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 scenes...like 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?