Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Oscar Showdown: Kung Fu Panda versus WALL-E

Everyone has his or her favorite Oscar category, or at least one in which he/she invests the most interest. Usually, for me, that's either Best Picture or Best (Original) Screenplay. This year, though, while I am strongly rooting for certain nominees (Mickey Rourke for Best Actor, Slumdog Millionaire for Picture) come Sunday, I'll invest my most intense watching abilities in the Best Animated Feature category.

Ok, I'll come clean - I haven't seen Bolt. I don't really plan to. It just didn't capture my interest the way that the other two did. I have seen both WALL-E and Kung Fu Panda (WALL-E kept me up during past the 9th hour of and 18 hour flight I was on; I just watched KFP this past weekend).

It's hard to tell which of these will win. I say that, because though KFP is a really terrific animated movie, one which I laughed with throughout, WALL-E is (dare I say it?) ground-breaking in its accomplishments. I know that there was an ultimately unsuccessful campaign to nominate WALL-E for one of the five coveted Best Picture slots, so the industry clearly recognizes that it's an incredible film. Any writer should be able to appreciate the clear mastery of craft throughout it, with a particular focus on the wordless first act. It deserves to win, if you as this cake fan, but does that mean it will?

Unfortunately, we can all cite examples of the movie that should have won. A loss to Kung Fu Panda would not be the worst upset in Oscar history, but one that would piss me off a bit nonetheless. I was completely caught off-guard by WALL-E, which I believe I can take lessons from as a writer. I just want to see it get what it not only deserves, but has definitely earned.
What do you think - who will the Best Animated Feature Oscar go to?

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