Filmmaking duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller have penned an open letter to the Oscars, calling on the Academy to treat animation with more respect. This comes after backlash over how the Best Animated Feature award, won by Encanto, was presented at the 2022 ceremony.
When announcing the award, Lily James, Halle Bailey, and Naomi Scott made a joke about the nominees being children’s movies. The trio quipped how parents knew what they were talking about when they mentioned having to watch films like Encanto “over and over and over and over and over”.
Writing in Variety (opens in new tab), Lord and Miller – who recently produced the Oscar-nominated The Mitchells vs. The Machines – said the jibe was more than simply careless, as they criticized the decision to “frame the five Academy Award nominees for Best Animated Feature as a corporate product for kids that parents must begrudgingly endure.”
The duo, who won an Oscar for Best Animated Feature as producers of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse in 2019, called on the Academy to do better next year. They wrote: “In 2023 we can celebrate the 31st anniversary of the historic Best Picture nomination for Beauty and the Beast.”
“That nomination caused such a stir that some worried an animated movie might win Best Picture every year, a sentiment that, in part, led to the creation of the Best Animated Feature award, both to acknowledge the contributions of animation to the current cinema, and, for some, to keep animated films from winning the ‘real’ prize,” they continued. “At least we used to be taken seriously.”
Lord and Miller concluded: “Surely no one set out to diminish animated films, but it’s high time we set out to elevate them.” They also suggested a respected filmmaker should take over presenting duties at the 2023 awards. Their ideas of who included Guillermo del Toro for his respect for the medium or Bong Joon Ho after he named two animated films in his top 10 of the year for 2021.
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