Animation isn’t just for kids

During the pre-taped acceptance speech for Best Animated Short on the 94th Academy Awards, “The Windshield Wiper” director Alberto Mielgo mentioned, “animation for adults is a reality. It’s occurring. Let’s name it cinema.”

Unfortunately, the Oscars telecast didn’t really feel the identical method.

Early in her monologue, host Amy Schumer (who shared internet hosting duties with Regina Hall and Wanda Sykes) talked about that she hadn’t seen lots of the nominees. However, she famous that, “I’ve a toddler so I just watched Encanto 190 occasions.”

Later, when presenting the award for Best Animated Feature Film, presenter Halle Bailey mentioned, “Animated movies make up a few of our most formative film experiences as kids.”

“So many kids watch these motion pictures again and again,” mentioned fellow presenter Lily James. Bailey added, “and again and again and again and again and over.”

“I see some mother and father on the market know precisely what we’re speaking about,” mentioned presenter Naomi Scott.

The frequent level between these bits? That animation is a medium loved by kids, and merely tolerated by adults.

Filmmakers rightfully took difficulty with the jokes. Phil Lord, one of many producers of the Academy Award-nominated The Mitchells vs. The Machines, tweeted: “tremendous cool to place animation as one thing that kids watch and adults should endure.”

The concept that animation is exclusively for kids is tired, and has by no means been true. Many of the best animated movies of all time — together with Akira, Persepolis, Grave of the Fireflies, and The Triplets of Belleville — are geared towards extra mature audiences. Recent nominees for Best Animated Feature like Loving Vincent, Anomalisa, and I Lost My Body are undoubtedly not movies for kids.

The concept that animation is solely for kids is drained, and has by no means been true.

This 12 months’s slate of nominees additionally noticed the inclusion of Flee, an animated documentary a couple of refugee leaving Afghanistan that was additionally nominated for Best Documentary Feature and Best International Feature Film. To label animated motion pictures as solely being for kids is to low cost movies like Flee, and these jokes despatched a transparent sign that it would not win the class. No animated movie for grownup audiences has ever gained the Oscar for Best Animated Feature for the reason that award’s introduction in 2001.

Thinking that adults “endure” animated movies just for the sake of their kids can be blatantly false. Animated motion pictures for youthful audiences have one thing to supply to folks of all ages, akin to beautiful visuals and impactful messages. For instance, Encanto, this 12 months’s winner, explores the results of generational trauma, which — you guessed it — resonates throughout a number of generations.

Animation does’t should be an afterthought after we take into consideration movie.

Another nominee, The Mitchells vs. The Machines, delves deep into familial connection in a method that’s relatable to audiences of all ages. Its revolutionary animation model — a mixture of hand-drawn illustrations and CG — pushes the boundaries of the medium. Plus, Katie Mitchell, the lead character, is canonically queer, making this movie an essential step ahead for LGBTQ illustration in media. That’s a giant deal irrespective of who your target market is.

Already this 12 months, we’re seeing how animated movies thought of to be “for kids” converse to wider audiences. Like Encanto, Turning Red appears to be like at generational trauma and presents a relatable and shifting take a look at household life. Its discussions of puberty and durations are additionally groundbreaking, paving the best way for a brand new type of coming-of-age movie.

These put-downs of animation come at an particularly essential time for the sector. The Animation Guild (TAG) is at the moment negotiating for a deal that will guarantee animation staff obtain pay equal to that of their live-action counterparts. #NewDeal4Animation has develop into a rallying cry on-line, and TAG members united in Burbank, California, on Sunday, March 20, in help of the deal.

On high of all this, production on animated films and television shows was capable of proceed through the early phases of the COVID-19 pandemic, when manufacturing on live-action motion pictures and exhibits needed to shut down. Dismissing these motion pictures, particularly contemplating all of the labor that went into them throughout an exceptionally difficult time, is disrespectful.

Animation does’t should be an afterthought after we take into consideration movie, particularly not at an Oscars ceremony with the theme “Movie Lovers Unite.” Like Mielgo mentioned in his speech, animation for adults is right here, and it is cinema. It’s time for the Oscars to start out appearing prefer it.

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