Friday, September 11, 2015

Oscar Got It Wrong!: Best Animated Feature 2005

The Contenders:

Corpse Bride
Howl’s Moving Castle
Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit (winner)

What’s Missing

There were five larger animated releases in 2005 that weren’t nominated for Best Animated Feature, none of which were well received. Of the five, I’ve seen both Madagascar and Robots, and while I might consider Madagascar for a nomination, it’s not one I would normally consider worthy. I’ve heard nothing much good about Hoodwinked, Chicken Little, or Valiant. So, based on that, we’ve probably got the right three.

Weeding through the Nominees

3: I’ve often had an issue with anime in that I frequently feel like I’m missing a lot of backstory. This is especially true of anything that touches on science fiction or fantasy. With Howl’s Moving Castle, we’re absolutely in the fantasy realm and so I feel like I’m supposed to know more than I do. I get lost in the story and that ends up frustrating me. Am I supposed to know what’s going on here? Because I don’t. Sure, the artwork is great, but it’s the story I want to buy into and I didn’t buy into this story at all.

2: The biggest issue I have with Corpse Bride is that for a story that’s this inventive, it’s surprisingly unmemorable. This is even more true of the songs, which should be one of the biggest sells of an animated musical. It’s also really short, barely long enough to be considered a feature-length film. It’s such a great idea for a story that I can’t help but be disappointed by the execution. This should be a film that I love based on the underlying story and the interesting animation. It always ends up disappointing me. It should be better than it is.

My Choice

1: I tend to like Aardman films and I’ve been a fan of Wallace & Gromit for years. I expected to like Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, and I did, even if it’s too short as well. I like the animation style of Aardman films and I like the wit with which their films are made. This is an entertaining film for kids and for adults, and Aardman manages to do this without ever making “adult” jokes over kids’ heads. This is admittedly a weak animation year all the way around, but this would have been at least a contender even in a strong year.

Final Analysis


  1. I haven't seen the other films but I just love Wallace and Grommit so the Academy gets a big thumbs up from me!

    1. I love me some Wallace & Gromit. The Wrong Trousers is my favorite, but this one is pretty good.

      Corpse Bride is worth your time for the idea. If you're an art junkie, Howl's Moving Castle is worth seeing, too.

  2. Hey, if everyone agreed with me, I'd eventually be unnecessary.

    If you ever do another round-table and are looking for another person, let me know.

  3. I'd swap the positions of Howl's Moving Castle and The Corpse Bride, but I agree on number one. I actually liked all three of the nominees a little more than average.

    In regards to other films I agree Madagascar, Robots, and Chicken Little weren't worthy of nominations. I'd definitely recommend Hoodwinked to you, though. I really enjoyed it. If anyone had told me someone could make an independent, low budget 3D animated movie ten years ago I'd have thought they were crazy. I'm really impressed with what they were able to accomplish. And I like the whole structure of the story in that a detective (as a Thin Man fan you'll definitely get the references) is investigating what really happened with Little Red Riding Hood, the Big Bad Wolf, the Grandmother, and the Woodsman. We get a Rashomon-style look at the events from each of their perspectives. And each segment includes spoofs of other movies such as Vin Diesel's xXx. In fact, there are a lot of references that only movie lovers will get. I'm sure they went over the heads of kids. I haven't seen the sequel, but that's the one that I've heard bad things about.

    1. I almost switched Corpse Bride and Howl's Moving Castle myself. The only reason they're in the positions they are is that I'm more at home in the story of the first one.

      In situations where I haven't seen a relevant film, I have to resort to concensus opinion. Hoodwinked! got mildly favorable reviews, but hardly anything world beating. That, and I'd guess that if it did have strong critical acclaim, I'd probably have seen it.

  4. I've seen far too few animated features since the kids outgrew them (late 1990s). I am trying to make amends and among the ones I've purchased recently is »Curse of the Were-Rabbit«. Seems like a good choice, judging from almost everyone's opinion here!

    1. It's fun and it's got some real wit to it. I think you'll enjoy it.