Animated Oscar Winners 2008

ratatouille_thumb[1]The Oscar for Best Animated Feature went to Brad Bird’s Ratatouille from Pixar, beating out Persepolis, which was my favorite. In so doing, the members of the Academy went against the trend to honor smaller independent films in the Best Picture category, as opposed to blockbusters like Ratatouille.

The Best Animated Short Film went to Suzie Templeton’s wonderful version of Sergei Prokofiev’s Peter & the Wolf, which was my favorite among the contenders.

golden compass_thumb[1]Although the Visual Effects Oscar is not one usually embraced by the animation community, this year’s winner, The Golden Compass (which I have not seen) seems to have earned its statue because of its digital character animation. (One should remember that Ray Harryhausen, an animation icon if there ever was one, made his mark in special effects.)

Atonement_thumb[1]Visual Effects Oscars seem to go to movies where the effects are of the How did they do that category. In the process, they ignore work which may be amazing in its own way, but does not try to call attention to itself. For instance, I was particularly impressed by the Dunkirk sequence in Joe Wright’s Atonement done under the supervision of Mark Holt. One would hope both types of visual effects would get equal visibility, but that’s not likely to happen much outside the effects community itself. (The producers of Atonement, I’m sure, were more concerned about getting a Best Picture Oscar than trying to compete against giant polar bears.)

Author: Harvey Deneroff

Harvey Deneroff is a Los Angeles-based independent animation and film scholar specializing in labor history. He formerly taught at the Savannah College of Art and Design and was editor of Animation Magazine, Animation World Magazine, and Graiffit (published by ASIFA-Hollywood). He is the founder and past president of the Society for Animation Studies.