Ratatouille vs. Persepolis

The Oregonian has a short but interesting article about what animation artists in Brad Bird’s home state, Oregon, think about the Oscar race between Ratatouille and Persepolis. The piece offers quotes from animators Joan Gratz and Will Vinton, who believe Ratatouille deserves to win, while Joanna Priestley and LAIKA recruiter Tom Knott are in the Persepolis. camp. I agree with Tom Knott who says that recognizing the accomplishment of Persepolis will have long-term benefits for the industry as a whole, and will hopefully encourage animated films with more substance and personal styles of storytelling. Knott says in the article:

“‘Ratatouille’ has some of the best animation to appear in decades, and Brad did a great job telling a story. He’s a friend of mine. But personally, I’d like to see ‘Persepolis’ win just because it’s an independent film, and it’s lower-budget. I think it gives hope to other filmmakers trying to do things on lower budgets that are more personal. So if something like ‘Persepolis’ can find an audience, that’s good.”


  • Doug

    Personally I hope the best film wins. I know it’s naive to think that we could leave the politics out of filmmaking and film awarding, but wouldn’t it be nice to just simply reward the ultimate success of the film on its own rights, and not all the backstory? The comment above would potentially reward Persepolis for its efforts and not on its merits as a film. hehe Reminds me of some scenes from The Incredibles, like Bob arguing that attending his son’s “graduation” into the next grade is insane. He showed up so he gets the prize. Just a thought.

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    Ratatouille is very entertaining, but like practically every other mainstream film says nothing about anything.
    Persepolis is entertaining, meaningful, better film making and maybe even important.

  • http://www.jjsedelmaier.com J.J. Sedelmaier

    I’m in total agreement with you and Tom, Amid. A win for Persepolis would open mainstream eyes to animation’s potential more than a Ratatouille victory. I enjoyed Brad’s film and am a big fan, but this is a great chance to make an important statement about the craft. . .

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    I don’t even know why this is even a contest. How many more Follow Your Dream films do we need, whatever species is in the spotlight? Steven King, in “On Writing,” said that writers should write about anything at all … so long as they tell the truth. Satrapi told the truth.

  • http://persistenceofvision.blogspot.com/ Ethan

    I agree, I love Ratatouille, but what’s Pixar going to do with another Oscar? Everyone already knows they’re great and Brad Bird is amazing. But Persepolis winning will give that film a larger audience and hopefully encourage more films like it.

  • http://www.autodaddy.blogspot.com tom

    While both of these films are amazing, it’s a shame that Surf’s Up will be lost in this race. I’m very happy that it got nominated, but it was such a great year for animated features that I suppose some excellent films are just going to have to go home empty handed.

    On the other hand, if Ratatouille and Persepolis split the vote the dark horse could come out ahead. I’m calling my bookie today!

  • http://beesbuzz.biz/ fluffy

    I wish they could both win. Then there can be a lot of hugging. And cake.

  • bnicolucci

    While I personally preferred Surf’s Up to either film, all are quite deserving and I think the case for Persepolis winning is a good one. Animation, even though it can do anything, just hasn’t been pushed in enough directions and maybe an extremely well done small film like this winning will help do that.

  • Mr. Semaj

    A win for either film will be a victory for the industry.

    For Ratatouille, a win will be an acknowledgment of great animation art and fine storytelling, both of which are presently scarce in animation, as well as an acknowledgment of a parable of art versus commercialism, serving as a symbolism of what Disney has recently overcome.

  • intergalactic

    I like that Tom Knott guy, he’s a good egg.

    And I agree with him too. ;)

  • http://www.jeandenis.net Jean-Denis Haas

    “I’d like to see ‘Persepolis’ win just because it’s an independent film, and it’s lower-budget.”

    Well there goes his credibility for me. Who cares about the quality of content, it’s all about politics. Nothing new, but always disappointing.

  • http://www.yaytime.com dave roman

    “Well there goes his credibility for me. Who cares about the quality of content, it’s all about politics. Nothing new, but always disappointing.”

    I want ‘Persepolis’ to win BECAUSE of the quality of the content. I though the animation was top notch, complimenting the brilliant and appealing designs all of which perfectly served the story.

    I thought both Ratatouille and Surfs Up were solid, fun animated films. But Persepolis was an animated experience that really is an advancement in the field of animated feature films. Even just on the most basic terms of the type of stories being told. Not a lot of people out there making full length cartoons that are such a clear artistic and personal vision. I’m really happy it got nominated.

  • bord

    “Ratatouille is very entertaining, but like practically every other mainstream film says nothing about anything.”

    Really? What movie did you watch? I thought Ratatouille was perhaps the strongest appeal for animation as an accessible art form as anything I’ve ever seen. If the chef’s ghost wasn’t a stand-in for Walt Disney, whose image is being prostituted at every turn to make a quick buck, then I might as well stop watching movies. The ‘a-ha’ moment when he tastes the dish speaks volumes about the power of the art form that has been lost under lousy sequels and snobbish critics who won’t consider a film like Ratatouille alongside a live-action film for best picture.

    Says nothing, indeed.

  • Pedro Nakama

    “Persepolis” is a very daring film, because animated or not it’s using film as a means of communication. And in Hollywood that has been completely removed from the film industry.

  • http://dtoons-pro.com Alex Dudley

    “I agree with Tom Knott who says that recognizing the accomplishment of Persepolis will have long-term benefits for the industry as a whole, and will hopefully encourage animated films with more substance and personal styles of storytelling.”

    Did Spirited Away accomplish that when it won the Oscar?
    Doesn’t really look like it did. Though maybe it takes two films to make a difference in the industry.
    That is if Persepolis wins.

  • greg m

    Just getting nominated should draw the kind of attention for Persopolis that Tom Knott is talking about. Being nominated is an accomplishment that shouldn’t be trivialized. For me, I am with Jean-Denis on this one, as it is NOT about having any film win just because of the reasons pointed out.

  • David Hutchison

    I don’t think Persepolis should get the nod just because it’s an independent, or because it will give independent animators encouragement. If it wins, it should win for being the best animated feature.

  • Jayster

    I haven’t seen Persepolis so I can’t say who deserves to win, but which ever film is better deserves to win. If Persepolis wins on style alone or because what it can do for the industry then it shouldn’t win. Winning without integrity is not a win.

  • Fred Cline

    Both Ratatouille and Persepolis express the unique personal visions of their respective creators. A vote for either one will be a win for the creative community.

  • http://chippyandloopus.typepad.com/ John Sanford

    Wow. Congratulations on spinning this in order to make Pixar the big bad guy. Ratatouille says nothing about anything? Wow. did we see the same movie? Way to overstate your case to the point of being ridiculous.
    Nothing agains Persepolis, but I’m down for “Ratatouille”.
    Brad Bird is an iconoclast. You people seem to forget that in your rush to bash the “big bad guy”.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theaftend Allan Turner

    Ratatouille was a good movie: great animation, good story, and I applaud it for tackling fatty America. But it was a horrible movie for little girls. I only saw it once so please correct any errors I make but I remember only 3 female characters in the entire story, not including extras: the villainous granny, the villainous food critic, and the love interest Colette. The 2 female antagonists were comical, and the critic was so ineffectual they needed a second, and male, critic to pose a real threat. And when I said not including extras I should specify not including HUMAN extras because as far as I could tell there were no female rats. None at all, except maybe in the happy ending restaurant scene? Regardless, there were no speaking female rats and certainly none of Remy’s family were female. That means the ONLY female character of substance was Colette.

    Colette started off driven and career-minded but ended up a happy love interest. She said nothing would stop her from making head chef but settled for marriage to the new restaurant owner and sous-chef under a newcomer. My guess is the filmmakers wouldn’t see it this way; they’d argue she opened her heart to love and was rewarded with a more fulfilled life. But the message I got was that if you’re a girl, no matter how hard you try, the best you can achieve is 2nd place, even if that means 2nd place to a rat.

    There was an easy fix and none of the story would have had to change substantially–make Remy a girl. I’m not usually one to demand morals in my entertainment. But I do think movies that are targeting a young audience have a responsibility.

    I haven’t seen Persopolis yet but from the clips I have seen I think it contrasts in a very interesting way with Ratatouille. But of course I’ll hold off on choosing my preference until after I’ve seen it.

  • http://chippyandloopus.typepad.com/ John Sanford

    You also fail to mention “Surf’s Up” from Sony. Of course, this would ruin your “Pixar vs. The struggling artist” story though, so I can understand the omission.

  • http://scottmorse.blogspot.com Scott Morse

    Allan- The category it’s up for is BEST ANIMATED FEATURE…not BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FOR LITTLE GIRLS…or even BEST FAMILY ANIMATED FEATURE. ;)

  • http://robcatview.blogspot.com robcat2075

    I’m tired of films qualifying for a major award like an oscar with a two-city run at the very end of the year. I realize the bar is kept low to encourage independents. But still.

    It’s like the tree falling in a forest. If Persepolis only plays in New York and I never get to see it, is it a good film? It might as well be “Rock-a-doodle” which I haven’t seen either.

    I hope it’s good. I’ll see it on DVD eventually. But it’s really not a film anymore then.

  • Alexander

    Well, I guess we know who’ll win the “Independent Achievement” and “Little Girl’s Choice” awards. However the Academy Awards are for the best work, and I expect them to be judged on that criteria. In any category.

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    John Sanford and Bord – I can assure you I have no interest in portraying Pixar as the bad guy in any way whatsoever. I am very fond of all their films, even Cars, which folks seem to have something against. I also think Brad Bird is terrifically talented and any animated film is enhanced by his participation. But I think there’s a chasm of difference in Ratatouille, an entertaining commercial film and Persepolis, a real story about very relevant things.

    Ratatouille is full of great stuff – the scene Bord mentions is as wonderful a moment as I can think of in any film. I would even suggest that Ratatouille is even more entertaining that Persepolis, but it’s commercial nature dictates that it can only brush the surface of the kind of issues Persepolis is able to generate discussion about. I certainly don’t think Persepolis is perfect either.

    So don’t get me wrong here, I am fond of both films. But I think Ratatouille is disposable (like almost all commercial films) and Persepolis enduring. I also especially enjoyed Surf’s Up. In many ways I like it more than Ratatouille.

  • GinnyN

    To Allan Turner person, if you want to hear me…
    The whole message of feminist movement is: Let us do that and give us that opportunities because we are WORTH of that, not because we are girls for goodness sake! Remy got his opportunity for luck and he proves be worth of this opportunity, and it’s one of the messages of the movie. And who cares about how many Female Characters appear here. Well, only persons who believe we, as women, don’t have enough confidence for notice the Icons, like Remy, can be applied into everyone. Believe me, things like Bratz made the whole thing worse, not good movies like Ratatouille.

    And I hope the best movie win. I hope that.

  • Paul N

    I haven’t seen Persepolis yet, but it HAS to be better than Rock-a-doodle… :0)

  • Some Guy

    >Ratatouille is very entertaining, but like practically every other mainstream film says nothing about anything.

    I would beg to differ. It was a metaphor for art, commerce, the artist, and the Disney Corporation.

    Gusteau represented Walt Disney.
    His restaurant was his company.
    Skinner was Michael Eisner.
    Linguini represented CGI animation
    Rats represented real animation.
    Remy was Brad Bird and Pixar.

    The public won’t stomach hand drawn animation so he had to do it under the guise of trendy CGI. The CGI is a puppet for real animation (and Brad Bird’s view of storytelling)

    How about all those quotes about Gusteau’s becoming irrelevant after the death of its namesake creator?

    Or the critics’s change of heart?

    “It was Gusteau’s job to innovate. It’s our job to follow the recipe.”

    “We love the soup, but we’ve had it so many times…”

    “Someone has asked what is new!”

    And Gaston’s speech at the end certianly was meaningful and said something.

  • Tom Pope

    Elliot – First, I get your drift; a commercial film with big-money ambitions (at least from the distributor’s point of view), is limited in the sharp societal points it can make. Plus, being an American feature, it is obligated to please children at least as much as adults. That said, Ratatoullie does about as good a job filling all those roles as any big-money American film ever has. (Though I still feel Dumbo is THE most perfectly conceived feature ever made here, warts and all.)

    Secondly, though, you won’t win too many people to your side by referring to Ratatoullie as “disposable.”

  • Steve P

    Allen: ” There was an easy fix and none of the story would have had to change substantially–make Remy a girl. I’m not usually one to demand morals in my entertainment. But I do think movies that are targeting a young audience have a responsibility.”

    Make Remy a girl and I can hear the the criticism arising, “So the girl just wants to cook? What a limiting stereotype!”

  • http://chippyandloopus.typepad.com/ John Sanford

    Elliot Cowan: Ratatouille is disposble?

    It’s hard to make a judgement about how a film will endure, but I’ll lay bets that folks will be enjoying Ratatouille for YEARS to come. To suggest a film is disposable merely because it is commercial is asinine. Want me to name some commercial films that have endured to prove my point or is that even necessary? Or how about some “commercial” music? Or “commercial” Art? I think I’ve made my point.

  • Chuck R.

    I’m with Fred. I think it takes personal vision to make any good film, mainstream or not. Brad Bird is a very introspective director. I’m not sure how much of Ratatouille is his vision, since he didn’t create it from the ground up. I still think that “Incredibles” is his best film and deservedly, it has been honored. A few other points, and I’ll try to make it brief:

    In a perfect world, yes the Oscar should go to the best film —period. But…this is film, not sports, so “best” is kind of subjective, and the Academy’s record for judging animation is questionable at best (Shrek vs. Monsters Inc.?) If the question of crowning the very best film becomes moot, then the only real function of the awards is to bring some attention to films that deserve it. All three contenders get this distinction, so I wouldn’t cry too much for the two “losers”.

    Tom Knott said, “I’d like to see ‘Persepolis’ win.” That’s different than saying it is “best” or “should” win. I think that’s an honest heartfelt statement from someone who loves animation in all its varieties. I’m sure Brad Bird would love to win, but a “Persepolis” victory (if anyone’s watching) will have a much greater effect on the industry as a whole and could expand that movie’s audience greatly. An Oscar for Ratatouille might get us to pull out our DVD’s for the 5th viewing. Persepolis hasn’t even played in my hometown yet. I’d like a chance to see it. So call me selfish, I’m rooting for Persepolis for the moment.

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    “Gusteau represented Walt Disney.
    His restaurant was his company.
    Skinner was Michael Eisner.
    Linguini represented CGI animation
    Rats represented real animation.
    Remy was Brad Bird and Pixar.”

    It is true that these are issues that folks in the animation industry should possibly take an interest in. Persepolis is a film about very current and very relevant social change, faith, repression, destruction of a society and it’s people, world politics, music and art to name just a few things. It is also funny and entertaining and looks terrific.

    I think it’s great that Ratatouille has touched you. I have already said that I think it’s great.

    But if, as you have suggested, that it’s a film about the current state of commercial animation, doesn’t that seem pretty feeble when compared to the social messages of Persepolis?

  • http://www.sandwichbag.blogspot.com Elliot Cowan

    John Sanford – Perhaps “disposable” was too enthusiastic. For myself I feel that while there are 1000′s of wonderful commercial films, very very few of them do I find enduring.

  • Tom

    I think the fact that there’s even an argument here means we have two (well, three) very solid films in the running. When was the last time there was this much of a heated debate upon which would win? Last year, mocap film won. I don’t even remember the films it was up against. This year? Three really good films, all of which are pure animation. I think we’re lucky that we are even able to have this discussion about these “good” animated films that are considered.

    So regardless of which one wins, it can do nothing but help the animation nation.

    Also, I think since Persepolis is nominated, it’s chances of getting a wider showing has heightened automatically.

  • rachel

    I wish Persepolis had been nominated for best picture . . . then we wouln’t have to worry about all of this (not that Ratatouille isn’t of the same caliber, it’s just that I feel Persepolis’s subject matter would make it a fitting contender for the other nominated films).

    The films are great for different reasons. Ratatouille soars miles above what seems to have become the requisite sitcom schlock, low-blows, cheap pop culture references and otherwise dumbed-down drivel pervading almost every other film of its type through its touching story and gorgeous animation, all the while still fitting the bill of a family-friendly, mass-market, animated movie. Persepolis creates its own world that draws you in immediately, and finds a unique and touching way to tell a very serious story–painting a picture of human joy, suffering, celebration and loss in simple yet stunningly expressive black and white.

    If only we had this problem every year, the film industry would be in a fantastic place indeed.

  • Old Fogey

    Personally I’m rooting for Persatatouille Up! It’s the melodramatic story of a penguin from the middle east who wants to escape his war torn country and eventually cook rats into food while he surfs in France.

  • http://www.sadiethepilot.com Kellie Strøm

    The Oscars have always been at least as much about small p politics as quality. I’m sure any film maker with brains doesn’t look to them for artistic validation. They’re a promotional machine, and Persepolis could use the promotion more than the very very good Ratatouille.

  • http://www.myspace.com/theaftend Allan Turner

    Thanks for your comment, GinnyN. I still think Colette is no better than the princess whose only dream is to get a big wedding dress to go with her big wedding. I think Enchanted did a great job of tackling that cliche.

    Steve P, you make an excellent point.

    I hope I don’t sound like I’m bashing Ratatouille. I thought it was good, not great. Toy Story was another one that was boy-centric. But in Toy Story’s case it didn’t matter–the story was flawless and there was no inadvertant negative messaging. But in Ratatouille, I can’t get past Colette giving up her dreams for storybook love.

    But Scott Morse is right, it’s not a category for little girls. If Eastern Promises was animated (and animated well), I’d vote for it. I bring these points up here because I think they came from the writing and undermined, for me, what Ratatouille could have been.

  • John Tebbel

    Human nature is to choose and make lists but it has nothing to do with what is better or not. Today’s Oscars and AFI lists are about marketing, word of mouth (or web). We’re doing our part.

    p.s. I can’t see Persepolis because in New York it’s at a theater that threw out their union projectionists, an important distinction to me. Liked Ratatouille, can’t figure out why I would want to see Surf’s Up and the producers haven’t so far given me a clue.

  • Katie

    I need to chime in here to Allan that I felt the close to the same way with how they treated Colette in Ratatouille. She really was an admirable to me as a female when she started out but as soon as she melted into that kiss, it just lost a little something special to me. I’m not saying these characters shouldn’t find love, but it just…happened so quick. She just melted into the typical female role in these films…just like that. I won’t lie, I wanted to see the mace in the face and some more spunk, haha. But hey, it’s not my movie.

    There are many different perspectives that many people draw from the same film. Isn’t it more interesting to see views different from your own?

    That aside, I enjoyed both films. Either way I hope the nomination perks the curiosity of moviegoers and Persepolis continues to open at more theaters around the country. I’m all for being entertained, but I also support fighting the ignorance that some people have for the world outside the US.

  • Em

    Hold on, Allan – you’re up on Ratatouille because Colette is a bad character for girls to see, but Toy Story is fine because it’s got a solid story? Sure, it’s got a solid story, but I can tell you that when I was 10 and saw Toy Story, I definitely noticed that Bo Peep was the only girl in it.
    As a little kid, I would definitely be more likely to like and pretend to be Colette (agressive, knives, motorcycle…!) than Bo Peep (passive, stuck to a lamp).

    Bo Peep and Colette are both romantic interests – that’s what their function is in the story, and while it would be great to have a movie about a character like Colette, where she continues on to triumph as a woman in a man’s world, that’s not what Ratatouille is about.

  • Nicholas

    Old Fogey, how dare you spill the plot for DreamWorks upcoming blockbuster “Kung-Fu Panda?” Jeffrey will sue.

  • Blasko

    Not to take away from my deep respect for Pixar and Brad Bird, but Ratatouille left me a bit cold. I had a bit of a hard time with the scene of domestic violence used as a gag (French couple and the handgun), and I completely agree with the folks who took issue with the way Colette was portrayed. I think that the animation community still has a bit of a blind spot when it comes to gender performances and tired stereotypes.

    Ratatouille as good as Persepolis? Honestly, I’m not sure it’s even as good as Rembrandt Films’ Anatole.

  • Matt Sullivan

    I just hope the BEST film wins.

  • Robert Reynolds

    One, Persepolis, just by being chosen as France’s selection for the Academy’s Foreign Language Film category, should encourage the very considerations spoken of here (the general public may not know-or care- that Persepolis got the nod in question, but much of the film industry will). Had it actually made the shortlist of nine or chosen as a finalist for FLF, that would have made it even more plausible that such a “sea-change” could happen, though I have my doubts.

    That Persepolis is a nominee, while Bee Movie, Shrek the Third and Beowulf were not raised to that perch, is the accomplishment. Whether or not it wins is largely beside the point.

    My concern is that Persepolis and Ratatouille will knock one another off and Surf’s Up will win the Oscar.

    I’ll buy Persepolis when it comes out on DVD and hope that either it or Persepolis win the Oscar. But if a nomination alone doesn’t cause a wider release and a larger audience for Persepolis, if the very fact that Persepolis has gotten the attention it has so far doesn’t lead to more consideration of animation as a medium for weightier subject matter, then winning an Oscar won’t do much to improve its propects of doing so in the long run anyway.

  • Bobby D.

    Scott Morse says:
    “Allan- The category it’s up for is BEST ANIMATED FEATURE…not BEST ANIMATED FEATURE FOR LITTLE GIRLS…or even BEST FAMILY ANIMATED FEATURE. ;) ”

    Off topic, can we think about a ban on the wink ;) …or only use it if you actually wink at people when making your point in person. I’m in my forties and I don’t think, outside of Richard Dawson, I’ve ever seen the wink in real life, (other than one being tossed at a girl or guy…tacky in its own right). On the other hand I have only good things to say about the :)

  • Chuck R.

    “My concern is that Persepolis and Ratatouille will knock one another off and Surf’s Up will win the Oscar.”

    I think someone’s been watching too much election ’08 coverage. ;)

    oops…. :) !

  • Bobby D.

    Ha! Now don’t you feel better Chuck? :D

  • http://www.christianziebarth.com Christian

    “I’d like to see ‘Persepolis’ win just because it’s an independent film, and it’s lower-budget.�

    “Well there goes his credibility for me. Who cares about the quality of content, it’s all about politics. Nothing new, but always disappointing.”

    I highly doubt that Amid meant to leave out consideration of Persepolis’ content quality. My understanding is that Amid felt both films had quality content so, in that case, what other factors should be looked at?

  • http://www.jeandenis.net Jean-Denis Haas

    Christian, I’m sure both Knott and Amid are aware of the content quality and I agree that it would be beneficial to Persepolis and the animation industry to win the Oscar. Call me naive or old school or whatever you want, I’m just tired of politics and would like to have movies be judged by their quality only. I know it’s all subjective (is there really true objectivity?).

    Ultimately, the last round of Oscar votes is a total popularity contest. People are not even required to have seen the movie, so a lot of them will go by name, by studio or word of mouth.

    Maybe you guys are right. Since politics are inevitable, why not think about the bigger picture and long term benefits. So maybe Persepolis should win. Unfortunately I haven’t seen it so I won’t/can’t judge it or state my preference.

    But as mentioned before by other commenters, the quality of nominees is high, so that is already a great recognition, no matter what outcome.

  • MadRat

    Persepolis won’t win. Let’s consider how the Academy will view it.

    * Ratatouille is a kids’ movie and animation should always be children’s entertainment

    * An Oscar for Persepolis would make it seem like Hollywood supports George W. Bush’s war on terror

    * Pixar and Disney have always won lots of Oscars

    * All animation is going computer generated, voting for something that looks hand drawn will just make you look like your stuck in the past

    * Just the fact that the Academy considered Persepolis for an Oscar is a honor enough

    * Persepolis is a foreign movie

    * Animated movies should always be rated G or PG

  • http://www.christianziebarth.com Christian

    “I’m just tired of politics and would like to have movies be judged by their quality only.”

    Understood and agreed by all here. The issue is: when two rather different animated films are of equal quality then what factors do you look at beyond that to determine which one wins an award? For an animation fan you might think, “The one that will earn animation in general the most respect outside of the tight confines of animation fandom should win.” I don’t know if it makes a difference but I believe Marjane Satrapy is a fan of Ratatouille.

    I just voted in the feature film category for the Annies and I actually liked all five nominees (and have seen each one theatrically), each in a different way. It was hard to decide how to vote but ultimately there were little, almost imperceptible, factors that guided my decision. Those same kinds of factors coming into play for the whole voting constituency determine the winner. Having said that, I don’t know why I’m pontificating like this when I hardly care about awards shows.

  • http://www.jeandenis.net Jean-Denis Haas

    Good point Christian, you’re right.

  • Jen

    There’s so much politicking that seems to go on with the shortlisting and nomination processes, I’m happy “Persepolis” made it this far. This is by far the most adult nomination we’ve seen in the category so far (and still a PG-13!), and hopefully a step towards breaking down the biases of the Academy towards certain kinds animated films. I hope I’m not the only one who was wincing last year when “Monster House” landed a nomination over “Paprika” and “A Scanner Darkly.” Sure, “Monster House” was a perfectly decent mo-cap film, but an Oscar contender?

    I’m cynical enough to believe that buzz is one of the major indicators of whether a film gets a nomination, and I can only hope that “Persepolis” getting more attention now means that other indie animated pics will get the benefit of their distributors’ marketing machines in the future. Yeah, may the best film win and all, but here’s to hoping that in years to come the suits make sure that the best film gets a fair shot in the first place.

  • Fidel

    I think this is the year to have two films win in a tie. Both films have merit and deserve it, so why not give it to both? Oddly enough, they both have a French Connection (pun intended) which gives them a knock-out mega advantage over the more obviously common Surf’s Up. Yes, the waves looked great, but…what about the plot??

  • Pete

    I too do not think Persepolis stands any chance of winning. For independent animated films there is the award for best short film. The awards Persepolis won at Cannes and other festivals indicate its quality. It would be unfair to compare the two since they were made with a different audience in mind. I am sure that the director of Ratatouille, if given the freedom, could have done a movie as touching as Persepolis.

  • Ale

    I am so tired of this kind of talk. Boo the big bad Hollywood Corporation! Reward the movie that is different and independent!

    I don’t know really what is that you pseudo-critics look forward and enjoy in a movie. A movie is a way to tell a story. Do you like that story and how it was told to you? then you like the movie! and vice versa.

    Which studio made the movie, what is their approach, what character represent what in the studio’s history or politics… Who cares? Since when is animation become the stuff of check out-line magazine gossip?

    There is no war against the big studios, there is no “us versus them”. People keep saying: “Pixar problem is that they tell the same stories… “Dreamworks problem is…” Disney problem is…” You know what guys: there is no problem!

    The Studios goal is to tell stories that can reach and be appreciated by as many people as possible. That’s it. Some time they succeed and make a great movie some time they make lame ones. “Oh but giving an Oscar to a movie like Persepolis can send a message to the industry…etc” no! giving an Oscar to persepolis means (and should mean) well done! you made a great movie. That’s it.

    If a movie like Persepolis was released in the same amount of theaters and with the same marketing as a movie like Finding Nemo, the latter would still have had an audience of about 95% larger then the Former.

    Often I hear people asking head of companies like Katzenberg or Lasseter questions like: Why don’t we make more experimental movies? More Alternative? Different? The answer is an extremely simple one: Because people Don’t like it.

    We can all tell our self that our industry is a noble one, but at the end of the day it follows the same rules of the market: Supply and demand.

    There is indeed a market for “Different” movies, one that we call Independent. which reaches as many people as it can, simply the people that appreciate that kind of projects. As simple as that (there is exceptions in both groups, Huge block busters among the independents and huge flops among the studios).

    As simple as that, People blame the studios for it, “Give the small movies a chance!” they say, some time they go as far as conceiving conspiracy theories, etc.. but at the end of the day there is simply less people appreciating one kind of movie, instead of the other.

    One can say (as One often does) “Well people are morons!” in my opinion those statements insults he who says it, more then those whom the insult was intended for.

    I suggest you to read “Babette’s Feast” by Karen Blixen. The best metaphor for Art ever. In the book there was a dinner with various guests: The Rich and educated ones (snobs perhaps) can understand it, define it, and love it for it. Those who are simple, unpretentious and even ignorant will not know what it is, nor know how to define it, but their emotion will raise, they will feel happy, and will love it.

    I believe this is the rule by which one should judge movies and art in general. Nothing else.

  • ponsonbybritt

    foreign animation is INFERIOR.

  • http://sexymecha.com Hal Forsstrom

    PERSEPOLIS is brilliant, and if only it HAD such a marketing push as RATATOUILLE, I’m sure that it would have been much more successful. I’m glad BABETTE’S FEAST is brought to the table, but the simple person sometimes can be moved by simple humanity, hubris, and sadness – that is the essence of people. Art’s role is not to raise the spirit to happiness, that is the role of entertainment. ALE, I’m afraid your argunment is moot. RATATOUILLE is the better entertainment, no doubt, but we are recognizing great filmmaking, not entertainment. PERSEPOLIS and RATATOUILLE are both important films right now, and its fantastic that two such films touch on the essential humanity and our potential to recognize that regardless of background. What I find hilarious about your statement Ale is that it seems you have seen neither PERSEPOLIS, or you perhaps would recognize a story that transcends race, religion and nationality, nor RATATOUILLE, where the role and importance of the Critic ( or “snob”) is laid out so perfectly that I have made up my mind: I love RATATOUILLE, and think it is not only Pixar’s greatest achievement but also the greatest film of Brad Bird’s career, and if not for NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN, the best film of 2008, but PERSEPOLIS should win the Oscar, and it is the final words of Anton Ego that ring loud as I proclaim it.

  • Rae

    I don’t think Colette was reduced to a simpering love interest at all. It looked to me as though she headed up the kitchen at La Ratatouille. Her melting into the kiss didn’t take away from her character for me–she and Linguini had a subtle chemistry up until then, IMHO. Linguini listens to and respects her, and she likes him. It shouldn’t be an either/or situation–a successful woman doesn’t have to be a nun, nor should a woman giving in to feelings be thought of as “weak” or whatever.

    Pixar does seem to be lacking in female characters, though. Miyazaki seems to be the opposite.