Spirited Away

Eija Niskanen emniskanen
Mon Mar 24 10:37:19 EST 2003

BTW, does anyone know why Hayao Miyazaki decided not to come to the Academy

Mark Schilling wrote:
> Jonathan is right in wanting to see animation treated with more respect by
> the Academy and the film world at large. I don't, however, see "Spirited
> Away"s animation Oscar as a consolation prize, but the highest honor
> Hollywood can bestow -- with the emphasis on "can."
> Fact: Animators deserve more recognition than they commonly get.
> Fact: If their films are included in the Best Picture category they will
> recognition in the form of an Oscar maybe once every twenty-five or fifty
> years -- maybe. Entire generations of animators will grow old and gray
> before one of their number gets his or her 45 seconds at the awards
> Put these two facts together and you have the case for an animation Oscar.
> The documentary folks are in the same boat, but are any demanding
> in the Best Picture category?
> In the real world, you can only play the hand you're dealt -- and
> are always going to be drawing for that inside straight.
> Mark Schilling
> schill at gol.com
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: Jonathan Clements
> To: Undisclosed-Recipient:;
> Sent: Monday, March 24, 2003 6:00 PM
> Subject: Spirited Away wins Oscar -- a little extra food for thought
> (from my column in Newtype USA, Feb 03)
> Ghetto Heaven
> Hooray for cartoons. There's an Animation Academy Award. For too long,
> been regarded as a second-class medium while live-action Hollywood pap
> scoops the accolades. But we're still out there in the cold, we're just in
> different kind of cold.
> Magazine schedules being what they are, as I write I don't know if
> Away has even been nominated for an Oscar. But whether it has or not, it's
> being considered in the class of Best Animated Movie, a new category whose
> inaugural appearance in 2002 was won by Shrek.
> Around the time that Shrek was getting the Best Film That's Not A Real
> Award, last February's big news was the richly deserved success of Hayao
> Miyazaki. After the disastrous performance of Princess Mononoke in
> many local critics didn't even bother to go to the Berlin Film Festival's
> screening of Spirited Away, a decision they came to regret when the
> international jury unexpectedly gave it the prestigious Golden Bear. While
> German pundits tried to bluff their way through interviews ("Err. ja, ze
> movie is very good. But I don't know why, because I have not seen it!"),
> film's staff were on hand with some thought-provoking comments.
> Producer Toshio Suzuki, the man for whom the word "canny" was probably
> invented, laid part of the credit at the door of the American Motion
> Academy, thanking them for raising the status of all cartoons with the
> created Animation Oscar. Well, that's what he might have meant, but Suzuki
> is also the joker who presented Harvey Weinstein with a samurai sword and
> note that said "No Cuts." The fact is that the German judges were prepared
> to praise Spirited Away simply for being the best Film they'd seen,
> America's Oscar voters are obliged to stick it in the Cartoon ghetto. Was
> Suzuki having a little chuckle at the Americans' activities - changing
> own rules to keep a mere Japanese cartoon from threatening Hollywood on
> home turf.?
> There was once a time when the Japanese seriously considered submitting
> Takahata's Pompoko as a contender for Best Foreign Movie at the Oscars.
> you see that? Best Foreign Movie. Not Best Foreign Cartoon, not Best Thing
> That Isn't A Real Film, not Runner-Up Prize For Not Having Christopher Lee
> In The Cast, but Best Foreign Movie.
> Movies have always been about artifice, the creating of new worlds, and
> finessing our own reality. Short actors are made to look taller, tall
> are turned into hobbits, doddering oldsters have backflipping
> Long years lived breath-by-breath are snipped and chopped and edited into
> their visually-appealing highlights. Animation does it in a different,
> hyper-real way, but it is a way that is still legitimate. Defenders and
> apologists of the Animation Oscar will tell you that the new category is
> admission of that, a "two thumbs-up" to the entire animated medium. Don't
> get me wrong, there are people in and outside the Academy who genuinely
> that this is an incredible victory for animation. There are people who
> fought tooth-and-claw to get that category accepted, and deservedly bigged
> themselves up when it finally was.
> But do you think this is a victory for animation? At a time when Hollywood
> films use unprecedented amounts of special effects, so-called
> movies comprise vast digital sequences? With Final Fantasy: The Spirits
> Within, we got our first glimpse of movies in the 21st century, with the
> supremacy of the actor eroded by the onslaught of the "vactor." Ben
> got to sit in a movie theater, popcorn in his lap and his arm round J-Lo,
> and see a virtual actor who looked remarkably like him in a movie that
> never actually worked on. Entire cast members (Yoda, C3PO.. Dumbledore)
> only exist in computers. For a long time, producers have told us that
> are real, and that actors are real people, and irreplaceable. But with
> doubling of computer power and every leap in digital software, the
> between real and virtual slips away. Just exactly how much of The Matrix
> real?
> Here, take this red pill.
> There's never been a better time for taking animation out of the ghetto,
> instead, the Academy have built a wall around it. As the last bastion of
> movie musical, cartoons already sew up Best Song on almost every occasion.
> Nobody disputes the quality of their writing - Shrek was also nominated
> Best Adapted Screenplay last year. But with Miyazaki on the American
> "cartoons" are now officially giving "real" movies a run for their money
> the big-hitter categories. There are people who want to see that threat
> neutralised, before it defeats them in the publicity stakes.
> You think I'm mad? Why is it the Germans get to call Spirited Away a great
> Film, while we get to say it's a worthy Cartoon?
> Jonathan

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