The Boss Baby
It doesn’t happen often, but I haven’t seen anything in this category and year that wasn’t nominated. Truthfully, I should probably see The LEGO Batman Movie, but I just haven’t gotten around to it.
Weeding through the Nominees
5. While I don’t have anything I can suggest as a serious replacement for any of the nominees, I have a hard time believing that The Boss Baby was one of the five best animated movies from 2017. Sure, the voice work was good and there were a few good jokes, but a lot of this was predictable. The whole thing seems to stem from a joke about Alec Baldwin being the voice of the baby in question. It’s barely a good movie and certainly not the caliber I hope for with any Oscar category. What the hell is their bias against the various LEGO movies?
4. What I said about The Boss Baby I could say to a lesser extent and with a little less strength about Ferdinand. It’s a cute movie and I enjoy the voice work in it quite a bit—the cast is very good. But it’s also a movie that is very much for children, and anyone who has seen a movie or two is going to know exactly where this one is going to go. It’s well-made and entertaining, and I can’t imagine that there aren’t a lot of kids who would dislike it, but Best Animated Feature? I can’t see it.
3. I like it when Oscar picks movies far off the beaten path to give them some publicity. The Breadwinner is a movie like that. The problem is that I’ve seen it before in a very big way. In no uncertain terms, The Breadwinner is a very sanitized version of the much more depressing and not-appropriate-for-children Osama. I like that Oscar brings in movies like this even when they don’t have a chance of winning. For a small film like this, the nomination is legitimately the win, because it is suddenly in front of a much larger audience.
2. I desperately wanted to love Loving Vincent and found that I just couldn’t. It is one of the most beautiful movies I have ever seen. Every frame of the film is literally a painting, created painstakingly by teams of artists over years. So much went into the look of the film (and it is staggering) that the filmmakers kind of forgot to have a lot happen. It’s as if they expected the audience to be so enthralled by the visuals that they would overlook the essential lack of story. It’s absolutely worth seeing, but it’s not a huge amount different with the sound off.
1. Coco is the only choice by a country mile. Pixar has made a few missteps in recent years, and while their reputation is no longer perfect, it’s still damn good and generally deserved. Coco is smart enough to give us a story that is very much rooted in its culture but transcends its culture in the best possible ways. In a world where we are told that representation matters (and it does), it’s important to remember that the quality of that representation matters as well. Coco is that in the very best of ways. It was the right choice.