Why Oscar did not accept Linklater’s “Apollo 10 and a half” as an animation?

The film "Apollo 10 : A Space Age Childhood" by Richard Linklater, an American filmmaker, the landing event Bermah depicts the passage of memories of a boy in 1969 who was present in this space travel in his imagination. Along with this teenage boy with a creative mind, we see the significance of this event in the context of his family and what is happening around him. The show earned a good release and was released on the Netflix platform a month later. To narrate this important and memorable trip for Americans and naturally the world, Linklater used a combination of different styles of 2D animation, and for this he hired almost two hundred animators in Austin and Amsterdam for almost two years.

BingMag.com Why Oscar did not accept Linklater’s “Apollo 10 and a half” as an animation?

The film "Apollo 10 : A Space Age Childhood" by Richard Linklater, an American filmmaker, the landing event Bermah depicts the passage of memories of a boy in 1969 who was present in this space travel in his imagination. Along with this teenage boy with a creative mind, we see the significance of this event in the context of his family and what is happening around him. The show earned a good release and was released on the Netflix platform a month later. To narrate this important and memorable trip for Americans and naturally the world, Linklater used a combination of different styles of 2D animation, and for this he hired almost two hundred animators in Austin and Amsterdam for almost two years.

However, in early July, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Animation Committee rejected the Netflix project's Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature Film. In a letter shared with IndieWire, the committee explained its reasoning for the decision, saying that the Academy "believes that the techniques used in this work do not meet the definition of animation in this section's rules" and that it "uses Abundance" is from live action images (raw film); That is, images with real people, the actors themselves, filmed and then turned into animation.

While in reality, although the animation team used live action images as a source, none of these images were used in the film. Is. Linklater and Netflix asked the Academy to reconsider its decision on September 12, and despite repeated follow-ups, no date has been set for a hearing. The Academy declined to comment, but the division's executive board is expected to evaluate the film's eligibility this fall. There are arguments against rotoscoping technology, which has only been applied to less than twenty percent of films. The animators used TV Paint 2D software to capture the live-action image of the actors, but changed all other details, including the surroundings, lighting, colors and other movements.

Pallotta said in a virtual interview from his office in Los Angeles says, "The only rotoscoping of this film is the outline of the characters. This. Everything but this has been animated." Pallotta was also the producer of the film and the supervisor of the entire animation production process; He said he was upset by the academy's decision. I'm stuck where someone says something isn't real, but I know it is. I've been doing rotoscoping animation for twenty-five years, and I'm tired of people saying it's not animation. It's a really big insult.

Linklater said in a phone call from New Orleans, where he is currently filming his next work, that the disqualification of "Apollo 10.5" has broader consequences for the industry. "This decision blocks the flow of creativity for a certain type of animated film," he said. After this, will anyone even allow us to start such a project if it is not going to be nominated for an award?" He also pointed to the flocks that others than him have had in the animation industry in recent years. The industry values commercials suitable for families more than films made for adult audiences. "The animation industry is focused on entertaining children," Linklater said. I feel like they're telling us in a way, you indie freaks, go home, you don't belong here.

In Linklater's letter to the Academy, reviewed by IndieWire, Linklater explains how the frame-by-frame restoration The live-action images he used in "Apollo 10 and a Half" were done exactly the same way as the two animations that were recently accepted into the Academy; Last year's "The Spine of Night" and "Loving Vincent" from 2017, which was nominated for an Oscar. In this letter, Linklater wrote: "The realistic style is not a technical choice, but an artistic choice, and an important one in terms of how I want my film to look and feel." Achieving this goal is the result of the hard work of animators in drawing frame by frame the movement of characters and games, not simply the result of some secret software or an automated process. Animation, which the medium of cinema has been using for decades, may be superior to other techniques. Linklater wrote: "We strongly disagree with the outdated and discriminatory thinking that when technical advances in expensive 3D computerized films take over the industry, some traditional animation techniques will no longer have their former purity and credibility, even though the technical expectations required "

Manuals for making animated feature films have been revised many times, and after the movie "Avatar" by James Cameron, a series of new clauses related to motion capture technology have been added to it. Is. However, the rotoscoping technique was still challenging even before this development. "wp-caption-text">The film "A Scanner Darkly" by Richard Linklater

Linklater's other animated films are "A Scanner Darkly" (2006) and "Waking Life". The product of 2001 was made in a period when the way of looking at animations during the season of film festivals was changing. The Academy introduced the Best Animated Feature Film category at the 2002 ceremony, a year when Linklater's fully rotoscoped "Waking Life" was seeking attention. This year's finalists were Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Monsters, Inc., and Shrek, of which Shrek took home the award. took home "The message was clear," says Linklater. This section only focuses on things that are made for children."

He points out that the following year, Hayao Miyazaki's "Spirited Away" was nominated in this category, because the number of nominations It had increased from three to five. "There was a strange rift," he added. But it's clear that the big companies are turning that around."

"Apollo 10 and a Half" was created by animators from Austin's Minnow Mountain and Amsterdam-based Submarine, who did rotoscoping. The film, made with a budget of less than twenty million dollars, does not have the super-advanced technical facilities of other animated competitors this year, such as Pixar's "Turning Red", which is said to have had a budget of over $175 million; Or Disney's acclaimed Encanto, which had a budget of between $120 and $150 million. "Ultimately, rotoscope animation is much more hand-involved than most computer animation," says Linklater. The use of live action as a source is only one of its elements.

Besides, Apollo 10 and a half is not the only newly made animated feature film that has a direct relationship with live action images; "Marcel the Shell With Shoes On" by A24 uses stop motion technique in live action environments. However, it is not yet clear whether it will make it to the list of nominees this year or not.

The Academy's official rules for nominations in the animated feature film category state that "the movement and acting of the characters must be made using the frame-by-frame technique." Simultaneous motion capture and puppetry are "automatically" removed, and "animation must be seen at least seventy-five percent of the total movie time." On the other hand, in the films that are nominated for the Emmys, sixty-five percent of their time must be devoted to animation. It has been said that "a large number of main characters should be animated in an animated feature film." The Academy also says that any style of animation that "may be confused with live action" must be accompanied by supporting documentation proving that the film is animation and not live action.

BingMag.com Why Oscar did not accept Linklater’s “Apollo 10 and a half” as an animation?

Boyhood

Linklater said they had. "Most of the problem is due to their own irrational prejudices and suspicions about rotoscoping," he says. Pallotta felt that the couple's background in rotoscoping was also involved in this decision. "We somehow feel like we're being penalized because we're good at it and proud of it," he says. They wrote a separate letter to the Academy about Linklater's film. They chose Winsor McKay's 1921 animated film "The Centaur" as an example and wrote: "Hand rotoscoping animation is definitely frame-by-frame animation and uses the same rules as traditional animation from the beginning. Hand-drawn animation derived from live-action images has always been a part of the cinematic history of animation, as well as films and animation technology favored by the Oscars. The source of the animation was many short animations that used the rotoscoping technique and were accepted in the academy. This includes all movies; From the Oscar-winning short animation "Logorama" in 2009 to the short film "Tom Waits for No One" in 1979, which was awarded for its scientific and technical achievements before the feature animation department was launched. It was an Oscar award. In addition, "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs" (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) produced by Walt Disney in 1937 used the rotoscoping technique to create many cartoon characters. "Back," Linklater said The whole thing is hypocrisy.

Linklater isn't the first to talk about the existing bias, that the Academy prefers mainstream, family-friendly animation. Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the producers of "The Mitchells vs. the Machines" (The Mitchells vs. the Machines), in a public letter they wrote to the industry after the Oscars broadcast last year, included this criticism of the program, which, according to the Oscars, is the best part. Animated film is a field that is aimed exclusively at children.

Haley Bailey, the actress of the live-action version of "The Little Mermaid", which is soon to be released, says: "Animations form part of our most important cinematic experiences as children." Naomi Scott, who plays Jasmine in the live-action version of Aladdin, added: "A lot of kids watch these movies over and over again... I think some parents know exactly what we're talking about." In their open letter, Lord and Miller called on the Academy to have a "credentialed filmmaker" announce the results of the category. They wrote, "Certainly no one is trying to undervalue animated films, but it's about time we stepped it up." His complex reading of the memories and specific conditions of the space race in the late 1960s has made it tangible for adult audiences as well. He notes that his experience studying children's memoirs for the film Boyhood inspired the project, saying, This film is not just for children. Our audience includes all classes; This film, like all my other works, is a personal work."

In the next few weeks, the distributor of "Apollo 10 and a half" or Netflix, "Pinocchio" by Guillermo del Toro ahead of time. It will premiere at the London Film Festival, and his stop-motion reimagining of the classic fairy tale is said to have a darker, more grown-up feel than Disney's animated version. "Animation is not a genre," del Toro said at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival this summer. Animation is a movie." With "Apollo 10 and a half", Linklater showed well and skillfully what it means to think about a child from the perspective of an adult. Jack Black, who is supposed to be the adult voice of the main teenage character of the film, narrates the story of the film, and expands and describes the historical background of that moment in a wide way; In the middle of the Vietnam War, even though it is the moon landing that surprises the young boy of the story. "Live-action was a stupid format for this movie," says Linklater. This style is closer to the fantasy realm of the mind.

Pallotta says that it was more important for him to see the film as a worthy competitor than to wish for the film to be nominated. "This is a threat to my professional life," he said. If the fate of future projects is going to be ambiguous and dependent on the tastes of a few people we don't know, how can I go to a studio or investors and say hey, this is an animation, and then have to go back and say no, it's not an animation? ? I just want clarity.

Linklater took issue with the committee's ambiguous nature. "If it were up to me, I would really question its existence," he said. Each branch has its own guidelines, but those guidelines are technical To look at a movie and say it's not animation, that doesn't make sense at all. There is no other way.

Most importantly, Linklater believes that the committee's power to discern aesthetic distinctions about the animation form beyond the specifics of its formal rules is a systemic problem. "Here's the problem," he said. This thinking that one way is better than other ways. Technology and creativity should be free. This process is so far ahead of their thinking that they become very conservative and hopelessly simplistic and say it is anti-art.

A few hours later, he sent his final thoughts in the form of a message. : "I am opposed to anything that suppresses art and freedom of expression."

You can read the full text of Linklater's letter to the Academy here.

Dear SFFA committee members and respected officials,

I am writing to appeal the Academy's decision to disqualify our film Apollo 10 and a Half: A Child in the Space Age from the Animated Feature Film category.

In response to the Academy's conclusion that due to the "excessive use" of live-action images, "the techniques of this film do not seem to be consistent with the definition of animation in the rules of this section", we must say that this claim is in conflict with the Academy's previous orientations. Because recently, two special films "Spine of the Night" and "Vincent with Love" were confirmed.

The method used by these two films to make animation is almost similar to "Apollo 10 and a half" and It shows frame-by-frame reconstruction from live action instructions, not motion capture; And hundreds of animators have worked for more than twenty months (during the Corona quarantine) and applied their handiwork to make it. The difference between "Apollo 10 and a Half" and these accepted films is its style. this The realistic style is not a technical choice, but an artistic choice in the vital context of how I want the film to look and feel. Achieving this goal is due to the hard work of animators in drawing frame by frame the movement of characters and games, and is not simply the result of working with a secret software or automated process. Not mentioned, but caricature, exaggeration, and creative design also played a role in the film's disqualification: "The acting of the characters in this film does not seem to be caricatured, exaggerated, or creatively designed to distinguish it greatly from the original pictures." This is a personal judgment of an artistic choice, and the committee should avoid it when deciding the eligibility of films. These unwritten criteria make it impossible to predict whether a film will be accepted or not, and it was not applied in this way to the two films mentioned. As technical advances in high-budget 3D CGI movies take over the industry, some traditional animation techniques no longer have the purity and credibility they once did, even if they meet the technical expectations.

We want the opportunity to Make the case via video conference with the SFFA committee and answer any questions raised about the build process, explain the process, and defend our artistic decisions. "Apollo 10 and a Half: A Child in the Space Age" deserves a fair nod in the Animated Feature Film category at the Oscars. Please let us know if this matter will be addressed at the next committee meeting in the coming weeks.

Also, as someone who has been a member of the Academy for almost thirty years and has served in four other departments over the years, has also been nominated for an award, I'm pretty sure that the process of determining the qualifications of nominees in no other category is so time-consuming (we're in the sixth month now) and so stressful (we have to defend our art). No one should have to suffer this much.

Sincerely,

Richard Linklater

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