While the creation of the Best Animated Feature category provided many films the possibility for recognition that they wouldn’t have received otherwise, I fear that this category may ultimately result in the marginalization of some genuinely deserving works of art. There have been instances over the last few years where an animated film rivals the beauty and emotional depth of the nominees for Best Picture.
I also worry that the creation of the award for Best Animated Feature was merely a means to placate people like me who demand that animated films receive more respect. The Best Animated Feature award neatly categorizes these films and furthers the idea that an animated film is good in its own right, but incomparable to a live-action film. There’s also the argument that awarding a film “Best Animated Feature” effectively nullifies the film’s chance of winning Best Picture. However, the fact that Up and Toy Story 3 were nominated for both Best Picture and Best Animated Feature gives me hope that I may see an animated film win Best Picture one day.
Regrettably, the long-standing bias against animated films seems to exist not only among film critics, but also among casual filmgoers. Those who don’t take the time to explore animated films or have only seen a few write them off as mere kid’s films, which irritates me to no end. Disregarding a film simply because it is animated effectively shuts you off from a world of imaginative and innovative storytelling.
Animated films are as vast and varied as live-action films, and they address the same themes to varying degrees of success, just as live-action films do. In other words, there are crappy animated films just like there are crappy live-action films. Moviegoers who deny themselves the chance to embrace the wonders of animation don’t know what they’re missing.
It’s time to give animated films their due.