Thursday, February 12, 2009

Animated Feature, Doc Feature, & FLF

A few years ago the Academy started a new category for Animated Feature Film, in order to better recognize those movies. While I appreciate them getting more attention and recognition, I can't help but feel that it's a move that ghettoizes animation and prevents them from ever achieving a Best Picture nomination. One such movie that ranks in quality with the Best Picture nominees is Pizar's WALL-E. It's the movie Stanley Kubrick would have made if he ever pursued animation. While its contenders, Bolt and Kung Fu Panda were above-average kid's entertainment, WALL-E works on multiple levels, giving kids a cute story about robots while providing biting social satire to the adults. WALL-E will easily walk away with this one.

At this point, I should note that I don't make predictions in the short film or documentary categories. I don't get to see many of them and don't feel comfortable predicting the outcomes based on synopses. That said, I would like to make an unofficial prediction for Documentary Feature - Man On Wire made a lot of critics' end-of year lists and will probably take the prize. Close behind, though is cinematic juggernaut Werner Herzog and his Antarctic documentary Encounters at the End of the World. He's a legend doing what he does best (epics of man vs. nature) but I'll go with Man On Wire for my unofficial pick.

Foreign Language Film is another one of those that I usually don't pick, not just because I don't see them, but because the rules for this category are much different than others and greatly effect the outcome. That said, I'm going to risk a guess that Israel's Waltz With Bashir will take the Oscar. Another film that uses animation to address adult themes, Waltz With Bashir has been almost universally praised and is a standout among the nominees.

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