I’ll get to the Brad Bird thing is a sec…
The Annie Awards (for animation) recently happened, with the same hushed non-fanfare that sadly occurs every year because regular people don’t respect animation for some reason (grrrr). The winners can be found here, for those who are interested.
Some might consider this year’s Annie’s a horrifying upset, as How To Train Your Dragon swept the motherfucking floor with Toy Story 3, with Dragon taking home trophies for Animated Effects, Character Animation, Character Design, Directing, Music, Production Design, Storyboarding, Voice Acting, Writing, and…
I don’t consider this an upset, as I thought Dragon was better than Toy Story 3. But Dragon‘s wins seem to be tainted in some eyes, because Disney/Pixar boycotted this years ceremony. See, two years ago Kung Fu Panda beat WALL-E in a similar landslide. This caused a lot of people to call bullshit on the Annie’s balloting process. Unlike the Motion Picture Academy, the ASIFA-Hollywood is broken into three tiers of membership: General Member, Student Member, and Patron, and joining ASIFA-Hollywood is open to professionals and students and lowly fans of the artform (for a fee). So people accused Dreamworks of buying memberships and stacking the votes.
Now, obviously I have no special behind-the-scenes knowledge of these events and what actually happened. Maybe Dreamworks did pull a fast one. You know Harvey Weinstein would be doing that kind of shit if it were possible at the Oscars. But three things inherently bother me about all this.
1) The Annie’s changed their rules after the Panda “scandal” and now certain categories (like Best Feature) can only be voted on by those with professional status.
2) Why is it such a foregone conclusion that WALL-E is better than Kung Fu Panda? That WALL-E losing to Panda means a conspiracy has taken place? I guess I’m just a complete philistine moron, because I liked Panda more than WALL-E. I also hate hearing how WALL-E going on to win the Oscar somehow means anything. Like the Oscars aren’t a joke too.
3) In between these “bullshit” Dreamworks wins, both Up and Ratatouille won Best Feature. Also, Cars “unfairly” lost to Over the Hedge. Now, Over the Hedge is not a great film. But you know what else isn’t a great film? Fucking Cars. Seems to me Disney/Pixar feels like Pixar needs to win every time they make a movie. Well, this year Pixar’s brilliant short Day & Night toke home the Annie for Best Short, very deservedly. If you ask me, Pixar gets their due when they should.
Sour grapes much Disney/Pixar? Come on, I expect better from you Pixar. You’re SOOOOO much better than Dreamworks, generally/historically speaking.
Okay. Sorry. Rant over. Now…
Brad Bird (awesomest dude ever) received the prestigious Winsor McCay Award (lifetime achievement), shared with Matt Groening and the wildly less famous animation supervisor Eric Goldberg. After a nice little retrospective on Bird’s career, Bird gives a stilted speech in which he makes a horrible announcement regarding the future of his career! For those who want to get right to the bad news, skip ahead to the 4-minute mark.