October 24, 2012 at 12:01 pm #72735
This question is in part because I don’t fully understand the difference between the duties of a production designer on live-action films versus animated films (though for recent Oscar-winners in the category like “Avatar” and “Hugo,” the line between live-action and animation gets blurry).
I went to a screening of “Rise of the Guardians” a couple of weeks ago that brought this to mind. Are production designers more of a marginal role in animation? If not, why are they never seriously considered for awards recognition?
There’s only one exception that I know of: “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” which won Production Design from the National Society of Film Critics, but that was stop-motion, so it still included actual, physical sets.October 24, 2012 at 12:25 pm #72737
Well imo this award is a combination of production designer and set decorator, plus this category has some funny rules, such as, an Art Direction nominations being limited to only those with no credited Production Designer. Usually the Art Director is an individual, whereas production design can be a team.
The only exception I can find with Oscar is 1988’s “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, a genius film which of course, features live action. The one and only nomination for an animated film.
Part of this could be a bias against animated films, which can and does use set designs. It was a struggle just to get this medium Oscar attention, where only three films were given “Special” achievement Oscars: Show White, Roger Rabbit, and Toy Story.
It took until 2001 for animation to finally have their own category. I’d love to see this medium more competitive among the other categories, besides Best Song etc.October 24, 2012 at 1:28 pm #72738
and let s not talk about performances in animated movies
people like Robin Williams and Ellen De Generes should have been nominated…
October 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm #72739
Definitely Jose. I’ll add Peter O’Toole props for Ratatouille. He’s the one who gave that film such enormous impact.
Then, there’s Andrew Stanton missing a Director nod for Wall-E. Imo, he could easily have been there, and at the expense of Stephen Daldry and his The Reader effort. He’s lucky he had Kate Winslet in that film. I also wasnt pleased with Danny Boyle’s nomination, let alone his win.
One day my hope is that this medium gains more respect. This argument about how animation has it’s “own category” is an excuse to bar it and place unfair, illogical barriers in front of it, so that it remains in that one ghetto category. And by ghetto, I simply mean a slot, a place, a grouping.
That tired excuse has got to go. It’s so short sighted and prejudicial for no good reason imo.
Phew! Feels good.October 25, 2012 at 8:33 am #72740
I think the Academy should consider CGI animation and stop-motion for Best Production Design. Ratatouille and Coraline had some of the best art direction I have ever seen put to screen. 2-D animation, as only drawn (not built) sets are used, is not as worthy….but just my opinion.
Also, I would have easily replaced Tom Wilkinson (Michael Clayton) with Peter O’Toole, who arguably gave a better performance in Ratatouille than in Venus, The Stunt Man and The Ruling Class…November 10, 2012 at 3:38 pm #72741
I do agree that animated films have been severely shortchanged at the Oscars. I would’ve thought The Lion King or Toy Story 1 & 2, or Finding Nemo, or WALL-E, or even Shrek could’ve easily gotten nominations if I controlled the Oscars (fat chance I’ll ever do that, though). But I think Prod. Design is a significant part of any animated film. I personally think that Brave’s P.D. is actually one of the best of the year. Also some people, Ellen DeGeneres in Nemo, Eddie Murphy in Shrek, Jeremy Irons in Lion King, Tom Hanks/Tim Allen in Toy Story 1, 2 or 3, or countless others are vetoed from the Oscars. Just because you don’t see their faces, doesn’t mean that they are chopped liver. If people are willing to love cartoons and their characters almost like loving real actors onscreen, then that’s reason enough for me to include them in any category.November 10, 2012 at 4:33 pm #72742
Totally agree about the lack of recognition of production design elements in animated films. Just last week when I saw “Wreck-It Ralph,” my jaw dropped at the production design at the various videogame worlds that play such an important part in the storyline, particularly the Sugar Rush world. If these were live-action, I’m convinced it would mean a sure nomination if not a win. But since it’s animated…oh, well.December 5, 2012 at 9:19 pm #72743
Production Design for animation is as easy to compare with live action as any other craft, as it’s precisely the same job–only more so. It’s more akin to actual film production design from the 30’s through the ’60’s in live action than anything, because EVERYTHING has to be designed and built–NOTHING is for free. Several of Pixar’s films, including Ratatouille, Finding Nemo, and Brave are better designed than most live action films. And the fact that most animation film production designers also supervise the designs of costumes, hair, lighting, and texture–not to mention the design of the actors–makes this an even more glaring problem. As Richard Sylbert said, “If my mentor, William Cameron Menzies were still alive, we’d both be working at Pixar.”
Many of Pixar’s motion pictures have been nominated for Art Director’s Guild awards–but no noms for Oscars yet. Brave should be nominated and win, as it’s by far the most thoughtfully designed film of 2012.
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