OPINION | Lights, camera, animation: why animation deserves more recognition at the Oscars

Share This:

When I was a kid, I only watched the Academy Awards to see who would win Best Animated Feature.

Now that I’m older, I find myself wondering why the representatives of the academy refuse to give animation the respect it deserves.

Animation requires far more love and attention in order for the medium to truly flourish as a respected facet of film whether it’s through integrating animation into more established categories or creating more dedicated categories based around animation, allowing more representation for animation can only lead to a more diverse lineup of nominees for the Academy Awards.

After “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio” won the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature, Guillermo Del Toro accepted the Oscar and said something I’ve been waiting to hear for years: “Animation is cinema. Animation is not a genre.”

For far too long, animation has only been the category for kids in the eyes of the representatives of the academy. Not only is this blatantly outdated and disrespectful to the medium, but it’s also incorrect.

Del Toro’s win for his adaptation of Pinocchio proved just that. Del Toro’s film is too dark to be just a kid’s movie. It’s filled with depressing themes, Nazis and death.

The goal of animation isn’t to keep kids entertained. It’s to create something out of nothing for anyone who is willing to give it a chance.

Even if it was just for kids, the Academy Awards is supposed to celebrate the best of film in the past year. So, why does animation only get to participate in one category despite some of the best films of 2022 being animated?

The Academy Awards either needs to allow more animated movies to be nominated for different categories, or they need to make new categories specifically made for animation.

For example, a best voice actor category would be a welcome addition. Not every voicework roll is just a celebrity trying to make a quick buck. Dedicated voice actors poor their heart and soul into these characters, and they must be commended for such love and hard work.

A best advancement in animation award would also be appreciated by the many hard working animators who give their all to the art. Del Toro said during his acceptance speech that animation was ready to take the next step. Whether that be through technology or recognition, this award would help in those endeavors.

A best animation team award would be a solid incentive for producers to push the limits of what can be done through the medium of animation. Even if the animated movie doesn’t have the best script, it can still look incredible and win the award.

For example, “Suicide Squad” from 2016 is mediocre in its script and overall execution, but it still managed to win the award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling at the 2017 Academy Awards.

Animated feature films were some of the biggest highlights of 2022. One film I was not expecting to be well received was “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish”; however, the script writing was sharp and witty, the animation was incredibly beautiful, and it made me want to see more from a character who was essentially dead in the water.

This film didn’t win Best Animated Feature Film, but it should have been nominated for other categories as well. Best Adapted Screenplay would be a fitting category due the films sharp writing and interesting themes.

More than anything, if animation is taken more seriously by the representatives of the academy, then we can all enjoy animation to its full potential. Producers will see animation as a more lucrative art form, therefore allowing more daring ideas to flourish.

The first thing that needs to happen in order for more animation representation to occur is to have more integration into the other categories. Films like the previously mentioned “Puss In Boots: The Last Wish” making it into Best Adapted Screenplay or having “Guillermo Del Toro’s Pinocchio” nominated for Best Picture would allow animation to stand on equal footing with the rest of films represented at the Academy Awards.

Don’t judge an animated film by its movie poster. Otherwise you may miss out on some of the best cinema on the big screen. In order for the representatives of the academy to take animation seriously, they need to see the audience take it seriously with their wallets.

Animation is the strongest and most relatable facet to visual media. It can captivate anyone of any age, race, gender and societal upbringing. Some of the most incredible worlds the human mind can imagine are only possible through animation. Del Toro believes animation will reach even greater heights if the support is there. I only hope I’m there to see it for myself.