I smell an upset in the making. According to Deadline, the party responsible for The Lego Movie being notoriously snubbed at this years Oscars is none other than GKids Films.
The conventional wisdom says that Disney or Dreamworks will take the Best Animated Feature Oscar, since Academy voters consider animation a second-class medium not worthy of their attention. But I don't think that's going to happen this year. My gut feeling doesn't believe it. I am feeling ever more confident that Isao Takahata's The Tale of the Princess Kaguya will win. Here are my reasons why:
1) The idea that GKids knocked out The Lego Movie will only add to the hype. It's a great narrative - David vs Goliath, and if you know anything about the movies, it's that Hollywood loves a good story. And it cements the rise of the New York-based indie film distributor.
2) Takahata's Princess Kaguya has received enthusiastic praise from critics. I expected the usual praise given to every Ghibli feature, but something about Kaguya captured their imaginations. For a moment, they seemed to understand it. They got it. I'm reminded of the buzz surrounding Miyazaki's Spirited Away in 2002.
3) This may be Studio Ghibli's farewell. At least, that's what Hollywood currently believes. They bestowed a second Oscar to Hayao Miyazaki earlier this year, as a tribute to his 50-year career. Takahata has not formally announced his retirement, but his age (79) and his famously long production times for films point to Kaguya as his final masterpiece. This may be our last chance to celebrate these masters of cinema.
4) Where is the buzz for Disney or Dreamworks? Nowhere. Compare this to the attention paid to Frozen last year.
5) Hand-Drawn Animation versus CGI has a certain romantic appeal, and fits perfectly with the Davis vs Goliath theme. Classical animation may be going the way of Studio Ghibli, which makes this the End of An Era. Another story for Hollywood to consume.
And, finally...slightly joking...
6) The new Horus, Prince of the Sun DVD is causing shockwaves through the movie world, introducing people everywhere to the genius that is Takahata. Paku-Mania is everywhere!
You're freakin' welcome. :)