Oscar Winners Oscar Winners

Oscar Winners

In case you haven’t heard, at the Academy Award Ceremonies tonight the Oscar for Best Animated Short was won by The Danish Poet.

The Oscar for Best Animated Feature was won by Happy Feet.

  • happy feet eh?


  • Cello

    I barf at the Best Animated Feature pick.

  • I’m so happy for the Danish Poet and great speech too.

    It seems that the controversy with the mo cap “animated” films is going to last. My heart was with Cars. The real sad thing was only three nominees in the category this year.

  • Happy Feet!!??!!
    It’s official, the Academy has its head waaaaay up its collective ass.

  • I haven’t seen “Happy Feet” or “Monster House”, but I didn’t think “Cars” lived up to all the hype. I’ve taken flack for my opinion on the film before, but for those who missed it, here’s where I thought the film was weak:

    * Too many main characters, or maybe too many characters that eat up screen time. I never got why Lightning cared so much for racing (just being built for speed isn’t enough). If he had more screen time to explain his story, maybe I would have felt something more for him.

    * Sally (the blue girl car). Why did Lightning care for her? I didn’t get that. Is it just because she’s female? That’s a bit shallow. Maybe that was the point, and he was supposed to get more shallow as the movie progressed? If so, they didn’t really sell that point.

    * Mater was the only character that held my interest. His “All I want to do is ride in a helicopter” goal seemed a bit tacked on. Again, maybe it wasn’t supposed to be that way, and there were just too many characters to show during the course of the film.

    * What was with that hotel thing out in the canyon? They never went inside, they never really said much about it, other than it used to be great. Why would I care about that place?

    * Lightning didn’t really seem to change at all from the start of the film to the end. The film closes with him right back in the racing circuit. Granted, his base of operation is now Radiator Springs, but he seems the same as he was.

    * There was way too much exposition in this film through fast paced TV type clips, or characters just told you about something rather than showing you.

    “What is the character feeling, and why does he feel that way?” – Frank Thomas

    I had no idea for most of the film what anyone thought. Farting tractors and stereotyped characters (a VW van that’s a hippie and an Army jeep who acts like a soldier… who couldn’t have seen that coming?) didn’t do it for me.

    One more point, and maybe this is a dumb one, but how can you do a road picture of Route 66 and not include motorcycles? They’ve got three jets, several RV campers, and who knows how many forklifts, but no motorcycles? The motorcycle is as big a part of the American southwest driving experience as any other vehicle, yet they’re absent from this universe.

  • DanO

    it makes me immensely happy to see an independent, 2D short, with a small budget beat out the major studios’ offerings in the animated short category. thats such a thrill and a win for all of us who scrape by on our own projects.

    in fact, lets all be thankful, because if “The Little Matchgirl” had won, i definitely would not have had the will power to keep from posting an angry tirade about it.
    : )

  • Kyle Maloney

    Does anyone have that clip of Pixar’s short “lifted”? they showed a quick clip of it but I didn’t get to see all of it, and I’m desperate to see some of it.

    As for the happy feet winning, wow, I thought the movie was horrible, both as a movie and animation wise. I didn’t really expect cars to win either, but it was at least better than happy feet.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    Somehow I kept thinking “Cars” would win this one, sald to be proved wrong. Also thought ‘Maestro” would take the Oscar too (such a clever film I thought).

  • the oscar’s have nothing to offer but garbage

    Happy Feet?

    thats almost ‘quit touching a pencil’ worthy.

  • Jud

    Happy Feet? Wow, what an upset… even though Cars wasn’t that great I’m still disappointed it lost to the visually unappealing and exploitative Happy Feet. The Academy is insane, and they better give Scorsese a best Director win or else I’ll never watch another Oscar broadcast again.

  • Really?! Happy Feet?!!? This is a new low. Not only is it a bad movie, but it’s not even animation. If this is the new standard, they might as well let in Arthur and the Invisibles and Superman Returns.

  • A.D.O.

    I’m also happy for “The Danish Poet.” I would have liked to see “Everything Will Be OK,” “Dreams and Desires – Family Ties” or “Tragic Story with Happy Ending” among the nominees, but “Poet” was a strong entry on its own merits.

    I haven’t seen “Happy Feet” but I’m tickled to see George “Road Warrior” Miller win an Oscar regardless.

  • Aleks Vujovic


  • Although I liked HAPPY FEET, I rooted for CARS myself. I was rather disappointed at the results for the Oscars. But that was nothing compared to the rest of the show, which has become an event for celebrating pomposity.

    My only consolation was that PAN’S LABYRINTH got plenty of nominations/awards. (That movie was very good.)

  • Katie Cropper

    I’m still incredibly frustrated that Joanna Quinn’s Dreams and Desires didn’t get a nomination. I’m happy for the Danish Poet but on a whole it just isn’t exceptional. Yay for indie animation though.

    as for the feature pick.. It made my soul bleed.

  • Happy feet??!! eh?

    woah! it seems that the mo cap is the future in hollywood, what will happen with the real animation?

  • Lee

    I’m glad Disney didn’t win.

  • It concerns me greatly that “Happy Feet” won, as I’ve long had trouble accepting the motion-capture technique as “animation.” That win, coupled with the fact the Disney’s “Little Match Girl” lost (I’m probably in the minority, but I was impressed with it) is a bad omen for the future of 2-D here in the U.S.

  • http://www.animallogic.com/ they waste no time to celebrate !

  • Frank Thomas made ’em dance with only a pencil and paper.

    Now, that’s impressive!

  • Saurabh anjarlekar

    Congratulation to Happy Feet, but I think there is a mistake here.
    How can anyone not choose CARS. It’s a brilliant story… but hey, PIXAR is still the best in the animated movie arena.

  • tom

    I would have chosen Cars, since Monster House wasn’t animated, instead being mocapped, and since Happy Feet was Happy Feet.

  • I guess they just didn’t want to give it to Pixar again, there’s really no other way for me to rationalize it.

    I imagine the pitch went something like “It’s like ‘March of the Penguins’, but with jazz hands!” Blech.

  • Mr. Semaj

    Disney got screwed over in the Best Animated Short Subject category again, and Cars got no Oscar wins. Talk about poor taste.

  • Esn

    I’m very happy that “The Danish Poet” won. I saw every nominated short film except “Lifted”, and it was really my favourite. It also brought back happy memories of trekking through Scandinavian countries with huge backpacks. As for the others, I thought that “Maestro” was too simple to merit a win (it’s a great film, but it sets its standards low), “No Time for Nuts” was very obviously a Dreamworks film (I just don’t really like their style), and “The Little Matchgirl” was a good film despite some flaws with historical accuracy (eg. a peasant’s hut with church onion domes) and a lack of much-needed subtlety in the girl’s character animation. I liked it, but “The Danish Poet” was much closer to me.

    Just a question to everyone: Are films which were originally released two years ago eligible for an award? Personally, I was very much hoping for Aleksandr Petrov’s “My Love” to win this year, but it wasn’t even nominated… so I’m wondering if it has a chance next year:

    As for the features… meh. To be honest, I haven’t seen a single one of them. I was hoping for “A Scanner Darkly” to be nominated at least. There were a lot more than 16 feature films released in 2006, but most of them either didn’t play in a Los Angeles theatre or DID play but didn’t apply to be in the running (at least, I’m guessing that’s why “Romeo and Juliet: Sealed With a Kiss” wasn’t eligible, since it seemed to fulfill all of the requirements).

  • mo-cap should get a kick in the knee-cap. But instead it’s another kick in the balls for animation. Clearly the Academy members are so uninformed. Danish Poet was quite deserving with its simple animation and meaningful story.

  • Josh

    The fact that only one nominee for the animated feature award was animated (in the creative sense of the word) calls into question the validity of the award category in the first place. Especially when the one “animated” nominee wasn’t even that good. I haven’t seen “Happy Feet,” but my feeling is that the Academy preferred its story to that of “Cars.”

  • I am very disappointed that Happy Feet won. Not only was it a horrible film, but it was not appropriate for kids to watch. I felt embarrassed taking my 11 year old niece to see it. In one point in the film, two characters were tumbling through the snow, and their “falling” resembled many sexual positions.

  • Daniel Mata

    I’m just glad that “The Danish Poet” won. It was a wonderful little film. While I did like “Little Match Girl,” I could tell Disney really neutered it. I was really disappointed in the amount of CG films in the Short category.

    I’m just as disgusted as a lot of people here to see “Happy Feet” win. Cars should have won. It’s Pixar’s worst film, but it’s still the best this year.

    I just hope “Princess” wins next year for animated feature. It’s a beautiful film, simply heartbreaking.

  • I’m still sad that “Flushed Away” didnt get a nomination.
    It definitely got the award for “most incorrect movie trailer ever”

  • DanO

    is it beyond consideration that “Happy Feet” edged out the others in a tight race because of its little message about global warming?

  • Esn

    Hey, you can see a high-quality version of “The Danish Poet”, legally, over here:

    Put the link in your main post, guys. :)

  • Rodan Thompson

    I’m no professional animator but I do read this web page often and I have to say I was hoping for a win for The Little Matchgirl From my POV I just felt that the story was a moving one. I don’t know much about The Danish Poet..Hmmm I wish I could see it to make the call.

    Happy Feet… eeeh As far as I was concerned I don’t feel that there was a Best Animated Feature… They all seemed to odorous for me to even care to see them. If I had a four year old child… I guess I’d have taken him to see Cars or Happy Feet. But I’m almost sure I’d have fallen asleep. I think I’d rather sit through Pixars Birds short a hundred times before even warming up to Cars on my own… I guess Penguins are cute. So there you are…. A winner!

  • Ugh. I don’t really have the right to judge as I haven’t seen it yet, but ow the hell did Sappy feet win? My only guess is that they thought Pixar had enough Oscars already (although that didn’t stop them from giving Disney so many back in the day), but even Monster House looked more creative than that ugly penguin movie. Ugh.

  • Relevent

    I’m actually glad that Cars didn’t win. It was almost a direct rip-off of “Doc Hollywood” and for a studio that prides itself of original storytelling, it wasn’t all that original. I think that a good premise would have distracted me from this problem, but making them all creepy talking cars wasn’t the whitewash to cover it up.

    Really, one of the films nominated this year (in animation at least) seemed to be the best in anything. No matter which one won, I think there’d be disappointment.

  • Tim

    Unlike most people who commented I have seen Happy Feet. I won’t go into the deserving argument but I do know of a lot of animators who would be interested to know they had no work to do on this film. It did have Mocap but it also had a lot of people keyframing for a long time. I think its a shame that the people who actually care about the response they get from their community, ie; Cartoon Brew etc, are constantly told they have no worth as an animator because they choose to work on a computer. Actually these days if you want to work as an animator its unlikely you can do it any other way. These people have pored their heart into their job and I for congratulate them for the effort they put in.

    Well done Happy Feet animators.

  • Bryan T.

    Okay, I’ll be the one to stick my head out and say that Happy Feet deserved this award. I’m guessing many of the people criticizing it above haven’t even seen it. If you’re judging it based on the trailer I don’t blame you, but the movie itself is, in my opinion, more impressive than Cars. (Monster House had some positive qualities here and there but it’s kind of a waste because the giant cartoon heads on realistic mo-cap bodies are distracting and the story would’ve worked better in live action anyway.)

    Happy Feet isn’t as good as George Miller’s similar live action movie Babe: Pig In the City, but it’s a worthy companion piece. At first I didn’t think I’d get past the weird premise of penguins singing classic pop songs to each other (and one of them tapdancing), but it’s so well executed it draws you in immediately. And that’s actually just one element of the movie. It’s actually a fairly epic journey story of a hated outcast penguin trying to prove himself by making human contact. Unlike most non-Pixar computer animation it has genuine emotional resonance. The nightmarish scene where Mumbles finds himself delirious in a zoo is particularly memorable. It’s nice to see a talking animal movie that’s not primarily a comedy.

    Outside of these comments, the only negative reviews I’ve seen of the movie were by parents complaining that it’s too dark and scary for their children and right wingers like Sean Hannity and Michael Medved who thought it promoted homosexuality (!) and environmentalism (for shame!). Both of these off-base criticisms are actually signs of its quality – the “too dark” complaints mean the movie takes its drama seriously (just like the Babe movies) and the political complaints are because it does have a little bit to say about conformity, religious zealotry and conservation. You guys complain because it’s about dancing penguins, these guys complain because it’s not really about dancing penguins.

    It’s a good story, and I think it’s also worthy on a technical and artistic level. I usually don’t like realistic designs in computer animation, but these ones work beautifully and would have been too distancing if they were more cartoony. I was even more impressed by the landscapes, which are gorgeous. And the use of crowd scenes is amazing. There is an incredible scene early on with hundreds (thousands?) of father penguins protecting their eggs during a stormy night that looks like something out of Lord of the Rings. A large percentage of scenes in the movie take place among crowds of hundreds of penguins, so this is a movie that really could not have been done in live action or hand drawn.

    I liked Cars. It’s one of Pixar’s weakest, but it’s a good movie and I think there are many things about it technically that are far beyond what anyone else is doing in computer animation. But Happy Feet is a more original movie that doesn’t follow the template of what anyone else is making or has made. For it to be such a big hit in a year so packed with CGI talking animal movies isn’t a fluke. It’s not the same kind of movie.

    It’s also nice to see a fledgling studio win out over established studios, hopefully giving them the clout to make more movies and do something interesting.

    As for the mo-cap issue, I may be wrong but I think this is a misconception. Having seen the movie twice, it doesn’t look mo-capped other than the dancing scenes. If you check IMDb you see all kinds of animators listed, and not many motion capture people. And in an interview on the podcast Scene Unseen, George Miller seems to be saying that only the dancing is mo-capped. He describes the use of Savion Glover’s dancing but then says, “all the faces, all the non dancing material is basically animated.” (What that “basically” means I guess is unclear, but it sure doesn’t look mo-capped to me.)

    Regardless of that technicality, I really like this movie. So sue me. It’s no Spirited Away but it’s ten times better than friggin’ Shrek, the first winner of this award.

  • Phillip

    I saw Happy Feet. Once. My daughter the animation fan fell asleep twice (she’s a teen) and when she awoke both times she was heard to mutter, “Not another dancing penguin video!” The same teen daughter and I saw Cars 6 times at the theater, each time marveling at a newfound layer as well as the original storylines. Cars was simply and easily the best of the 3 choices last eve, and a much better film that most care to admit. (Look, by now all stories are retreads. Cars didn’t mimic Doc Hollywood half as much as mine The Brave Little Toaster, but the creators were at least drinking from their own well.) Happy Feet was agitprop with retread Robin Willaims’ Genie-schtick…the green message is a good one but was simply tacked onto a film about dancing pengiuns. A very long film about dancing penguins.
    So, there you have it. Whatever you think about the Oscars, they should at least recognize genius as it happens instead of relegating the awards to the cause of the moment or a raspberry to the Kings of the Hill.
    Cars was the best picture nominated and should have won.

  • Steve Wojcik

    Ever since they gave the Oscar to Shrek over Monsters Inc. years ago I have considered the Oscars or any award show for that matter absolute garbage or rubbish. In my opinion, while Shrek did enterain me while watching it I had no desire to see it again. Monsters Inc. was far superior in story, emotion, characters and imagination. This is why im not suprised that “smelly feet” won.

  • Matt Wilson

    Why were Ice Age 2 and Flushed Away completely ignored by the academy? I still don’t understand this. Ice Age 1 was a nominee, and Aardman won the award last year! That’s more puzzling to me than the actual Oscar selection.

  • Relevent

    If Flushed Away was nominated, I would have preferred it over the other three nominees. I also wonder why it was ignored by the Academy; there is seemingly no good reason for it not to have been included.

  • Ice Age 2 and Flushed Away (and Over the Hedge) were not able to be nominated. There weren’t enough Animated Features for there to be 5 nominees. Unfortunately, its because of the Weinstein Company… they submitted “Arthur and the Invisibles” for consideration, but not “Doogal”. “Arthur” was deemed ineligible for the animated feature category.

    So if they had submitted Doogal, there would have been 5 nominees, but because there was one too few, there were only 3 nominees.

  • Joel

    I am very disappointed that the “Danish Poet” won. Has anyone even seen it? I saw it and thought it was ridiculously terrible. The animation was indescribably bad. Motion was inconsistent and the narration was not engaging at all. I could care less if it were an “independent” film. It does not make it better. I thought Maestro looked like a student demo reel with default shaders for textures. I’m all about the little guy… but seriously. I think this is the end of days.

  • I was more annoyed with Cameron Diaz’s little “Back in the OLD days, people actually had to DRAW each character’s expression. Now it takes just a few simple clicks on a mouse to bring your world to life” speech that preceded the award presentation.

  • LNG

    That the Academy gave the Oscar for Best Animated Feature to a literal minded mo-cap release whose director, in his acceptance speech, failed to mention the name of even one animator says loud and clear that Hollywood considers even its celebrated pictures as mere product. They always have, of course, but this year they’ve dropped any pretense that art was even involved. As for ‘Happy Feet’ itself, a half century of wall-to-wall, expensively licensed Top 40 hits loading the track helps cover a multitude of filmmaking sins. True, they can’t all be gems but the absolute dullest of them don’t deserve Academy Awards, either.

  • Personally, I don’t understand all of the “Cars” hate out there in the animation community. I specify animation community because that is the only place you can find people too jaded to enjoy a move that is so earnest and heartfest. It’s a sincere movie that took me on a nice little trip.
    It is a crime against all who like animation that “Happy Feet” won. Everyone involved should be deeply ashamed.

  • joecab

    Me neither. I loved Cars. Every Pixar film practically glows with how much care and thought goes into each frame. I don’t get any of that from these other guys. Even thought it wasn’t Pixar’s strongest entry, even their weakest is head and shoulders above the rest of the imitati… I mean competition.

    This choice was a big let down. But at least Over the Hedge and Ice Age 2 were unable to be nominated as explained above.

  • Sarah

    I think the academy did not know how to judge animation. I think they only saw the name and I’m sure they were giving George Miller an award based on his extended Hollywood resume without even watching the film.

  • Anne

    Whatever. I didn’t even watch this year. Out of the three animated nominees, I’d only seen one (Cars), and frankly it did nothing for me. Happy Feet and Monster aren’t real cartoons, but what do you expect from an awards show run by people who know next to nothing about the craft?

    Oh, and “Children of Men” got robbed. That is all.

  • Matt Wilson

    So is Pixar the only company allowed to release CG movies now, the only company that deserves Oscars? Feel free to hate movies you haven’t seen on principle but let’s not get carried away here. It’s very amusing, that it’s implied that there are theatrical animators that DON’T put care and thought into their work. Lots of hard working people put everything they have into a film and it could still not be the greatest (like Cars, for example).

    I’m sure they’ll win one next year. Not winning one this year will just make them want to go out there and develop an even better film.

  • Mr. Semaj

    I don’t understand some complaints about Cars being a non-original story. Some say it was based from Doc Hollywood, but didn’t Monsters Inc. have the same premise as a certain Klasky-Csupo cartoon?

  • Paul

    I’m happy that “Poet” won. I’ve seen it a couple of times and I like it better every time. No, it’s not technically brilliant animation, but the story is engaging and the film has heart, something I thought was missing in all the other nominees. For the record, I liked “Match Girl” very much, laughed at both “Lifted” and “Scrat,” and thought “Maestro” was an overlong one-gag film.

    I caught most of “Flushed Away” the other night, and think it could have replaced any one of the feature nominees quite easily.

  • Jay

    I’m very happy that HAPPY FEET won, and don’t really understand the backlash from all the posts here.

    Visually unappealing? I suppose if you don’t like penguins. Yes, they tried a unique approach of ‘realistic’ animals doing cute human things instead of toony/stylized penguins, but it was pulled off well — if you want toony penguins, wait for SURF’S UP.

    Poorly animated? Not sure if you’ve seen the movie, but it had scenes with some of the most accomplished CG animation I’ve ever seen, bar none.

    Sappy and dumb? Again, guess you didn’t watch the movie. The first half verged into sap, but then — like George Miller’s other kids’ film, BABE, it veered into rich, deep, and well-written storytelling that had more to convey than CARS did.

    Mo-cap? Let’s make sure we’re talking about the same thing. The dancing in the film was mo-cap — Savion Glover provided Mumble’s moves. But the rest of the film wasn’t mo-capped.

    George Miller and crew pulled off a great victory with a solid, quality film, and I’m thrilled that a smart movie with wide appeal won.

  • Of the movies nominated for best animated feature, Happy Feet was the only one I didn’t see.

    I think as stated somewhere before, people wouldn’t be happy no matter who won. Though Cars had plenty of heart (as all Pixar films do), Dreamworks was really on the ball with fun animated movies, and I think one of their movies should’ve gotten nominated instead of Monster House.
    Still, I would like to see Happy Feet. I thought it was stupid by looking at the commercials, but considering it was Warner Bros. (distribution-wise) first successful animated feature in a while, and it got nominated, they must be doing something right. I dunno.
    I’m mostly mad at the Weinstein Company for screwing the nominations.
    Truth be told, I don’t think the Academy really takes animated films seriously.

  • Esn

    Joel, yes I have seen “The Danish Poet”. You’re not looking at it the right way – it’s a deliberately low-key, modest film. I realize full well that the animation isn’t nearly as kinetic, lively and full of action as that of most of the other contenders, but it’s not meant to be. The animation, and the film’s execution itself, is very deliberately economical.

    I was quite surprised that it won, actually, precisely because it lacked the over-the-top filmmaking that Hollywood loves.

    Personally, I suspect that it may not be the “best” film out of the slate of nominees (whatever that means), but it was my own personal favourite – it appealed to me more than any of the others. Perhaps enough members of the Academy felt the same way.

    Oh, and I thought the narration rocked.

    By the way, apparently that link I posted before only works for Canadian residents? Can someone clarify?

  • Wolphin

    “I felt embarrassed taking my 11 year old niece to see it. In one point in the film, two characters were tumbling through the snow, and their “fallingâ€? resembled many sexual positions.” – Tommy

    The heck you say? (Baffled. Might have to watch the Penguins Dance to Grandmaster Flash Movie.)

    “I was more annoyed with Cameron Diaz’s little “Back in the OLD days, people actually had to DRAW each character’s expression. Now it takes just a few simple clicks on a mouse to bring your world to lifeâ€? speech that preceded the award presentation.” – Greg

    Oh thank you. I was screaming (a la Morbo) ANIMATION DOES NOT WORK THAT WAY!!!

    I didn’t go through four years of art school to have my hard work credited to some godless machine, thank you very much.

  • Dave

    Didn’t watch Happy Feet, but I felt Cars wasn’t too great. It felt like Pixar was falling back onto its old movies. “Oh since it worked before, lets do it again.” There was little fresh and new about it.

    Wish they had nominated Paprika. Definitely the best animated movie of last year.

  • Mawnck

    I don’t understand all the hatred for Happy Feet.

    All this talk about what is and what is not animation just goes to show how utterly out of touch so many in this community are. IT WON THE OSCAR. IT GOT MORE VOTES THAN CARS. Rather than lashing out at the filmmakers, Academy voters, unwashed masses, and Cameron Diaz’ teleprompter, perhaps you should take a minute to ponder how it is that this movie you think is so terrible managed to be so successful.

    If you’re going to make a mass-market product like an animated feature, then you’d better learn to appeal to the masses, not sit around decrying their wretched taste in movies or splitting hairs over whether mo-capping a few dance sequences disqualifies a movie from being worthy of being projected.

    The elitist and snobbish attitudes shown on this board are going to kill animation just as effectively as the bad scripts and dumb executives.


    Congrats to the makers of Happy Feet.

  • Letting the Oscars being your standard for what makes a good movie is like relying on only the MPAA’s rating system to tell you of a films content. The impact of a film on it’s audience, and the passage of time will be the ultimate determination of how “good” a film is. Not the self-congratulatory Hollywood elite repeatedly patting each other on the back.To quote a line from one of the nominated films, “It’s just an empty cup.”

  • Benjamin DS

    Amen to Bryan T., Mawnck and some other folks.

    Personally, none of these films appealed to me in trailers. The only one I actually went to see in the end was Happy Feet – thanks to word of mouth. Unlike with Nemo and The Incredibles, no-one I knew even brought up Cars in a conversation. In the trailer, the characters felt flat and one-dimensional, and from what I hear from both people that liked and didn’t like it, it isn’t much better in the movie itself. I have no “hatred” towards it whatsoever, and there’s a good chance I’ll enjoy it anyway once I’ve seen it. But now about Happy Feet:

    Yes, it started out as an all mo-cap picture. But as far as I’ve heard/read, pretty much all aside the dancing was animation in the end. So how is it NOT an animated film, and how is its win a crime to all who like animation? Yes, it was very realistic imagery, perhaps too realistic, but I felt that the story and it’s base in the real world justified it enough.

    It is NOT a dancing penguin movie (minor spoilers ahead). Most of the penguins in the film don’t dance up until the end. It’s about ONE dancing penguin, who’s outcast because of it, wants to prove himself, and on his journey does meet a couple of other dancing penguins. (end spoilers)
    It was an interesting story with big entertainment value on top, that actually was quite justified. Not only thanks to the wonderful execution (I at first didn’t think I was going to get past the singing penguins thing either), but also because it’s based in reallife. Isn’t crying/screaming/singing/… a common mating ritual with animals? So what would you rather hear? Exciting real songs, or the horrible sound that penguins usually utter? And what would you rather have the outcast do… dance or just nothing at all?

    For once, a commercial animated movie dares to be different than the others, and I feel that should be applauded. And guess what, audiences enjoyed it! Why do you think it was so popular? I don’t know anyone outside the animation business that didn’t like the film. Most felt it was exhilirating, fun, diverse, fresh, and to them it was the kind of movie where you walk out the theatre a happier man, and feel like singing and dancing… What isn’t great about that? On top of it, it had some real touching dramatic moments. (spoiler ahead) The moment where Mumble’s in the zoo grabbed me by the throat. (end spoiler) That moment came accross more dramatic and heartfelt to me than anything in Pixar’s films aside Monsters, Inc. That’s not to say Happy Feet is a stronger film than most of Pixar’s, but it does tell you something about its strengths.

    I’ve had numerous people talk to me about it like that. Mawnck puts it well: the animation community often is terribly out of touch with the audience. I talked to an American director about it, who loved the film (and founded or co-founded FilmFair back in the day), and he praised it for being exhilirating, uplifting, and in touch with the world and the audience, which he so rarely sees in animation. Though he might be biased because of the dancing, as he’s worked with Fred Astaire. I wasn’t as extatic about the film as he was, but I still feel his point is valid.

    I think that most of all is why Happy Feet won. It was an entertaining and uplifting film for many people, and the members of the Academy recognized that. The discussion about what an animated film is, matters only to the selection of longlist and nominees. The discussion about the win should be about, as Pixar itself says, story story story. And even though many people might’ve prefered Cars over Happy Feet, I guess most Academy members felt differently.

    Congrats to the Happy Feet team.