rule of Oscar prediction: As William Munny said in Unforgiven: "Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it."  Or at most, deserve has very little to do with it. Forget about the relative merits of the nominees. More important, forget about your favorites. If you want to take a serious run at successful Oscar prognostication, you have to pay attention to the buzz, the politics, and the history of the awards.

With that in mind, let’s break down our first category: Best Animated Feature.

 


And the nominees are:

Bolt

Kung-Fu Panda

WALL-E


The lowdown:

The youngest of the Academy Awards, this one is also known–by me, at least–as the "Back of the Bus" Oscar. You see, having a separate category for animated feature-length films pretty much guarantees that none of them will ever again cop a Best Picture nomination, a la Beauty and the Beast. Now that must have given the oh-so-above-it-all members of AMPAS the vapors, don’t you think? "A cartoon, nominated for Best Picture? A cartoon? Horrors!"


It’s a shame that no 2-D or stop-motion animated films are nominated. Then again, how many 2-D or stop-motion feature films were even made last year? Not that I have anything against CG animation–of course it’s a valid art form–I just feel there’s still room for all types.


Anyway, conventional wisdom says Never Pick Against Pixar, which would make WALL-E the favorite.
But it’s worth noting that this rule isn’t as hard-and-fast as you might think. In the seven previous years of this category’s existence, Pixar films have been nominated five times, but won only three–not the greatest percentage in the world, really.


There is also some talk that WALL-E is a bit too preachy. To which I respond thus: when has preachiness ever been a problem for the Academy Awards? They love teh preachy over there, to wit–Happy Feet‘s win over the superior Monster House (neither of which were Pixar films, by the way).


Add to that the fact that WALL-E has nabbed five other nominations, most notably for Original Screenplay, and this becomes a no-brainer. Forget about Slumdog Millionaire or Heath Ledger: this is your Oscar Lock of the Year.


Tune in tomorrow for more Oscarology!

5 Responses to “Rotundo’s Oscarology, Part I: The Back of the Bus”

  • pixelfish says:

    I was kind of annoyed that Persopolis was ignored, whatever year it came out. And the Triplets of Belleville too, I think.

    Basically a shitload of kids in the US have to see an animated movie for it to count.

  • kelly_swails says:

    I love the Oscars, too, though in recent years I’ve been DVRing them and then start watching an hour late so I can skip the political speeches and the boring parts.

    • admin says:

      Somehow, it just doesn’t seem right to me to skip them–boring parts and all. I figure that if I haven’t gutted out the whole show, I haven’t really earned it.

      Perverse, yeah, I know.

      And you know, every now and again, the ceremony is actually entertaining. Doesn’t happen often, but it does happen.

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