Oscar-Nominated Animation Shorts Gets No Respect in People Magazine

As an animation supporter, it’s moments like this that makes you shake your head and wonder why you even try. In a single magazine paragraph, People magazine managed to perpetuate two of the most persistent misconceptions about animation—that it is a medium exclusively for kids and that it has to be ‘fun’:

Your kids can get into the spirit of awards season too, with the five animated shorts nominated for Oscars. Maggie Simpson battles a bully in The Longest Daycare (which played with Ice Age 4 last year), while Paperman (the intro to Wreck-It Ralph) features a copule brought together by paper airplanes. The rest of the mini movies are a touch more experimental but no less fun. See them all together now in theaters, or on iTunes or On Demand Feb. 19.


  • http://twitter.com/CartoonPalooza Joseph Patrick

    God forbid a short tries to experiment with the medium to tell stories in new ways… but HEY, at least WACKINESS ENSUES!!!!!!!

  • http://twitter.com/A113Animation A113Animation

    Absolutely disgraceful. Completely disrespectful to the talented crews who made the films. Although, what do we expect from a magazine like People?

    Sidebar: I think that should say “Oscar Nominated” in the title?

  • Stefan

    Well, that’s People Magazine for you. It’s more a mindless gossip rag than it is a legitimate form of publication. I don’t expect The Econimist-level writing from or even Newsweek, for that matter. They’re more pre-occupied with which celebrity is sleeping with whom over serious critical analysis and respect for the film form.

    • http://twitter.com/BeamishKinowerk Beamish Kinowerks

      When Peter Travers is the best film critic you’ve had, you know your magazine has no credibility.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_MJHROFTWF2IPJDFXY6OPOUZIA4 stavner

    Why? It’s People magazine, that’s why.

  • Motherbrainer

    such a sad preconception that only reveals the enormous ignorance from the people who works in that kind of “news” businnes … a shame.

  • http://www.facebook.com/spacezoomer Jack Kelley

    Ugh. If I have to read one more patronizing article that promotes not just mainstream animation, but THE ENTIRE ANIMATION MEDIUM as for kids and ONLY kids, I will eat my hat. Seriously, could you be any more ignorant? Winsor McCay was making cartoons about sinking ships ships and elderly couples refusing to pay their bills. IN THE 1920s. Why do people assume that all animation is for kids? It makes me sick. I’m normally a pretty mellow person, and it takes a lot to get under my skin, but when someone outright labels animation as a medium exclusively for kids, nothing irks me more than that. Same thing with the assumption that animation meant for adults is nothing but swearing and toilet humor and graphic violence and lots of sex. It’s so dumb. Just because an animation can be mature doesn’t mean it has to stoop to such lows as all that. “Oh, let’s make a cartoon for adults! It’s easy! Just take a dump in a bowl and make a series out of it! Brilliant!” I swear to god. I’m so mad at this article I wish I could punch it. But instead, here’s a quote from Don Hertzfeldt, one of the most creative and innovative animators in the industry today.

    “An animated film is not just a random series of mindless, self-indulgent, violent, cartoon images meant only to be enjoyed by young children or people with mental handicaps, but is a serious, valid art medium all unto itself in which the artist is free to explore the purity of the medium, down to each and every single frame.”

    Well said, Mr. Hertzfeldt. Man. Someone should turn this around. And if no one else will, then I will. I’m out.

  • Cory

    “Your kids can get into the spirit of awards season too, with the five animated shorts nominated for Oscars.” “TOO”, which means kids are INCLUDED. “The rest of the mini movies are a touch more experimental but no less fun.” NO LESS FUN, I doubt they are knocking those other animations. The say they are just as entertaining, but because they are more experimental, there is a chance kids might not follow them. Like Fresh Guacamole, pretty sure most children wouldn’t even get that it is animation. Maggie Simpson and Paperman are animations that are easily more accessible to kids and are styles that kids recognize. The other nominated shorts don’t even seem somewhat targeted towards children. Not to say kids can’t watch these other films but come on…way to overreact to a paragraph.

    • http://twitter.com/ChriSobieniak Chris Sobieniak

      If i was a child, I’d be happy if I saw anything animated that was said to be “experimental” as filler on Showtime 30 years ago!

  • Brian C.

    And here I was thinking that shorts like “Adam and Dog” were trying to be substantive and tell a story in a touching and beautiful way. Thanks for clearing that up, People Magazine!

  • Jason

    Looking at some zombie gossip magazine and expecting them to write an articulate piece on animation is like jumping off the top of a skyscraper with no chord or parachute and expecting to live.

  • Paulie J. Waddle

    These same people slammed “ParaNorman” as “too scary for young children.”

    • http://twitter.com/BeamishKinowerk Beamish Kinowerks

      My favorite People review has to be their negative review of DRIVE (2011) that cited Ryan Gosling’s reticent character as a means for avoiding the film. These idiots just don’t understand ANY films.

    • wgan

      but that one IS scary for little kids

      • Paulie J. Waddle

        Right. But they pretty much gave it a bad review soley (sic) based off the fact that it was “too scary for little ones.”

      • Paulie J. Waddle

        Right. But giving a movie a bad review based off the fact it’s too scary for the target audience is plain asinine!

    • http://www.facebook.com/JoeyCorrao Joe Corrao

      It kinda was

  • http://twitter.com/jenhurler Jen Hurler

    I’m torn between wanting to throw a tantrum for the lack of respect as an art form rather than a genre and just not giving a shit because it’s People magazine.

    • Joel

      I tend to lean toward the latter option, myself.

  • Roberto González

    The ‘article’ can get a pass in the sense they pick the more kid friendly ones like Maggie’s and Paperman -even though they both aren’t only interesting for children- to express that kids can also get involved in the ceremony…but it’s odd that they picked the short cathegory instead of the animated feature in the first place, cause usually the first one includes more ‘experimental’ pieces like they say while this year all the feature nominations are apt for children. It’s a extremely short and silly commentary either way to really get any information about the nominated pieces whatsoever. And kids are not very interesting on watching the Oscars anyway. I doubt any kid will celebrate if Maggie or Wreck-It-Ralph wins the Oscar or whatever. They just take the blu rays and watch the movies over and over.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Robert-Holmen/562023961 Robert Holmén

    That appeared in print? Don’t worry, no one saw it.

    • http://twitter.com/spitandspite Abel Salazar

      (slow clap)

  • Aromorman

    Expecting People Mag to do an intelligent article about animation is about as likely as expecting them to produce a real news story or hire intelligent writers….

  • http://www.facebook.com/frankenollies Christina Skyles

    I clicked on here expecting a bunch of animation fans overreacting over a dumb joke or whatever, but jiminy jeepers that blurb is patronizing. :|

  • Ben

    I’m proud to write and draw cartoons for a living. It is who I am. Others may see it as childish and nonsensical and naive, but I don’t really care. I am doing with my life what I want to do.
    I hope to one day work in animation and make cartoon films for all ages…because that’s the great thing about animation. It stretches across all generations.
    Its fine if they don’t want to take it seriously, as long as the people working in animation are.

  • http://www.facebook.com/christian.bermejo Christian Bermejo

    It’s a long battle ahead. That’s why we need more animation buffs writing in mass and mainstream media. Not a fan either, but let’s face it, they write what they know.

  • Mac

    For most of history, almost no one could read. You worry about these peasants, when all these peasants see is the peasant product you are giving them. They missed the art movies, and fail to appreciate the craft. Most people who work are dealing with the peasant marketplace, but VFX animators don’t have this problem. It’s the “cartoon guys” and the cartoon enterprise that have this baggage in culture and industry. Have we already passed “peak cartoon guy?”

  • Mikeg

    What do you expect? The Academy also thinks animation is for kids. Why else do you think they nominated Jimmy Neutron instead of Waking Life, and Waltz with Bashir made it into the ” Foreign Language” category but not the “Animated Feature” one?

  • Deaniac

    Well, you made the first mistake by treating a tabloid magazine as a legitimate news source.

  • jonhanson

    In fairness, People isn’t exactly the kind of magazine you go to for insight into any art form.

  • Satorical

    Your kids can get into the spirit of awards season too!

    “Mommy, what’s that between Adam’s legs?”

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Rachael-Ferguson/517592416 Rachael Ferguson

    what do you expect? this is people magazine writing this rubbish! they wouldnt know anything about animation.

  • Spencer

    I’m boycotting People. That’s just rude.

  • Gary Schwartz

    Animation had always been considered the bastard child of the film industry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/james.vandam.7 James VanDam

    I hope that one day Animation get’s the respect it deserves in this country.

  • http://www.facebook.com/fernanda.aiub Fernanda Aiub

    And they also talk like only The Longest Daycare and Paperman matter, since they say the other shorts are more experimental but no less fun but don’t even mention their names.

  • Destiny

    this is so sad.

    Unfortunately I think most people think this way.

  • http://twitter.com/coldmilk coldmilk

    Patronizing as the wording is, I wouldn’t really consider any of the shorts to be inappropriate for children and the 40 minute or so running time could be good for the younger set. Even if the article down talks the sophistication of the art form, I still think it would be good for any parent to expose their children to a few short films that don’t solely exist to sell things to them.

  • debbie thompson

    Animation is art. I guess that is just too highbrow for People Magazine.

  • http://www.facebook.com/pista9 Bernardo Valenzuela Torres

    great, saying that kids like animation it’s a disrespect to the medium (because it implies that it’s only for them). And thiking that it has tu be “fun” is a misconception (man, that’s drepressing)

    really, What we had become? Are animation fans THAT touchy and misunderstood? I use to think that people that love cartoons had great sense of humor, now we get ofended because a magazine says that cartoons are fun. people that think that cartoons are only for kids are never going to be convinced, but getting this touchy will only alienate this community from others, the same way the anime community did it.

  • Noah Eckenrode

    I spoke to Disney producer Don Hahn about this.He told me “I’m not sure anyone gets any respect in People magazine. We do it ’cause we love it. That’s all that matters. Don’t need anyone else to approve!”