Animation deserves better – Technique

This year’s Oscars were interesting to say the least, while the talk of the town was the ‘slap in the face’ incident between 2022 Best Actor winner Will Smith and comedian Chris Rock, there were a lot of them. more captivating moments.

One of those moments was “Encanto” having its time in the spotlight with its Best Animated Feature win. As a Colombian-American and fan of animation, it was satisfying to see the film gain recognition, but my joy was short-lived with all the continued resistance that award-winning circles have towards the genre.

Animation has only just entered the world of awards shows, as only 30 years ago an animated film was nominated for Best Picture at the Oscars. The Academy has seemed reluctant to recognize animated films and only just created the Best Animated Feature category in 2002, with “Shrek” winning.

Since then, various animated films have won or received nominations in their respective category but also in other categories such as original music, sound and original screenplay to name a few. But these anime films usually only win in their given category and continue to be associated with films for kids.

At the Oscars, presenters often spoke about the importance of animated films in conveying messages to children and how they serve as the mainstay of many childhoods. While I think that sentiment is true, the influence of animated films and the community they create is vastly underestimated.

Of course, animation is marketed very differently in the United States than in other countries. Unlike Japan where there is animation for all demographic ages and in a range of genres, the United States generally markets children’s shows and movies and is often locked into the realm of fantasy.

Despite the supposed marketing, the fans of these shows are quite diverse, which is to be expected since often the messages and themes are timeless. Friendship, love, trauma, and growth are all topics that have been explored in animation, and these can certainly be found in more “mature” cinematography as well.

These days there are more anime shows for adults and there are some interesting original animations on streaming platforms like Netflix with the show “Arcane”. However, animation is still primarily used for children’s content by major studios, and is therefore only seen in that context by many reviewers. Going back to the reviews of the animation in the awards circuit, while I’m glad “Encanto” won, it was a long-awaited victory.

Big names like Disney have often swept the Best Animated Feature category, leaving other big films from smaller or independent companies with much less chance of recognition. Also, the category of Best Animated Feature Film or Best Animated Short Film is very limited to the potential of animated films.

There’s so much work to do in the making of these movies and it doesn’t seem fair that there aren’t more categories that specifically showcase the skills that go into animation, such as original storyboarding, best voice acting, character design and digital set design.

Animation is so important. It is so versatile that it can represent things that work beyond the limits of our reality and imagination. It’s a labor of passion to be able to put the time and effort into creating an animated film, and those films should get the recognition they deserve from the awards circuits.

At this point, the United States will probably not reach a point where animated content will be as respected as other forms of cinema, but hopefully more film and production companies will start taking more risks and to fund more unique animation projects. I also hope that this recent win for “Encanto” will help expose the general public to the artistic and storytelling potential of animation.

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