Early last year I predicted that Coraline would win the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. I figured that Henry Selick was one of the last remaining "NAMES" of the animation field that had yet to win an Oscar out of this ghetto category (Pixar, Miyazaki, Aardman have all won) and that voters would be getting tired of voting for Pixar titles. Along came Up and sorta blew that out of the water and now with the expanded Best Picture field most people are even predicting Up to get in there too! Can't say I'm too pleased about that.
Up is by far the weakest Pixar product yet and it would be disappointing to see it win the Animated Feature Oscar when 2009 was, to some, "the year of animation" with so many excellent contenders. As always though in years when there is so much product Academy voters tend to go with the most typical and conventional choice. To have it also be the first Pixar title nominated for Best Picture? I think that would be just as lazy and just "default voting" as nominating something like Invictus.
And while Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr Fox certainly been making headway in the category and could land as many as three nominations come Oscar morning - Animated Feature, Adapted Screenplay and Original Score for Alexandre Desplat - all of which would be more than deserved, I can't help but feel Coraline, which I finally got around to watching recently, has been shunted. Definitely a shame since it too should be on more than one or two ballots for Best Adapted Screenplay and, in a fair and just world, would be a cinch for an unconventional Best Art Direction nomination for those vivid and intricately constructed claymation sets. If it were live action it'd be even cinchier (...?)
Alas, Up will probably win and don't even get me started on Mary and Max. Below I have included two of my favourite original songs from 2009, which also happened to be two of my favourite scenes of the movies discussed. The first is "Other Father Song" from Coraline and what it lacks in length (it is but a mere 30 seconds long) it makes up for with toe-tapping brain-flipping cute-but-creepy jingle-esque fun. I certainly can't get it out of my head. The other is "Petey's Song" from Fantastic Mr Fox as performed by Jarvis Cocker (in claymation). Both are eligible for Oscar and, I think it's fair to say, won't be getting nominated (especially "Other Father Song", which would surely break a record for being the shortest nominee in history).