Earlier on Thursday, the wonderful Anomalisa — written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Kaufman and Duke Johnson – was nominated for a Golden Globe on the Best Animated Feature Film category. (You can read much more about Anomalisa here.) Today, we spoke to Kaufman and Johnson about their nomination, who explain why this nomination is important for animated films that aren’t targeted to children. (We also spoke to Kaufman and Johnson a few weeks ago for a much more in-depth look at the film, you can read that here.)
Well, first, congratulations on the nomination.
Charlie Kaufman: [Laughs.] Thank you.
On a day like this, do you think back on how hard it was to get Anomalisa made? And now knowing that people do appreciate it.
Kaufman: We think back to that a lot. It’s kind of great and crazy. And we did do this movie so much under the radar for so long that we had no idea how it was going to be received. [Laughs.] Or if it was going to be received.
And it’s all above the radar now.
Kaufman: Yeah, it’s definitely above the radar now, and I think we’re thrilled about it.
Duke Johnson: It’s exciting for a small film like ours, that was made completely independently, to be next to these major studio films is kind of exciting for film, you know?
In this category, you’re up against something like The Peanuts Movie, which got really good reviews, but these are very different movies. “Best Animated” can cover a lot of ground.
Kaufman: Yeah, mostly – and certainly in this country – animated features are for kids. So, I think that’s the way it’s perceived. And we believe that animation is not a genre at all. It’s a form, it’s a medium – and you can do whatever you want in them and we would love to give other people that notion, too. And hopefully have more opportunity for diversity in the form. It’s a very exciting form, and I feel like it’s underrepresented in the type of movies that are made.
Do you think Anomalisa being nominated can help push that message out there?
Kaufman: I think we do. We talk about that and think about that a lot. And we talk to a lot of animators, when we do screenings, who come to us afterwards and talk about how happy they are: They’ve been looking for something like this to happen, to allow them to do other types of work rather than just kids movies. And the opportunity isn’t there. And they are hoping and we are hoping that other people get to make different kinds of movies with this form.
Johnson: That’s how we got the film made, actually. We couldn’t really afford to pay the craftsman and the animators their typical rates, but they were just so thrilled at the opportunity to work on something different — and with this kind of story, they were willing to work for a reduced rate.
Mike Ryan lives in New York City and has written for The Huffington Post, Wired, Vanity Fair and New York magazine. He is senior entertainment writer at Uproxx. You can contact him directly on Twitter.