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'Beowulf' slays old Oscar attitudes toward animation

November 8, 2007 |  2:25 pm

Many Oscar-watchers breathed a sigh of relief today when "Boewulf" got approved for submission to the race for best animated feature. Thus the academy now welcomes a new definition of film animation that it has resisted in the past.


While "Beowulf" certainly contains more than 70 percent animation, as per academy Rule Seven (CLICK HERE), the animation looks very real, being based upon live action. That is, Angelina Jolie looks so real on screen because she, Anthony Hopkins and other actors performed in a room full of electrical sensors that recorded their movements.

According to Rule Seven, "movement and characters' performances (must be) created using a frame-by-frame technique." In the past, some films that used digital animation to enhance live-action footage didn't qualify. However, now that the technique is a routine part of the production of maintream animated pix, the Oscars risked being accused of not keeping step with modern times if "Beowulf" had been snubbed. In fact, many movie bloggers were waiting for the bad news today, ready to pounce.

But now that "Beowulf" is in, it looks like a good bet to be included among the three nominees for best animated feature, along with "Ratatouille" and "Persepolis" and "The Simpsons Movie." Ooops, that's four. One of them — sorry! — has to go! There can only be three slots in this category since the number of eligible entries fell below 16. To see the list of 12 that made the cut, CLICK HERE. Since "Persepolis" is France's selection for best foreign-language film and it has strong critical support, there's a real chance that it may become the first animated film ever nominated in the category for overseas pix.