While most people watching the Academy Awards were waiting for bigger categories like best picture, my eyes were on the smaller category of best animated feature. I love animation, and let me just say, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was a fantastic choice. I'm sad Stan Lee wasn't alive to see his creation win. But of course, the funny thing about this year like most others years Disney won... even though it lost.
More on Disney in a second, but first, Spider-Man was a technical Marvel (ha). But seriously, this is the closest anyone has come to putting a moving comic book on the big screen. Sony really outdid itself with the look, the action, the music and perfectly blended product they produced.
And if it's not enough this film looks amazing, it has the soul of a winner too. The story capturing so many different Spider Men (and women) from across different dimensions and putting them on the same team together trying to get home made me forget we'd already had three different people take up the Spider-Man mantle since 2002.
Actors like Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld and more made me laugh, cry, and root for them with every web slung. They all brought their A-game to the microphone, and it showed. My personal favorite inclusion came from none other than Nicolas Cage (yes, I'm serious). He played a black-and-white detective noir Spider-Man from the 1930s.
So don't misunderstand me. Whatever you read below this paragraph, I loved this movie, and it absolutely deserved to win. The art, the story, the laughter, tears and inspiration it brought to my soul, this flawless piece of art was without a doubt top animated movie last year.
But ... for Spider-Man to win, my other favored animated hit Isle of Dogs had to lose. And that has me tore right up. Isle of Dogs should have won in any other year, any year there wasn't a masterpiece like Spider-Man.
This movie was directed by Wes Anderson, who also directed Fantastic Mr. Fox, another animated hit I love. Want to know what else they have in common? They're done in stop-motion animation (think the old Rudolph cartoon you watch every Christmas). This is such an old and beautiful art form I fall in love with every time.
Any studio that has the guts to invest millions of dollars in a stop motion animation movie deserves an award because it's just so challenging, taking millions of photographs of models, moving them slightly every time. I have such respect for this work, and I hate that Isle of Dogs had to lose.
The story was unique. All dogs in a city get sick with an unknown disease, so humans round them up and dump them on an isle of garbage. One boy goes looking for his old dog. It featured voices of Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton and more. There was just so much purity in this boy's journey to find his dog. The movie is a gem and deserves all the accolades it can muster. But it came out in a year Spider-Man did. Talk about a tragic release slot.
And sadly I've seen amazing stop motion films go up against Disney and lose before. I'm still angry Kubo and the Two Strings, made by an underdog animation studio in Portland (Laika), lost to Zootopia for best animated feature film at the 2016 Oscars. I like Zootopia, but it was a by-the-numbers talking animal comedy clearly outmatched by Kubo's craft and story.
For those of you saying "But Spider-Man" was animated by Sony Pictures Animation," I'll give you that. But who owns the character of Spider-Man? Marvel. And who bought Marvel in 2009? Disney. Disney has a piece of this Oscar, even after its other films Incredibles 2 and Ralph Breaks the Internet lost out. So see? Even when Disney loses, it still wins.
I love Disney. They licensed most of my childhood, and nobody was more excited for the Frozen 2 trailer than me. But I also like competition. Who aside from DreamWorks can compete with Disney in terms of animation? And now that How to Train Your Dragon 3 is over (go see it), what do they have left in the arsenal?
So you can see why I'm happy when we import animation from Korea, Japan or anywhere else to compete with Disney. I like variety. That's why I put Mary and the Witch's Flower on my list of best films of 2018. Competition drives Disney to be better, so we get less Cars 2 and Hercules and more Moana and Coco.
Congratulations to the crew of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. You deserved this win. But I hope we continue to see more stop-motion animation and competition for Disney in the future. Just so long as it doesn't involve Minions ... ugh.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse will be released on home video March 19.
MovieStyle on 03/01/2019
Print Headline: Spider-Man gets the Oscar, Disney wins