For Your Consideration

If you visit Cartoon Brew this morning, you'll see Disney's banner ads at the top of the page.  These are "For Your Consideration" ads for the upcoming Oscar awards season.  Ponyo is pitched as a potential nominee for Best Animated Feature, while Pixar's Up is pitched for Best Animated Feature and Best Picture.  Very interesting.

I can't say that I'm surprised that Up is getting the Best Picture push.  It is the studio's big movie of the year.  And the expansion to 10 Best Picture slots will make it easier than ever for Pixar to be given a place at the table.  Up's first 20 minutes pushes a lot of buttons and won over all the major critics.  And I'm sure a few folks still feel that Wall-E was unjustly snubbed.

However, I'm going to continue to insist that Ponyo is the animation movie that deserves a Best Picture nod.  It's the far better film of the two, wiser, smarter, quieter.  Hayao Miyazaki is arguably the world's greatest living film director (I'd gladly hand the title to Paku-san, if only he'd get back to work!), and Ponyo is the work of a master artist at the peak of his powers.

Pixar's Up, beloved at it is, remains a deeply uneven movie to me.  The marriage sequence is brilliant, wonderful, and frankly, overshadows the rest of the picture.  Most of the movie is just rehashing loud Star Wars chase practically every other summer blockbuster these days.  I could care less about the talking dogs and the endless action scenes and the impossibly old Kirk Douglas who's chasing some silly bird.  I cared about the marriage.  That first 20 minutes should have been the entire picture, and it could have been a masterpiece.

Of course, I wouldn't expect Disney to promote a foreign movie (Ghibli) over one of their own, so I can't blame them for giving the extra push to Pixar's latest.  I'd do the same in their shoes.  Instead, I believe it is the imperative of every one of us, Ghibli Freaks within and without the movie business, to promote Ponyo for a Best Picture nomination.

How much does a banner ad at Cartoon Brew cost?  Why not pool some money together and buy a front page ad for Ponyo?  For Your Consideration - Best Picture!

Let's see what we can do to make a difference.  We won't know unless we try...right?


Anonymous said...

frankly I liked Up more than Ponyo. I know that's not the best comment to make on a ghibli blog but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

I hope that you will take this comment in the spirit it is intended - I certainly mean no offense by it, and I would be absolutely thrilled if Ponyo were to win Best Picture at the Oscars.

I believe that promoting Ponyo for a Best Picture nomination might be a lost cause. As far as my limited knowledge of the Oscars goes, Beauty and the Beast is the only animated film to have been honoured in this way. Unfortunately, with the biases held by the Academy (and society at large), I think it's almost inconceivable for an animated feature to win Best Picture. This is not to say that there are not deserving candidates (Ponyo being among them), but that people's outlook on animation includes a great many preconceived notions.

I believe it is entirely possible for Ponyo to be nominated for Best Animated Picture (in fact, I would be outraged if it weren't) - but I think even a win in this category may be difficult because of the bias against international films, both animated and live action.

I suppose what I'm saying is that an effort to promote Ponyo for Best Picture might be ignored entirely, while a push to promote it as Best Animated Picture has a much greater chance of succeeding and might be a better investment of energy.

(This is not to excuse Disney from promoting Up and not Ponyo.)

I apologize if this sounds overly pessimistic; wins for both awards would be wonderful, but both are an uphill battle - so it might be best to pick to advocate for the award for which Ponyo won't be categorically dismissed.

On the other hand, even a nomination for Best Picture would be a remarkable achievement, and I think would make most of us who love this film feel just as euphoric as an actual win in that category.

Only my two cents. I wish we lived in a world where this film would be honoured to the extent that it truly deserves.


J.R.D.S. said...

Animal Treasure Island, Tales of the Street Corner, Legend of the Forest and a Léon film!

RIKYU said...

Cartoon Brew?? Who cares about ads on Cartoon Brew. How about Daily Variety if you want exposure that counts!

Steve Spiegel said...

I watched Up again recently, and was astonished by how silly it gets as after the first ten minutes. I'm seriously under the impression that everything after the marriage montage wasn't supposed to be taken so seriously, but more as a dream. There's a part of me that absolutely refuses to believe that everyone at Pixar, including the Brain Trust, had such a lapse in judgment that they overlooked all of these outrageous sequences.

Daniel Thomas MacInnes said...

@rikyu You're right. Variety is where you'd want to place ads. If there were a grassroots campaign for Ponyo, Variety would be the ones to target. But Cartoon Brew is popular among the animation community, and they're a key constituent.

I realize this is all tilting at windmills. I have a goofy habit of doing this sort of thing. But I always say the same thing - you could change the world if you only try. Remember what John Lennon once said, "War is Over...if you want it."

If nothing else, a grassroots Ponyo campaign could shake things up a little. These awards shows are increasingly stale and predictable.

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