Did you follow The Oscars this year? I personally never follow it, but that does not stop me from seeing all kind of mentions in newspapers or on the Internet. This time around, however, there was one little thing that caught my eye and bothered me for many reasons.
If you have some knowledge regarding the whole Academy Awards ordeal, then you might know that animation has never stood a chance against live-action films. In fact, only three animated films have ever been nominated for the Best Picture award. These are: Beauty and the Beast (1991), Up (2009) and Toy Story 3 (2010).
There are many controversies surrounding The Oscars, such as a lack of non-English films, which is perfectly understandable. After all, this is a huge award ceremony supposed to honor the film industry and as such it should be as open-minded as possible. It is never a good thing if other factors than the films themselves end up affecting the awards.
The article that interested me is called “Definitive Proof That Academy Voters Are Ignorant About Animation” and written by Amid Amidi, published on March 2 2014 at Cartoon Brew. In the article we can read about how four of the seven anonymous Academy members abstained from voting in the Best Animated Feature category. However, the three who did end up voting all gave their vote to Disney’s Frozen.
Let us put this into perspective. If we assume that there are only seven members and over half of them (four) abstained from voting we have an issue and the award itself is no longer trustworthy, especially considering how one of the asked had not even seen all of the films. This is, after all, something the members have all signed up for. This is a serious matter if it were to be the case.
However, there is nothing that says there are only seven members. If we look at the official website for The Oscars, we can under the subcategory “Short Films and Feature Animation” ironically find exactly seven persons listed for “Animation”. On the other hand, if we look slightly higher up on the page we can find the following:
“Below is a short list of individuals from each branch.”
This implies that there are more than seven members. I cannot find any exact number myself – it is possible this is confidential information – although this in turn renders the whole article meaningless. The article in question is written with the intent to make animation a victim, to showcase that “Hollywood doesn’t care or know the first thing about animated films” to quote the author himself.
Due to a lack of information regarding, as mentioned above, how many members actually exist it does not matter in the slightest if four persons abstained from voting. It could have been four out of ten or perhaps even one hundred! Not to mention that the article does not mention how the original article by The Hollywood Reporter it uses as source also mentions Academy members in other categories abstaining from voting.
As a result of this bias and lack of information, no one should take this article seriously except for the few actual quotes it presents (once again originally from The Hollywood Reporter). This is an article written with malicious intent.
Now, the very reason this article ended up in my view was because of my Twitter feed. Somehow it had spawned a discussion on anime, or to be more precise: how The Wind Rises by Hayao Miyazaki was nowhere to be seen. Some claimed the award members had simply not seen it, yet had voted for Frozen. Others believed they disliked anime. A few conspiracy theorists conspired over how Frozen would have won regardless. It was a chaos to behold.
Normally this sort of ruckus would naturally go away after a while. However, one day later the largest legal anime streaming website Crunchyroll wrote its own article on the matter, using the previously mentioned article “Definitive Proof That Academy Voters Are Ignorant About Animation” as a source. This led to the highly biased “Anime Shut Out at Oscars” written by Scott Green and published on March 3 2014.
In this very article we can find quotes such as:
“In fact, the safe bet won in both cases. Anime was shut out at this year’s Academy Awards.”
“Of course, Japanese animation might have fared better if the voters had actually seen it.”
These two statements only serve to add fuel to the fire of nonsense misinformation, especially the latter which has no sort of basis whatsoever. Nowhere, in any article, is it mentioned that the award members did not watch The Wind Rises.
It does not end there, however, because in Crunchyroll’s very next article “’Vividred Operation: Hyper Intimate Power’ Wins Kusoge Game of the Year” – also written by Scott Green – we have the following quote:
“Anime might have been shut down at the Oscars, but did receive some recognition last week. /…/”
In yet another article there is a mention of how anime was “shut out/down”, despite its contents being completely unrelated to The Oscars. Much like Amid Amidi on Cartoon Brew tried to make animation a victim, Scott Green here tries to make anime a victim. For the largest legal anime streaming website to publish such a biased article is nothing short of a travesty.
If you want to criticize The Oscars, you should always remember to keep your arguments and views grounded in reality. This is not such an instance.