Today: May 28, 2024

Janet’s Animation Corner: Animated Awards

I tried. I tried hard not to make this yet another piece about Frozen but I just can’t seem to Let it Go. (See what I did there?)

It started off with me having a minor debate with myself over which animated featured film would reign supreme at this month’s BAFTA and Oscar award ceremonies. As always, the selection is genuinely impressive.  Boxtrolls, The Lego Movie and Big Hero 6 adorn the BAFTA list beautifully. Switch out The Lego Movie for director Tomm Moore’s Song of the Sea, throw in The Tale Of Princess Kaguya and How To Train Your Dragon 2 and you have the animated line-up for the Oscars.

Who to choose? Who to choose?

I’m yet to see Big Hero 6 but there’s something intriguing about the bromance between a boy and his misshapen balloon type robot friend…? Man…? Thing…? Baymax. I’m also slightly (or sadly) drawn in by its Marvel heritage. From what I’ve gleaned from various trailers, Big Hero 6 seems to have that Disney formula of just the right amount of sad and funny necessary to win multiple hearts. Still, I reserve judgement until I have a bag of minstrels in my hands, a plastic tub full of cheesy nachos and an overpriced bottle water in lap, prepped and ready to watch.

I have however, seen and ahem, re-seen How to Train Your Dragon 2 and if you were lucky enough to have been anywhere near me at the time of the film’s release you would have been privy to my complete, honest and professional opinion of this movie at least a half a dozen times. It went something like ‘I love it, I love it, it’s so freaking awesome, Go Hiccup!’ I have no shame in saying that the movie made me laugh and cry in equal measures and it is one I shall be keeping a keen eye on during this ceremony season.

Now, I could sit here for hours and pick apart the awards line up. Pull out the best qualities of each movie, then categorise them based on best epic scenes or story structure, but honestly, I think that level of self-indulgence is something only I would enjoy. I also think it would take me away from my main point: who I think will scoop gold at both award ceremonies and how the Oscar and BAFTA winning Frozen plays a key role at figuring that out.

Love it or sick-of-it-by-now Frozen has something that is truly award worthy and I’m going to attempt to figure out what it could be in a hundred words or less.

I put it down to the following: emotional core, humour, strong cast, and ‘relatablity’ (yeah I just made up a word’). Now I’ve touched on this a little earlier, but let me expand. We are drawn to the emotional core of animated movies. We love it when our heroes fall and fall hard – Elsa being cast out after putting the freeze on Arendelle. It only makes their rise to greatness that much sweeter – cue her realisation that love will set her free. However, that emotional rollercoaster can be draining and that’s where striking the right balance between humour and emotion comes in to play. That witty pun thrown in here, that jester type character placed there, and we remember it’s not all trials and tribulations.

Of course none of this means squat without the right actors to back it up. Thanks Kristen Bell, Jonathan Groff and…Idina Menzel. Their conviction to their animated roles is 100 per cent. I salute them.

Then there’s the last key element to a great animated feature: relatability. I’m sure we’ve all been in Elsa’s shoes. Those moments where our strange magical powers  threaten our place in society and alienate us from everything we’ve ever known and love. No? Just me and Elsa then? Of course not, but we’ve all had secrets we felt were bigger than ourselves, felt pushed out, isolated, and searching for a place to belong. Identifying with the characters tightens the connection we feel towards the film, making us feel everything that much more.

The combination of these qualities, makes Frozen a truly worth Oscar/BAFTA winning animated feature. It elevates the film – making it work on so many different levels.

So who’s sure to reap gold this ceremony season? I haven’t a damn clue but one thing’s for certain -possessing ‘Frozenesque attributes’ is the key to their success.

There you have it, all summed up in one hundred words just like I promised…Ok so maybe I got a bit foot loose and fancy free with the word count. For crying out loud can’t you just…Let it Go!

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