Its official animation has overtaken Action as the UK’s favorite film genre for the first time EVER! Figures released by the British Film Institute reveal that animated films generated £247m in 2013 – a £100m increase on the previous year. Despite only 33 animated films being released last year, compared with 153 comedies, they still dominated representing more than 20% of the total UK box office. It seems animated films such as Frozen, Despicable Me and The Croods are attracting crowds of eager film goers through the cinema doors, with all three featuring in this years box office top ten. The success of animated films has been attributed to the fact that seven to 24 year olds represent the largest majority of cinema-goers, with 47% of cinema admission in 2013 coming from this demographic.

 

Chairman of Animation UK Oliver Hyatt, seemed positive about the future of the animated genre stating, “animated films are becoming more sophisticated and appealing to a broader audience. There is no longer the feeling that they are just for a young audience and adults don’t feel strange going to see them any more. I would say that within the film industry, animation has been playing catch-up for years but the medium is maturing quite fast and there’s more of these films, creating more competition, which has been good for driving up the quality of the genre.” He went on to express his excitement that there is now a “focus on making these family-oriented animated films in this country as well,” and hinted that “in the next couple of years there is some high-profile talent voicing UK animations. Hopefully, we won’t just be watching animation, we’ll be making these high-quality animated films ourselves.”

In total UK box office revenues exceeded £1bn for the third year in succession. Although the success of British films such as Fast and Furious 6, Les Misérables and Philomena meant UK films generated $4.1bn (£2.4bn) worldwide 11% of the global box office this was still a decrease from 2012 when Bond film Skyfall generated $5.3bn.

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Recent changes to airline rules mean the use of electronic devices during take-off, landing and taxiing is now permitted on some flights, as long as the device is in flight safe mode. Airbus’ recent announcement suggests that soon not only will you be able to use your phone off aeroplane mode and during take-off, landing and taxiing but for the duration of the flight.

 The A330Neo is the latest offering from Airbus in attempts to rival Boeing’s 787 Dreamliner, and acts as an upgrade for the twin-aisle, 250-300 seat A330. Boasting 25% lower capital costs than its Boeing rival it will have improved aerodynamics such as new wing tips and an increased wingspan. The new model will reduce fuel consumption by 14% thanks to the Rolls-Royce Trent 7000 engine and will boast an increased range of up to 400 nautical miles as well as room for up to 10 extra seats. 

The plane is expected to reach airlines in 2017, which is a relatively quick period of time from announcement to launch. Features planned for the plane include; a ‘fourth generation’ in-flight entertainment system which can show 3D films and ‘full connectivity’ – which promises wifi, HD video and mobile telephony all available while the plane is in the air. 

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 The only thing which remains unclear is exactly how much airlines are likely to charge us for these increased privileges, but we’re betting it wont be cheap!

 

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The ALS ice bucket challenge has taken social media by storm with numerous celebrities getting involved including David Beckham, Ronaldo, Iggy Azalea and Kate Upton. It seems that now even our animated friends are getting involved with the stars of Penguins of Madagascar and Homer Simpson taking part. The Ice Challenge involves the participant nominating their friends before being doused in Ice Cold Water and making a donation to ALS research.  According to the New York times, as of Monday the challenge has already helped raise 13 million for the ALS association.  Madagascar’s penguins were challenge by DreamWorks Animation Chief Jeffery Kratzenberg and issued their own challenges to illuminations Minions, Emmett from LB’s the LEGO movie and Sid from Ice Age!

Of course being penguins used to icy temperatures its safe to assume that Skipper and his crew will have an advantage over other participants!

Check out their video below: 

FOX’s Homer Simpson also took part nominating neighbour Flanders, drinking buddy Lenny and Donald Trump. Homer tries to take an easy route out of the challenge pouring only a small glass of ice water over himself, but in true Simpsons style the challenge is then stepped up a level by Homer’s mischievous son Bart. From a helicopter above Bart then drops some penguins, a polar bear, ice hockey players, a yeti and an ice cream truck on his unsuspecting father!

Check it out below: 

What is ALS?

Although the craze has raised huge amounts of money for the ALS foundation many people are still unsure of what it actually is. ALS stands for Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis it is a progressive neuro-degenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. Motor neurons reach from the brain to the spinal cord and from the spinal cord to the muscles throughout the body. The progressive degeneration of the motor neurons in ALS eventually lead to the patients death. It is estimated that ALS is responsible for nearly two deaths per hundred thousand population annually.

For more information or to donate to this worthy cause visit the ALS association web page here:

http://alsa.pub30.convio.net/

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Earlier this month we featured a blog which outlined the Creative Emmy Award nominee’s related to animation. The creative Emmy’s award ceremony took place on Saturday August 16th at the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. The creative awards are dedicated to the behind the scenes team who work tirelessly to ensure the successful production of our favourite television shows. Often overlooked by those who watch the programmes this night celebrates the tiresome work of the people behind the scenes. So lets refresh our memories of the categories related to animation and find out the all important details of who won!

Outstanding Animated Program

  • Archer
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Futurama
  • South Park
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project

And the winner is: BOB’S BURGERS – The FOX show beat off tough competition to win for the episode “Mazel Tina,” written by Holly Schlesinger and directed by Brian LoSchiavo.

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 Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program

  • Adventure Time
  • Disney’s Mickey Mouse
  • Disney’s Phineas and Ferb
  • Regular Show
  • Robot Chicken

And the winner is: MICKEY MOUSEEveryone’s favourite mouse took the award for the episode “‘O Sole Minnie.”

 

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

  • Chris Diamantapolous as Mickey Mouse. ‘Disneys Mickey Mouse’
  • Stephen Full as Stan. ‘Dog with a Blog’
  • Seth MacFarlane as Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Glenn Quagmire. ‘Family Guy’
  • Maurice LaMarche as Calculon and Morbo. ‘Futurama’
  • Seth Green as various characters, ‘Robot Chicken’
  • Harry Shearer as Kent Broc, Mr Burns & Smithers ‘The Simpsons’

And the winner is: HARRY SHEARER ‘THE SIMPSONS‘ – Bagging his first ever Emmy Harry finally got rewarded for his extraordinary talent voicing four different characters on the episode ‘Four Regretting’s and a funeral.” Shearer provided the voice for news anchor Kent Brockman, Young and old versions of the evil billionaire Mr Burns and his ever present servant Smithers. 

Outstanding Special And Visual Effects

  • Almost Human: “Pilot” • FOX
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey: The Immortals” • FOX/NatGeo
  • Game Of Thrones: “The Children” • HBO
  • The 100: “We Are Grounders, Part 2• CW
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: “T.A.H.I.T.I.” • ABC

And the winner is: GAME OF THRONES the hugely successful tv programme based on George RR Martin’s a song of Ice and Fire book series scooped the award for outstanding special and visual effects on their episode, ‘The Children.’

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Outstanding Special And Visual Effects In A Supporting Role

  • Black Sails: “I.” • Starz
  • Da Vinci’s Demons: “The Sins of Daedalus” • Starz
  • Hawaii Five-0: “Ho’onani Makuakane” • CBS
  • Mob City: “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” • TNT
  • Vikings: “Invasion” • HISTORY
  • The Walking Dead: “30 Days Without An Accident” • AMC

And the winner is: BLACK SAILS - The Starz original series sailed away with the award for outstanding special and visual effects in a supporting role.

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 The Award ceremony will air on Sunday the 24th August at 8pm. Congratulations to all this years winners!! 

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This week saw ‘How to Train your Dragon 2” gross a staggering $500million at the global box office, cementing itself as the most successful animated venture of 2014 so far. The sequel to the widely popular, ‘How to Train your Dragon’ surpassed Rio 2′s $494.1 million takings and it is still showing in cinemas, having only opened in Italy this weekend. With the animated genre becoming ever more popular and successful we’ve decided to take a look back at the most successful animated films of all time.

10.

Shrek Forever After (2010) $752.600,867

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This fourth instalment in the ever popular Shrek franchise sees Shrek come up against Rumplestilskin who tricks him into erasing himself from existence. Despite receiving mixed reviews from critics, the film remained number one in the US and Canada for three consecutive weeks, and with its staggering global takings of over 750 million places itself firmly as number 10 on our list

9.

Shrek the Third (2007) $798,958,162

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At number nine we once again find our favourite green ogre and friends. When his father in law suddenly dies, Shrek is faced with the daunting task of ruling far far away. Horrified at the thought of having to be king Shrek goes of in search of another heir. Similar to ‘Shrek Forever After’ the film received mixed reviews from critics but went on to gross over 790 million dollars making it a commercial success.

8.

Ice Age; Continental Drift (2012) $877,244,782

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The fourth instalment in the Ice Age franchise, Ice Age; Continental Drift was the highest grossing film of 2012. The film received mixed reviews as some critics felt it simply recycled plot lines from the previous films. Many people seemed to disagree as the film was still able to gross over 850 million and place itself as the 8th most popular animated film of all time.

7.

Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009) $886,686,817

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Continuing the trend of dominating sequels, taking the number 7 spot is the third Ice Age film , ‘Dawn of the Dinosaurs.’ Sid is kidnapped by a tyrannosaurs rex, Ellie and Manny are expecting their first child and Dieago fears he is losing his predatory tiger nature. Similar to the other sequel films it was given mixed reviews by critics but it appears that cinema-goers remain loyal to their favourite franchises and this is enough to get them buying tickets, judging by the global takings for this film.

6.

Shrek 2 (2004) $919,838,758

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Shrek dominates the top 10 with yet another sequel from the franchise appearing. Shrek 2 was the highest grossing film of 2004 and received positive reviews from critics. Follow up to the original ‘Shrek’ in 2001 it is Dreamworks most successful film to date.

5.

Finding Nemo (2003) $936,743, 261

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At the halfway point of our list we find the academy award winning, ‘Finding Nemo’. When over-protective clownfish Marlin’s young son Nemo is kidnapped he must embark on a journey throughout the ocean to rescue him. His journey takes him all the way to Sydney and he makes a new friend along the way, a forgetful and ever chatty Regal Tang named Dory. Finding Nemo was the most popular selling DVD of all time with over 40 million copies sold worldwide. A spin-off film named ‘Finding Dory’ is set to be released in 2015 and based on the runaway success of Finding Nemo expectations will be high.

4.

Despicable Me 2 (2013) $970,761,885

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The follow up to the widely successful ‘Despicable Me’ about an evil villain named Gru, Dispicabele Me 2 the sees the return of Gru, his girls and his trusted minions. In an interesting twist on the first film Gru find himself trying to save rather than destroy the world after being recruited by the anti-villain league.

3.

The Lion King (1994) $987,483,777

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The oldest film included on the list and the highest grossing hand-drawn animation of all time, ‘The Lion King’ claims the number three spot. A defining feature in many of our childhoods the classic tale also gained academy awards for achievement in music. It temporarily dropped down the list but after its 3D re-release it proved it is still a firm family favourite being surpassed only by Toy Story 3 and Frozen.

2.

Toy Story 3 (2010) $1,063,171,91

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Released 15 years after the original Toy Story 3 was highly anticipated by a generation and won awards for Best Original Song and Best Animated Feature. The plot focuses on the toys and their uncertain fate as the now 17 year old Andy prepares to leave for university. Toy Story 3 held the record for most successful animated release until 2013 when it was overtaken by Disney’s musical offering Frozen.

1.

Frozen (2013) $1,274,219,009 

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This multi award winning offering from Disney broke all kinds of records to take the number one spot as the most successful animated film of all time. The original story turns the traditional Disney archetype on its head, with the female leads empowering themselves and no longer relying on the ‘male hero’ to rescue them. With catchy songs and loveable characters Frozen dominated the award ceremonies winning the Golden Globe for, ‘Best Animated Feature Film’, two Academy Awards for ‘Best Animated Feature and ‘Best Original Song’ for ‘Let it Go,’ the BAFTA award for ‘Best Animated Film,’ five Annie Awards including Best Animated feature and two Critics Choice Awards for ‘Best Animated feature’ and ‘Best Original Song.’

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After the tragic passing of comedy actor Robin Williams on Monday night we decided that it would only be fitting to post a tribute to such a talented actor who holds a particular significance within the animated genre. Not only a successful figure in comedy and acting, Williams infectious portrayal of the Genie in the lamp revolutionised the way we hear animated voice overs today.

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When many of us hear the name Robin William’s are minds are flooded with images of his various famous character roles such as Mrs Doubt fire, Patch Adams and indeed the genie from Disney’s animated move Aladdin.

 In his portrayal of the mischievous blue genie Williams diverged from the typical script dictated voice over style, unknowingly changing voice acting forever. Ad- libbing and improvising on what was written, he breathed new life into not only the genie but the art of voice animation. Thanks to his natural comedic timing and instinctive flair actors are now free to bring their own skill and interpretation to their roles enabling them to better bring their characters to life.

Although Robin was not the first famous face to lend his voice to animation, ‘Aladdin’ is widely regarded as the first film to base its marketing on the strength of having a famous actor voicing a character. Since William’s epic portrayal of the genie (where he mimicked the voices of Arnold Schwarzenegger, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro among others), celebrity A-listers have flocked towards the animated genre with big names such as Angelina Jolie, Eddie Murphy and Tom Hanks all giving their voices to animated characters.

 Williams reportedly accepted the film role on the condition that his voice was used only in the film and not for public promotion. He agreed to work for actors scale (minimum wage) mainly so that his children could see him in a Disney film. Disney inadvertently broke this contract causing a feud between the company and Williams with Disney apparently presenting Robin with a one million dollar Picas so by way of an apology.

 Disney released a heartfelt tribute to the actor with CEO and Chairman Robert Iger stating, ‘we’re deeply saddened by the loss of Robin Williams, a wonderfully gifted man who touched our hearts and never failed to make us laugh. An incredible actor and a comedic genius, Robin will always be remembered for bringing some of the world’s favourite characters to life…He was a true Disney Legend, a beloved member of our family, and he will be sorely missed. We join Robin’s friends and fans everywhere in mourning, and offer our thoughts and condolences to his family during this difficult time.’

The statement was released alongside the touching graphic (pictured below) created by Eric Goldberg who worked with Robin as the supervising animator on ‘Aladdin’.

Disney/Eric Goldberg

Williams love of voice acting did not end with Aladdin and he went on to voice parts in both ‘Happy feet’ and ‘Robots.’ A hugely talented actor who spread joy and laughter to thousands of people across the world, he will be missed by many and his contribution to the animated genre will not be forgotten. Our condolences are with his family and friends at this sad time.

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 The time has come again for the annual Emmy Awards! The 2014 Awards will be presented in a Creative Arts set on August 16th at the Nokia Theatre at L.A. Live. While the Primetime Emmys will be presented Aug. 25 also at the Nokia Theatre. Surprisingly, The Simpsons’ have not been nominated for ‘Outstanding Animated Program’ for the first time since 1994.

The Animated and Visual Effects related Nominees are as follows

Outstanding Animated Program :

  • Archer
  • Bob’s Burgers
  • Futurama
  • South Park
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: The Manhattan Project

Outstanding Short-Format Animated Program

  • Adventure Time
  • Disney’s Mickey Mouse
  • Disney’s Phineas and Ferb
  • Regular Show
  • Robot Chicken

Outstanding Character Voice-Over Performance

  • Chris Diamantapolous as Mickey Mouse. ‘Disneys Mickey Mouse’
  • Stephen Full as Stan. ‘Dog with a Blog’
  • Seth MacFarlane as Peter Griffin, Stewie Griffin, Glenn Quagmire. ‘Family Guy’
  • Maurice LaMarche as Calculon and Morbo. ‘Futurama’
  • Seth Green as various characters, ‘Robot Chicken’
  • Harry Shearer as Kent Broc, ‘The Simpsons’

Outstanding Special And Visual Effects

  • Almost Human: “Pilot” • FOX
  • COSMOS: A SpaceTime Odyssey: The Immortals” • FOX/NatGeo
  • Game Of Thrones: “The Children” • HBO
  • The 100: “We Are Grounders, Part 2• CW
  • Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D: “T.A.H.I.T.I.” • ABC

 

Outstanding Special And Visual Effects In A Supporting Role

  • Black Sails: “I.” • Starz
  • Da Vinci’s Demons: “The Sins of Daedalus” • Starz
  • Hawaii Five-0: “Ho’onani Makuakane” • CBS
  • Mob City: “A Guy Walks Into a Bar” • TNT
  • Vikings: “Invasion” • HISTORY
  • The Walking Dead: “30 Days Without An Accident” • AMC


Congratulations to all Nominee’s! It looks like ‘Robot Chicken’ and ‘Futurama’ are this years top nominees in the animated sector scoring themselves two nominations each. Who do you think will win in each category? Make your predictions and we will post an update when winners are announced.

 

 

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  2015 – The year of the sequels?         

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2015 will see the release of MARVEL’s latest offering “ The Avengers: Age of Ultorn”.The release date for this highly anticipated movie is May the 1st 2015. Next to the usual favourites the film features two new superheroes Quicksilver who is played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Scarlet Witch who is played by Elisabeth Olson. At this years Comic Con director Joss Whedon mentioned that the main villain Ultron is “already in the house”. In other words, we have already met him as part of the Marvel Universe that exists so far! Expectations are high for the sequel as the first avengers film remains the third highest grossing movie of all time.

 

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The Hunger Games returns to our screens with the final instalment set to be released at the end of November 2015. “The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2” will send Katniss on a psychological roller coaster and bring the franchise to a dramatic close. So far all of the movies, which are based on the book series by Suzanne Collins, have been huge hits so we have high expectations for the final one.

 

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2015 indeed seems to be the year of the sequels as 2012 musical comedy Pitch Perfect brings out its second instalment entitled “Pitch Perfect 2”. No specific release date has been given yet, but we have been told that it is heading into the cinemas in 2015. So far all we know about the movie is that part of it will shoot in London and Kay Cannon, who wrote the original is back writing the script. If you liked the first movie or are a musical movie fan in general this is one to watch for you. 

 

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Of course, no year would be complete without a catchup with the ultimate super spy ”Bond, James Bond.” “Bond 24” is set to be released into cinemas in 2015. After making some space in his schedule, Sam Mendes returns as director, which means the creative expectations for Bond 24 will be high. With sports illustrated model Kate Upton and stunning actress Penelope Cruz rumoured to be possible choices for the prestigious ‘bond girl’ role, this is one movie we will definitely be looking out for!

 

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Yet ANOTHER sequel which reaches our screens in December 2015 is “Avatar 2”. Six years after the original Avatar, it has been decided that the world needs a second instalment of the 2009 global phenomenon. With the first film being so successful the pressure is on for Avatar 2 to achieve similar success. If you enjoyed the first movie then this is definitely one for you to watch out for!

However, if none of these series’ sequels are of interest to you,  don’t worry there’s lots of new movies too!

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On the 19th of June 2015 Pixar are set bring out their new movie “Pixar’s ‘Inside Out’” which has been tipped to be one of the best animated films of 2015. Inside Out is an adventure in the mind of a 12 year old girl struggling with the typical teenage problems. The movie is set inside the young girls head and the characters represent her emotions. Sounds promising! We’re definitely placing this on our “Ones To Watch” list.

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Charlie Brown, Linus, Lucy and Snoopy are back. The last time they were on our screens was in 1980. “Peanuts” will be released on the 25th of November 2015, and to everyone’s surprise the movie will be in 3D. The plot is so far unknown but we’re expecting great things, because well, they are the Peanuts.

 

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Most of us are familiar with the Disney classic “Cinderella” well, exciting news Disney fans a new version is heading straight for our screens on the 13th of March 2015. But if you’re picturing an updated animation of the popular story you’d be wrong! This will be a live-action take on the classic story starring Lily James. After updated versions of “Alice in Wonderland”, “Snow White” and “Hansel and Gretel: Witch Hunters” it will be interesting to see a new take on this classic tale.

 

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Speaking of updated versions of classics Star Wars finds its way back on the big screen with “Star Wars Episode VII” set to be released in late 2015 . If done right Disney will be presented with a chance to re-release one of the biggest series of all time. However, Star Wars has a huge and devoted fan base, and there is no doubt that they will accept nothing but excellence. No pressure then!

 

 

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Love Disney Movies? Need a way to keep your kids entertained on a long drive? Then look no further than Disney app, ‘Disney Movies Anywhere.’ Thanks to this recent offering from Disney you can now stream and download Disney movies any time and anywhere!

Downloading the app entitles users to:

Access exclusive Disney content for free including never-before-seen videos, original programming, and much more…
•Build your digital movie collection with a library of
hundreds of videos to choose from… with lots more to be added soon!
•Redeem your Disney digital copies or add new movies
directly through the app.
•Watch movies while connected to the internet or 
download movies to store on your device for viewing when offline.
•Earn Disney Movie
Rewards points for every digital transaction.

The app launched in early 2014 starting with the popular Disney Pixar movie Cars. Each week you can jump into another adventure with your favourite Disney characters. Dive into the ocean with “Finding Nemo,” whiz through outer space with Wall E or help The Incredible’s to save the world.  This app is perfect during summer for young children on vacation and travelling distances for holidays. In addition, when you download Disney Movies Anywhere and link it to your iTunes account, you’ll get the Disney Pixar film ‘The Incredible’s’ for free! So, what are you waiting for? Download the app today.

https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/disney-movies-anywhere-watch/id766894692?mt=8

 

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The annual Academy Awards are never without controversy. This year, the Oscars will be taking place on March 2nd, and will be hosted by Ellen Degeneres. In light of the recent 2014 Oscar nominations being released to the public, the wide debate over which films qualify for the “Best Animated Feature” category has been more heated than ever.  The constant furthering of the visual possibilities through various forms of animation is making it more and more difficult to distinguish where the cinematographic work ends, and the visual effects begin. With films such as Gravity receiving nominations for its cinematography, despite being heavily animated, questions are raised once again about the limitations of these categories.

Gravity is a science-fiction/techno-thriller, and was one of the most hotly anticipated films of 2013. Largely backed to do well at the 86th Academy Awards, they picked up 10 nominations – including “Best Cinematography”. Director Alfonso Cuaron has stated estimation himself that roughly 80% of Gravity was hand animated through CG animation. Scenes in the film which take place in space only feature faces in terms of live action photography, the scenery, bodies, and even the shields in front of their faces are computer animated. Bill Kroyer, the director of digital arts at Chapman University, explained that “The action of Sandra [Bullock’s} body is key frame animation [meaning that it was animated by hand], that qualifies Gravity as an animated film”. So why did it not qualify for the animation category? In recent years, films such as Life of Pi and Avatar also sparked disagreement by receiving nominations and awards in categories not designed for animation films, despite each of these containing more than 75 minutes of animation throughout, the main original regulation for films to qualify for the Animation category. Nowadays, the distinction between animated films and cinematographic pictures is often how “realistic” the characters have been made, regardless of how imaginary the surrounding environment, or whether the characters are more “cartoonish”.

This blurring of lines seems to be prompting the idea of opening a new award category for “Visual Imaging” by the annual Visual Effects Society Summit which took place a few weeks back. This category would see feature films such as the aforementioned titles be commended for their animation in terms of realism. However this appears to still be early talk in terms of category becoming established, and if plans do go ahead, it is likely that this category may be regarded alongside the other non-celebrity driven awards with shortened acceptance speeches and time slots squeezed in between commercials.

Click here to keep up to date with all the upcoming Academy Awards news!

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