Wednesday, January 24, 2007

A Brewing Controversy...

My next post was actually going to discuss more of my past work for Bakshi, but I guess in a way it does sort of connect to what I'm going to blog about instead.
I usually don't get into too much opinion on this blog (which surprises many that know how opinionated I can be) because I usually just use this as a place to connect with fans. But recently I've seen a lot of other bloggers and animation people arguing about the validity of the films that have been nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Film.
Just to be clear those films are Cars, Happy Feet, and Monster House.
The cotroversy that I'm talking about (or everyone else is talking aboout) is whether Motion capture animated films should be considered animated films and be able to compete with a non-motion caoture film like Cars.
Originally there were going to be 5 noiminations, but due to the fact that there needs to be 16 qualified and submitted films and the 16th one this year was disquailfied due to not enough animation the amount of nominations dropped down to 3. This controversy may never have reared its head if there were 5 nominations because there would have been a good chance that the other two nominations would have been similiarly animated in the same manner as Cars.

I've already posted on a couple of Blogs comment sections (like the excellent Mayerson on Animation and the Animation Guild's Blog) so I'll crib from my responses on those to start.

As a voting member of the Academy I feel very determined that certain things shouldn't be accepted in many categories. Such as Andy Serkis being given a nomination for Best Supporting Actor for Gollum - at least not without the animators getting honored as well - anymore than Paul Newman should be nomnated for Doc in Cars. In this case I wouldn't think of disqualifying either of these films anymore than I would a film that was completely rotoscoped and hand drawn (such as some of Bakshi's films or Bluth's last couple of films or large chunks of several Disney films). These 2 nominated films still needed animators to work on and as any animator can tell these 2 films weren't strictly motion-captured. Motion capture, when used properly (like both Monster House and Happy Feet - IMO), is just a tool more along the lines of rotoscope was for even Disney on Snow White and too many films since to list. Though if the film had absolutely no animators actually working on it (I don't know if Scanner Darkley falls into this category or not - though it did qualify for nomination according to the board) then in my opinion it probably shouldn't.
I tend to avoid the phrase "slippery slope", but this definitely qualifies as one in my opinion. If these films had been disqualified because they used motion capture as a tool (like rotoscope has been used since Snow White) than do we disqualify poorly animated films? or films animated by subcontracted overseas studios for a small budget? or films that use too much roto-scope? There might need to be a line drawn, but this isn't where it should be.

Well, that's my 2 cents. Next post I'll get more on track and show some Fire and Ice rotos and how we traced them and really didn't animate that film...


Anonymous said...

I wasn't aware that Monster House had utilized motion capture. When watching it, I know I felt that the animation felt- varying, I suppose. It seemed to bounce from a nice, crisp animation to something that bordered on faux-realism. Which, I realize, probably makes no sense, but- there you have it, I suppose.

Regardless, it's an interesting point to think about.

I am curious, however- how does one become a voting member of Academy?

Rubber Onion said...

i dont usually respond to blogs because... i never really know what to say. but i thought i'd just post:

i agree.

and, i enjoy reading your blog.