Animated Movies That Bring Oscar Buzz For Adults

Since the inception of the Oscar category for best animated feature in 2001, the Academy has occasionally celebrated thematically mature work alongside blockbuster powerhouses for audiences of all ages. These more adult titles are often hand-drawn productions designed abroad in languages ​​other than English and without the involvement of major companies.

Some of these key nominees include the Cuban romance “Chico and Rita,” the poetic, French drama about fate, “I Lost My Body,” and the adaptation of Marjane Satrapi’s autobiographical comic, “Persepolis.”

Their recognition at the Oscars helps move beyond the assumption that the psychic’s sole virtue is to serve as a tool for narratives for children.

It also reveals that the studio-dominated American animation industry rarely finances this kind of daring filmmaking. One acclaimed exception is Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson’s stop-motion meditation on loneliness and friendship.anomaly

Competing for the final five nominations, the current contenders showcase multiple examples of storytelling that tackles emotionally charged, adult issues with distinctive visual flair.

Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda, who was previously nominated for the fantasy family epic “Mirai,” returns to his fascination with the online lives we lead, a theme he took up in “Summer Wars” (2009), with a soul-stirring, music-infused film. , the digital fairy tale “Belle” (in theaters January 14).

Borrowing tropes from Disney’s 1991 movie “Beauty and the Beast,” but redesigned to fit its lively aesthetic, Hosoda constructs a virtual universe known as U, where people coexist in the form of brightly colored avatars tailored to their physical characteristics and personalities.

In this abstract realm, worried teen Suzu (voiced by Kaho Nakamura) transforms into an overconfident pop star. But when a troubled user begins to wreak havoc with a mysterious cloaked dragon, truth seeps into this idyllic escape. Thrilling action, awe-inspiring world structure and captivating soundtrack highlight more challenging subjects.

With compelling gravitas, “Belle” confronts the neglect and abuse committed against the youth by her guardians, as well as the delay in communication between parents and children. Yet instead of demonizing the interactions we have through our internet personalities, Hosoda offers this alternative form of interaction as a way for intimate connection.

Conversely, the captivatingly gripping mountain climbing drama “The Summit of the Gods” (streaming on Netflix) maps the story of a dual obsession that unfolds entirely in animated iterations of existing locations: Mount Everest, the Alps, Tokyo, all no less remarkable in painterly depictions. The French-made film (based on Jiro Taniguchi’s manga) portrays strenuous and dangerous activity as a spiritual pursuit.

Determined to reach the world’s highest peak, reclusive mountaineer Habu (voiced by Eric Herson-Macarel) has spent years preparing to achieve it alone. At the same time, photojournalist Fukamachi (Damien Boisseau) is on a quest to locate the camera belonging to real-life mountaineer George Mallory, who died on the north face of Everest. Their separate desires soon become inextricably intertwined.

Before making “Summit”, director Patrick Imbert had worked as animation director on hyper-stylized projects such as the acclaimed fairy tale “Ernest and Celestine.” But here, his first solo directorial effort, there is a more understated approach to character design, not stylization but to put the exploration of human longing for the unknown into focus. While most of us may never understand what compels people to risk everything at such altitudes, “Peak” tries to get us as close to that peak as possible through sensory impressions.

Remaining in our sufficiently complex real world, the two films reinforce a trend pointing to animation as a way of understanding the cultural and geopolitical intricacies of Afghanistan. These entries join recent highlights like Cartoon Saloon’s Oscar-nominated “The Breadwinner” and the animatedly somber French title “The Swallows of Acceptance.”

First, Jonas Poher Rasmussen’s already multi-award winning refugee adventure “Flee” is a non-fiction piece about a young man’s treacherous journey from Kabul in the 1980s to the safety of his Copenhagen safe house. The subject is Amin (a nickname used to protect his identity), who befriended the filmmaker when they were both teenagers.

Considering the seriousness of the circumstances described and based on real events, “Flee” Ari Folman’s “Waltz with Bashir” is an animated documentary from Israel that was nominated for the best international Oscar in 2009.

The animation empowered Rasmussen and his team to lyrically embody Amin’s more hazy, most traumatic memories and transport audiences to the past not just as it was, but as they experienced it, with a vividly resounding immediacy. Underlying his dangerous transition is Amin’s concealment of his sexual orientation.

“To escape” (in theaters) would have gone down in Oscar history if it had been nominated in all three categories (representing Denmark) in animation, documentary and international feature films.

Animation’s boundless presence in genres and forms this awards season, which won the New York Film Critics Circle award for best nonfiction film and the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle award for best animation.

The other standout account set in Afghanistan, though decades later, “Sunny Maad” received a surprise nomination from the embattled Golden Globe. Veteran Czech animator Michaela Pavlatova, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her 1993 short film “Words, Words, Words”, is making her first animated feature with this domestic drama based on a novel by Petra Prochazkova.

Czech student Herra (voiced by Zuzana Stivinova) moves to Kabul after marrying an Afghan man. The childless adopt the timid orphan Maad (Shahid Maqsoodi) to form a caring core, but household dynamics with extended family members and growing national unrest constantly strain their marriage.

Despite the limited number of awards that have been released in theaters so far, this highly touching film deserves a lot of attention. Blending suppressed magical realism with unfiltered harsh realities, Pavlatova addresses the vulnerable position of women in a strictly patriarchal society.

While the aforementioned contenders are international titles, two rare American indie games also delve into adult themes: Dash Shaw’s wild adventure “Cryptozoo” (Stream on Hulu) and the chilling fantasy epic “The Spine of Night” by Morgan Galen King and Philip Gelatt (available on request).

A deep burst of invention humbly,”crypto zoo” focuses on the myriad mythological creatures known as cryptids, which are haunted by both those who want to display them at an amusement park and for use as weapons by the US military.

Both “Kriptozoo” and “Backbone” are welcome additions to the landscape of mature animation features that have few highly autonomous role models like the long-time veteran animator. Bill Plympton and productive Don HertzfeldtWorking with limited resources, he manages to keep creative control of his idiosyncratic comedies.

Whether it means taking advantage of European government funds (“Top of the Gods”, “Escape”, “My Sunny Maad”), starting a self-sufficient company (like Hosoda’s Studio Chizu) or being smartly frugal to pursue a career The common denominator between these films seems to be that they exist outside of systems that thwart animation’s full potential.

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