It's funny how things turn out. Ever since Pixar released 'Toy Story' almost 20 years ago, they've been on a steady rise in the CGI world, whereas Disney, the monopolists of the animation industry for 50+ years, have struggled to adapt.
More accomplished films have surfaced recently, with 'Bolt' and 'Tangled' showing that the Mouse House had finally begun to get to grips with computer animation, yet still remained behind Pixar, and significantly so. However, the past 18 months have seen the balance of power shift. While Pixar's rep has remained strong and ever-expansive, they've perhaps not emulated the same string of successes as their perceived 'Golden Era' that saw 'Ratatouille', 'WALL-E', 'Up' and 'Toy Story 3' released over consecutive year from 2007-10. Since that, their quality has dipped a little with the awful 'Cars 2', followed by the entertaining 'Brave' and 'Monsters University'.
Don't get me wrong; 'Monsters University' is a great film. It's funny, sweet, beautifully animated and has a solid, if not overly imaginative story. To the same degree, 'Brave' looks stunning and is a pleasant experience, but lacks the spark of said 'Golden Era' titles -- notably, each of those went on to win a Best Animation Oscar. 'Cars 2', unsurprisingly, didn't, yet 'Brave', to my shock, did.
In contrast, Disney's CGI output has significantly upped its game. 'Tangled', 'Wreck-It Ralph' and 'Frozen', their recent movies, show a massive improvement from previous efforts. But was it right that Pixar got a snub for 'Monsters University' as 'Frozen' sails through as a frontrunner? It was a surprise, to say the least, with the only other snub coming in the shape of 'Cars 2', which, for me, was a shallow, unfunny movie lacking any substance or spark. 'Monsters University' isn't on par with this. If I were to place it in Pixar's rankings, then sure, it would fall short of the 'Toy Story' trilogy and a few other gems, but I believe it's superior to 'Brave' and much better than both 'Cars' films.
So why the omission? Critical and public reception was positive, as were the box office takings. It's interesting to look at the competition in the Animation Oscar group, too. 'Ernest and Celestine' is a special, heart-warming animation and 'Frozen' is a definite high point for Disney in recent years. But why were 'Despicable Me 2' and 'The Croods' favoured over it? The latter isn't a particularly engaging film, yet has been included in the shortlist. It baffles me how this is deemed worthy, but MU isn't. Pixar's movie is superior to that of DreamWorks', there's no doubt in my mind, so what gives?
Were the Academy simply trying to mix it up? Pixar feature regularly, so was it a case of allowing something else to win for a change? Surely not, as there should be no bias involved. Was it weighed up against the merit of their previous titles? I certainly hope not. It shouldn't matter that it's a sequel;
'Toy Story 3' was up for (overall) Best Picture in 2011 and breezed its way to the Animation gong.
Disappointing doesn't cover it, especially when you sit through the likes of
'The Croods'; I've no idea why it was left out in favour of this. 'Monsters University' is intelligent, witty and fun, whereas 'The Croods' isn't.
The snub is hard to take, not only as a member of the hard-working Pixar team, but as a fan, also. Hopefully the Oscars 2016 will see either 'The Good Dinosaur' or 'Inside Out' walk away with a win.
As a Pixar fan, are you disappointed that 'Monsters University' wasn't nominated for an Oscar?'