(Note: This is a fictional creative thinking exercise, inspired by hours of contemplation of which animated performances have been most worthy of attention over the years. This feature imagines that a Best Voice Performance category was added to the Oscars following Beauty and the Beast’s nomination for Best Picture at the 64th Academy Awards. I’ll cover the hypothetical nominees and winner from one year of animated performances.)
Enthusiasm for voice acting was high following the 78th Academy Awards, which presented the most diverse slate of nominees the category had ever seen, ending in a win for a widely respected performer on his third nomination. The return of Pixar to the fray with Cars, starring 10-time Oscar nominee Paul Newman helped lend some star power and prestige to the race, while two roles in the same film from Robin Williams assured his presence in any debate about potential nominees. However with every two steps forward comes another step backwards, and when the nominees were announced they were met with a combination of shock, confusion, and in some cases outrage and the bizarre choices, once again bringing the category’s very existence into question.
Epic is almost exactly what you would expect from the trailers. In many ways, it’s a ripoff of Ferngully, minus the obvious environmental message (one of Ferngully‘s most endearing attributes). It varyingly hints at or downright copies elements from that movie, from characters, to story, to design. It also borrows from a slew of other films, including Arthur and the Minimoys, Honey, I Shrunk the Kids, The Spiderwick Chronicles and Happy Feet. I knew all of this going into the theater, and had already begun to write my review in my head when something unexpected happened. Epic won me over.
I’m not entirely sure when or how it happened, all I know is by the final act I was genuinely enjoying myself. Continue reading