In a move that has shocked movie pundits and reviewers, the Lego Movie was excluded from the nominations for “Best Animated Movie” in the Oscars 2015.
Despite achieving an incredible 96% approval rating on social movie review site “Rotten Tomatoes”, raking in the fourth highest box office return in the USA and being the highest grossing film of the year in the UK, there’s something about Emmet, WildStyle, Benny, and their chums that the Academy find distinctly less than “awesome”.
Instead, the nominations went to Big Hero 6, The Boxtrolls, How To Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. All worthy contenders, but the exclusion of the Lego Movie has left most of the media dumbfounded and the internet, especially Twitter, in uproar.
The only nomination that the Lego Movie did receive was a nomination in the “Best Original Song” for “Everything is Awesome” – ironic when you consider that the underlying message of that song is a not-too-subtle dig at unoriginal pop and the universal conformity that is the true enemy for Emmet and his cohort in the Lego Movie.
Meanwhile Philip Lord, who directed the Lego Movie, was unabashed – choosing to tweet a picture of a Lego Oscar rather than join in the clamour, which seems unlikely to run out of steam any time soon.
For the Academy, who are also drawing fire for a lack of ethnic diversity in their nominations this year as well as a number of other high profile snubs, the more fundamental question may be whether or not an “animated” category remains relevant today.
Prior to 1996, when Toy Story won a special award to celebrate its ground breaking achievements in then new-world of CGI, there was no special classification for animated films. It would in fact be another 6 years before the Academy would honour animated features with its own category, in 2002.
In seven of the first eight years after the category was created, only three movies would received nominations – a clear message on how the Academy viewed the quality of animated features being created at that time.
However, attitudes amongst movie goers were far more progressive. By 2012, six of the top ten highest grossing films were animated and today there are more animated features in production than ever before.
Is it time for the Academy to open up more than five slots for Animated Features, reflecting the diversity and quality of content being created, or is time to accept that film making has moved on and let animated movies fight it out with traditional films for the coveted “Best Picture” Award?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, we can all keep our fingers crossed for Lego Movie 2!