Like anything that’s little more than a machine for manufacturing trivia questions, the Academy Awards are fought over viciously and petty snubs are the name of the game. Look no further than The Dark Knight getting screwed in favor of The Reader in 2008. But even by the standards of pettiness set by the Academy, The Lego Movie getting snubbed is a low blow.
The nominees, in turn, are a little odd. How To Train Your Dragon 2 isn’t surprising, considering it was a worldwide smash and a critical success. It’ll probably win the category, Lego Movie or not. One of the nominees, Song of the Sea, doesn’t even have a US release date yet. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya really should technically be in the foreign film category, although it deserves an Oscar nod either way.
Probably the two most glaring entries, though, are Big Hero 6 and The Boxtrolls. Both are undeniably crowd-pleasers, and technically accomplished. And neither are bad movies, although I had my issues with Big Hero 6.
But neither were really the pop cultural bulldozer that The Lego Movie was, either, and it must be said that both lack a certain spark. The Lego Movie was actually a pretty complex and bitterwseet movie in the end, as much about how what we create reflects the world around us and why a little creative chaos is a good thing as it was about how everything is awesome.
So, what happened? Theories will abound, but there are a few credible points worth making:
It Was Forgotten: Rather tellingly, the three “mainstream” animated features all came out towards the end of the year, and The Lego Movie arrived almost a year ago, now. In an Oscar race, coming out early is a good way to get forgotten about. It also doesn’t appear Warner Bros. mounted much of a campaign for it to keep it in the minds of voters.
It’s from a relatively new company: The Lego Movie is the first production from the Warner Animation Group, and that tends to hold any movie back at the Oscars. Disney has legions of employees and former employees voting for their movies in this category, for example; they’ll have an entry whether they deserve it or not until the end of time.
Pettiness, as always, rules: Or it could simply be most of those voting on the nominations were annoyed that a movie based on a toy not only was worth watching, but was a massive critical and commercial success. I freely admit I was skeptical until I saw it.
Nothing, however, can detract from The Lego Movie being great, and besides, they decided to make their own award. Bring on the Duplo invasion!