News media stories about the Oscars are cropping up all over and all of them are parroting the same factoid: Up is only the second time since the inception of the award that the Academy has nominated an animated film for Best Picture. (The first time was Beauty and the Beast in 1991.) What they should be writing is that today is a milestone day because two animated films were nominated for an Oscar: Up and Avatar.
There is little doubt in the minds of both Brewmasters, Jerry Beck and Amid Amidi, that Avatar will eventually be recognized as an animated feature as more and more films are created using the constantly evolving performance capture animation technique. Within the industry, most already recognize the film as heavily animated, from top feature film animators who wonder why Avatar‘s animators are receiving so little credit for their work on the film to animation union rep Steve Hulett who stated that if, “Avatar isn’t halfway to three-quarters animation, I will eat my computer.” Most importantly, had this film been submitted to the Academy for consideration in the animated feature category, it would have qualified under the Academy’s own rules.
While James Cameron’s publicity machine may be unwilling to acknowledge the extent of animation used in creating Avatar, let us be the first to congratulate Mr. Cameron on his nomination for his groundbreaking piece of animation.