I think Finding Nemo might be the most important film in the history of animation. That doesn’t mean that it’s the best animated film ever or even my favorite, nor does it mean that it did something revolutionary or game-changing when it was released 13 years ago. Instead, its importance stems from how it subtly changed both the type of storytelling in animation and the public perception of the medium. Finding Nemo marked the start of the switch from the view of animation as “kids’ movies” or “cartoons” to a wider and more positive view of the field in general, to the point where animated films are now increasingly the most popular and successful films each year. Before Finding Nemo, most animation was aimed at kids with the hopes that it might entertain adults also, typically through innuendo or adult humor that would go over the heads of younger viewers. Even Pixar’s first outings, as brilliant as they are, followed this trend to a certain extent, breaking technological barriers more than those of storytelling and genre. But Finding Nemo was different. It told a story that never pandered to either kids or adults, but was instead something that could be appreciated by both equally, and it was filled with characters who were relatable no matter your age. It represented a maturity that was entirely new to animation, an understanding that it’s possible to genuinely create a film for everyone without having to make sacrifices to the story, and the emotional depth which can be achieved when the right all of the right ingredients, including plot, character, direction, and most importantly performance, are combined. It kicked off a new era, and it’s no coincidence that three out of the next four Pixar films were The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and Wall-E.
Whew! Day 1 of the 2015 D23 Expo has come and gone, and I’m exhausted. Today’s main events were the Disney Legends ceremony (which I did not attend, but which featured a surprise appearance by Johnny Depp), and the Disney Animation presentation (which I did attend and was amazing). My day started when I joined the queue for the show floor at 5:15 or so, after getting my guidebook, schedule, and badge holder, and after walking by the Buzz Lightyear balloon from the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. D23 allowed people to camp out overnight for the first time this year, and I was probably 600th in line to get on the show floor, though there were relatively few people in line for the Disney Legends ceremony (which supposedly wasn’t full when it started).
Last night’s Academy Awards ceremony was a big step up from last year’s. Of course, everyone knew Ellen Degeneres would do a better job than Seth MacFarlane, but she really knocked it out of the park last night. While I wouldn’t want her to host every year (because it would get stale), I would fully support bring her back every other year to host, until she doesn’t want to do it anymore. As for the winners, the very deserving 12 Years A Slave won best picture, as the major categories went to the frontrunners. As for my predictions, I only went 16/24 (the same as last year), as most of my predicted upsets never panned out. I feel sorry for the person who was linked to my blog yesterday searching for “86th academy awards expert picks,” because they probably lost their Oscar pool if they used me as a guide.
Ellen started things off in her usual style, making some killer jokes while also keeping things light and fun. Continue reading
So the news today is that Ellen Degeneres will be hosting the 86th Oscars in March. I’m extremely pleased by this, especially after the bizarre sexism from Seth MacFarlane last year. Ellen last hosted in 2007 when The Departed (ugh) won best picture. I remember enjoying her hosting job, though I don’t recall any particular gags or jokes*, but that’s never been Ellen’s style. If you’ve ever watched her stand-up, her gift is telling funny stories instead of jokes. I’ve always been a huge fan of hers, and she has a gift for being warm while also bitingly hilarious, all as she maintains a constant level of entertainment. She may not hit the highs that some other hosts, but she rarely has the lows either. Continue reading