Mike Barrier has posted the full text of his interview with Brad Bird on his website MichaelBarrier.com and it’s a highly recommended read. Bird deserves much respect, not only for being an excellent filmmaker, but also for being one of the few industry heavyweights who’s not afraid to speak his mind. One topic he discusses is the Oscar’s flawed category for best animated feature, which is an award that I’ve had reservations about since its inception in 2001. Though well intentioned, it essentially ensures that great animated films like THE INCREDIBLES will never have the opportunity to compete with their live-action counterparts for the Best Picture Oscar. The argument carries a lot more weight coming from a filmmaker like Bird, who could have very easily pocketed a Best Picture nomination this year. Here’s what Bird says:
Bird: I think some voters who may truthfully believe that an animated film is one of the five best of the year may feel like if they nominate you for best animated film they’re off the hook. I certainly don’t want to be complaining – the film has been very well received, and to be nominated for four Oscars is wonderful. But you don’t have to look very deep to see that people treat animation differently. We went through the same thing on The Simpsons with the Emmy award for best comedy…But for a filmmaker who works in animation, when you work so hard to realize a moment, draw the audience in, and tell a story as well as you possibly can in a medium that’s very difficult to master – you feel like it’s the thirties and you’re in the Negro Leagues, or something. You may play some of the best ball, but you’re never going to get to the World Series.
Bird also addresses another one of my pet peeves – the co-director system that most studios employ in the production of animated features nowadays. I made brief note of this issue in a January 8 post, but Bird’s comments are even more pointed:
“…In many cases a studio will put two or three people together as co-directors who may not even like each other or respect each other’s work. It’s used as a way to diffuse power rather than coalesce a vision.”
Powerful words, spoken candidly.
Much props to Bird.
Read the full interview HERE.