Mackenna Roberts ’22
The academy has had a pretty rocky history with foreign films, with the exception of Parasite. There are plenty of reasons for this outlined in many articles, but I don’t want to talk about that. What really baffles me is how very few foreign animated films get recognized. Every year it’s the same thing; the generic, widespread appeal Disney movie gets nominated, whatever movie Dreamworks made gets nominated, if Laika or Bluesky made something they’ll get nominated, there will be exactly one foreign film if any, and in the end, Pixar will win. If you need further proof that the Best Animated Picture Oscar is a joke; Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Ice Age, Surfs Up, Boss Baby, and Shark Tale have all been nominated for this award.
I genuinely hope that whoever did this is in jail
It irritates me beyond words that the Academy ignores Japanese animation unless it’s Studio Ghibli. Japan is, as I like to call it, ‘The Animation Capital of the World’. The sheer quality of animation that is made for television is insane (seriously, check this out https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hm-zgEdCRes). I genuinely think that some amazing Japanese films have been made in the past few years, and I want to encourage more people to watch them. So here are two spectacular animated films you should watch instead of Toy Story 4.
A Silent Voice (2017)
A Silent Voice is about Shoya Ishida, a high school student who when he was a kid bullied a deaf classmate and ended up losing all of his friends as a result. The movie follows his journey to make amends, reconnect with her, and rediscover his self-worth. The animation in this movie is spectacular. Since one of the main characters can’t talk, a lot of effort was put into drawing the character’s facial expressions. There is so much nuance in every character’s body language and expressions, and as a result, everyone feels more genuine and alive. All of the sign language is accurate, the score caters well to the quiet and melancholy atmosphere, and the characters themselves are very well written. One thing I will say is that this film is very heavy. It covers themes of depression and suicide, but it does so deftly. This movie thrusts you into these characters’ lives and just makes you feel. It is gut-wrenchingly sad but in a very sincere way. I cried for thirty minutes after finishing this movie, and if that’s something you’re interested in you should definitely check it out. 9/10
Your Name (2016)
Your Name is without exaggeration, one of my favorite films of all time. It is the second work by Makoto Shinkai who has made his mark on the world of animation with gorgeous cinematography and masterful direction. This movie is downright breath-taking, and if you aren’t watching it on the biggest screen you own in 1080p, then you’re really missing out. Your Name follows two high school students, Mitsuha Miyamizu and Taki Tachibana, who randomly switch bodies and take turns living each others lives. And I know that saying that just makes this sound like anime Freaky Friday, but it is so much more. I don’t want to spoil anything, but the way this movie conveys its ideas about loss, time and human connection is phenomenal. This movie is funny and exciting and sad, it grabs you by the arm and takes you on an epic journey unlike anything you have ever seen or will ever see again. I love this movie with my whole heart and I implore you to watch it whenever you can. 10/10