‘Fox’ vs. ‘Up’

Posted by · 1:09 pm · January 12th, 2010

UpI can’t help but wonder if there are some hard-working publicists out there getting in the ear of a few people, since we’ve had two pieces in as many days calling the race for Best Animated Feature a potential upset waiting to happen.

Anyway, first, at The New York Times, Brooks Barnes uses LAFCA and NYFCC wins for Wes Anderson’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” over Pixar’s “Up” as a basis for determining the race is bending in the Roald Dahl adaptation’s favor.  Sasha Stone notes the mantra, however: critics don’t vote for Oscars.  Barnes then goes on publish fluffy quotes from vested interests that don’t really make the case one way or the other.

Meanwhile, at The Hufington Post, Sam Wasson notes that “Fantastic Mr. Fox” manged to force Anderson “out of his world of decadence and ushered him toward a more economical, barebones approach to story.”  Which could go a long way for him with the Academy, Wasson seems to suggest, since his recent work has been a bit inaccessible and it’s been almost a decade since the writer/director was recognized by the organization.

In fairness, “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is well-liked within the Academy and could indeed give “Up” a run for its money.  I don’t really know why it’s such a hot topic at the beginning of the week, but we’ll probably know more on February 2, because if Anderson and co-writer Noah Baumbach manage to get a nomination for their screenplay, then these columnists might have something to work with in their arguments.

Thoughts?




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38 responses so far

  • 1 1-12-2010 at 1:16 pm

    aspect ratio said...

    Based on film quality alone, Fantastic Mr. Fox should certainly be able to give Up a run for it’s money. But speaking of money, that is also a factor that plays a part whether we like it or not, and Up has made $300m domestically while Fantastic Mr. Fox more or less flopped at $18m on a $40m budget. If Fantastic Mr. Fox had done better monetarily I would say it actually would have a very good shot (I can imagine some are a bit tired of almost defaulting the win to Pixar) but as is I think Up will have no great trouble taking home the Oscar.

  • 2 1-12-2010 at 1:18 pm

    The Irishman said...

    If I may make a confession, I honestly thought “Ponyo” was going to give “Up” a run for its money, since I can’t think of anyone besides Miyazaki who might have the capacity to trade body-blows with Pixar. I frankly don’t see “Up” losing, though; I mean, their only loss before was with “Cars”, which I liked but is generally considered a lesser effort, as opposed to “Up”, which is, critically, making “Finding Nemo” look like “The Love Guru”.

  • 3 1-12-2010 at 1:22 pm

    daveylow said...

    I think journalists are just trying to make the Oscar race a bit more interest. If the juggernaut that is Up weren’t in the race, then I think Fox would have a good shot at winning. But even if it loses, I think it’s helped Anderson’s reputation and that the film will become a classic in the years to come. After seeing it a second time, I’m convinced of that.

    So if critics don’t vote for Oscars, does this mean that The Hurt Locker will lose big time, since it’s the critics’ darling?

  • 4 1-12-2010 at 1:23 pm

    McAllister said...

    I would rather see Fantastic Mr. Fox get a Best Picture nomination than Up. It’s certainly in my top 10 of the year, above Up. But that won’t happen.

  • 5 1-12-2010 at 1:28 pm

    david said...

    My favorite animated film this year is Coraline. But I know that it has no chance of winning.

  • 6 1-12-2010 at 1:30 pm

    Andrew said...

    Agree with McAllister. Fox should be nominated for BP and win Animated Feature.

  • 7 1-12-2010 at 1:32 pm

    Robert Hamer said...

    Glad to be among fans of Mr. Fox.

  • 8 1-12-2010 at 1:33 pm

    Nel said...

    I did ‘little cousin’ duty in going to see UP. I really wasn’t expecting much and especially wasn’t expecting to cry like a new born.

    Fox, I went to see out of choice and enjoyed it as it really was more of an animated feature aimed at adults imho and being a Dahl fanatic adored it to pieces.
    However emotionally, UP has stayed with me, while Fox is more a wry grin but I can’t really say which I would choose.

  • 9 1-12-2010 at 1:38 pm

    The Irishman said...

    I do think it’s fairly interesting that three of the year’s best animated films, “Fox”, “Up”, and “Coraline” can be so easily enjoyed/related to by adults (the latter kind of by default, since, let’s be honest, no child under ten has any business seeing it.) I understand that any decent kids’ film will have stuff for adults to enjoy to, but these almost seem like the reverse, movies for adults that children can get into.

  • 10 1-12-2010 at 1:43 pm

    Chris said...

    Up till a couple of weeks ago I thought “Coraline” would be the one to beat “Up”, but now I actually do think it could be “Fantastic Mr Fox”. Anyway, I really see “Up”‘s chances of a Best Pic nod diminishing. If it doesn’t get a Best Pic nod, the race might be open – if it does it’ll win Best Animated, just like “Babel” or “Finding Neverland” won for Score.

    Only question is: have enough people seen “Fantastic Mr Fox”? I doubt it.

  • 11 1-12-2010 at 1:43 pm

    David said...

    I’ve been a “Fox” supporter from the beginning, and even though I know that it is more-or-less false hope, I enjoy seeing people at least talk about this. I am in no way expecting it to overtake “Up” (which happened to be my favorite movie through the summer releases), but it is nice to see that people care enough about it talk about it this way.

    @Irishman: Pixar also lost out to “Shrek” in the first year that Animated Feature Film was up as a category — an interesting note to make… “Monster’s Inc.” was from Pete Docter, who is also at the helm of “Up.” It would be interesting if Oscar eluded him twice. Not going to happen, though.

    Hopefully all of the awards buzz around “Fox,” which I think is going to walk away with an Adapted Screenplay nomination to match the Original Screenplay nomination that “Up” will secure, and it will make back a lot of its budget with DVD and Blu-Ray sales. It deserves to at least break even.

  • 12 1-12-2010 at 1:45 pm

    The Irishman said...

    OH, I completely forgot about “Monsters Inc”! I got confused because I remembered “The Incredibles” beating “Shrek 2”.

  • 13 1-12-2010 at 1:52 pm

    Dylan said...

    I thought Spirited Away beat Shrek…

  • 14 1-12-2010 at 1:59 pm

    Adam Smith said...

    @Dylan: Spirited Away was 2002–the year after Shrek.

  • 15 1-12-2010 at 2:15 pm

    Estefan said...

    I’m still disappointed that The Princess and the Frog doesn’t have a bigger shot as of all of the nine animated features I saw this year, that was far and away my favourite.

    I won’t be too annoyed if Up and Ponyo win, since they’re also in my top ten of the year, but I didn’t love Fantastic Mr Fox like a lot of people did, despite my love for Anderson, Dahl and stop-motion animation.

    But, nonetheless, it’s a shame that people aren’t taking The Princess and the Frog seriously, especially when its Disney first truly classic film since Lilo & Stitch.

  • 16 1-12-2010 at 2:47 pm

    Cde. said...

    I agree with Estefan. I saw The Princess and the Frog yesterday and had a blast.
    I enjoyed it a lot more than Up.

  • 17 1-12-2010 at 2:59 pm

    The InSneider said...

    First, let me just say that the first 15 minutes of UP were probably the best 15 minutes of any movie this year. Having said that, the rest of the movie was completely forgettable. I know there was a talking dog, a colorful bird, an annoying boy scout and a rascally old man. That’s about it. Aside from that prologue and Giacchino’s score, nothing about that story stood out for me. I remember really liking it upon leaving the theater but it just hasn’t sat that well with me in the months since. Then again, I have atypical Pixar tastes. Thought Wall-E was OK. The Incredibles was a little better. For me, I’ll take the Toy Story movies, Monsters Inc. and Ratatouille any day.

    Anyways… here’s MY question for Mr. Kris Tapley. I am looking at your Original Screenplay predictions and for months I completely agreed. It seemed like a done deal, especially if It’s Complicated was the presumed alternate at #6. (Yikes!) But now Avatar has a WGA nomination. It may not mean much since so many scripts were ineligible but still, it has one. Now I had a lot of problems with Avatar’s screenplay, as did half of the Internet. For me, it wasn’t that the story was derivative or unoriginal, it was the characters and how I really didn’t like or care about a single one of them except for maybe Neytiri. But the movie is doing record-breaking business at the box office and questions have been asked like, How can a movie that makes that much money not have a good screenplay? It must have a decent screenplay if so many people all over the world are paying to see that story, and coming away, in some cases, profoundly moved, right? I understand the logic to this argument… So, given how much money it’s made, is it possible that Avatar sneaks into the Best Original Screenplay field, and if it is possible, what does it replace?… The Hurt Locker and Basterds have to be presumed safe, as they will also have Best Picture nominations. Now Tapley and I are also predicting Best Pic nominations for A Serious Man AND Up, neither of which I’d consider a lock. I really didn’t like A Serious Man but it seems like a safe bet at #3 in this category because the Academy loves the Coens and it was a challenging work and a lot of people, Tapley included, loved it. So now it’s a toss-up between 500 Days of Summer and Up. 500 Days is in my opinion the most inventive screenplay of the year. It took a stale genre and breathed new life into it with its unique structure. I thought it was smart and sexy and funny and sad and in short, wonderful. Tapley really didn’t like the movie and many others I’ve spoken to felt it was too hipster and twee and what not. It seems like a love it or hate it kinda movie. And that’s why it MAY get a Best Picture nom and it MAY NOT. Up, on the other hand, seems to be universally well-liked and almost assured of a BP slot now that there’s 10. Of course, being animated is always a handicap, I think. But right now, I’m sensing a crack in Pixar’s armor and I could see Avatar getting the Original Screenplay nom over UP. Thoughts?

  • 18 1-12-2010 at 3:01 pm

    The InSneider said...

    Sorry for the long-winded diatribe. I have WAY too much time on my hands, gang. Just wanted to start a discussion about whether Best Original Screenplay is a locked field or whether Avatar is knocking on the door as the blockbuster threat.

  • 19 1-12-2010 at 3:45 pm

    Mike said...

    I’m glad to see other people liked “The Princess and the Frog”. If there were any justice, it would be winning song, score, and animated feature. Such a great movie.

  • 20 1-12-2010 at 4:08 pm

    Jess said...

    Up should totally win. Pixar ftw! :)

  • 21 1-12-2010 at 5:10 pm

    David said...

    Up is the likely winner. While Fox has it’s share of recognitions, Up’s recognitions cast a much bigger shadow which includes a PGA nomination not just for animation, but for feature film as well.

    I thoroughly enjoyed both films. Personally, UP resonates with me more so to this day than Fox. I do see this scenario unfolding. Up gets a Best Picture nomination (Wall-E snub, It’s Pixars time/they “owe” them, and UP is a great film to boot) and when time comes to filling in their final ballots, many voters will see UP’s Best Picture nod as a “win” in itself and thus vote for either Fox/Frog/Coraline for animation (I don’t think Frog is the defacto winner if UP doesn’t win). In that case UP “wins” and so does another animated film.

  • 22 1-12-2010 at 5:13 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    InSneider: I moved 500 Days back into the predicted original screenplays this week when The Messenger didn’t get a WGA nod. So I’m sticking with that, for now. However, I think Avatar is the #6 spot and threatening hard for a nomination. No way Up doesn’t get nominated. I’d say it’s even safer than Basterds, and ultimately, a threat to win in the category.

  • 23 1-12-2010 at 5:13 pm

    David said...

    Oops..it should’ve said “I don’t think Fo is the defacto winner if UP doesn’t win.”

  • 24 1-12-2010 at 5:14 pm

    David said...

    Fox…damn

  • 25 1-12-2010 at 5:44 pm

    Danny said...

    I too like Wes Anderson movies, animation and Rhoald Dahl, but sorry to say Fox rubbed me the wrong way. I would not welcome it winning the Animation Award or receiving a screenplay nomination.

  • 26 1-12-2010 at 5:57 pm

    Joel said...

    I’m on the “Fantastic Mr. Fox” train, actually. Yes, “Up” was more emotionally resonant. But I thought “Mr. Fox” was a more remarkable and original experience. It was refreshing and full of life. And the comedy was smarter than that of “Up,” admittedly.

  • 27 1-12-2010 at 6:00 pm

    Jason Travis said...

    “Up” is not only the best animated film of the year, it’s the Best Picture. No other film came close to capturing true human emotion, comedy and adventure. But Pixar is always taken for granted for being consistent (“Cars” doesn’t count).

    But if we’re talking about the topic at hand, “Up” will win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. “Fantastic Mr. Fox” didn’t do so “fantastic” at the box-office: a pitiful $19 million domestic, compared to “Up”‘s gigantic $293 million. Why didn’t Anderson get the public to the theaters? Obviously something made people not want to see it- it had over 2,000 theater counts.

  • 28 1-12-2010 at 9:42 pm

    tintin said...

    UP! UP! UPPPPPPP!

  • 29 1-12-2010 at 10:03 pm

    Glenn said...

    “Fantastic Mr Fox” was, without a doubt, the most pleasant surprise of the year for me. I adored it like nothing else this year (it’s in my top five of the year so far, but with still plenty to see) and if it somehow managed to usurp “Up” as the winner then I’d be ecstatic. Especially since I’m not as keen on “Up” as I have been for all other Pixar titles. I actually think it’s the weakest Pixar film yet (yeah, even weaker than “A Bug’s Life”, the film almost everybody claims as their weakest). I would be disappointed if they gave the award to “Up”, and the Best Picture nomination along with it, when there were far more inventive, original and wonderful titles released in animation this year than ever before (“Fox”, “Mary and Max”, “Coraline”, etc).

  • 30 1-12-2010 at 10:53 pm

    Lee said...

    UP is pretty much locked for a Best Picture nomination along with a screenplay nomination. That pretty much portends to it winning animated feature.

    It is plausible though what an earlier poster says that with a Best Pic nod, that could be considered by voters as a “win” for UP and may move them to vote for another animated film for the Animated Oscar.

    For the record though, I loved UP, Coraline, Princess and the Frog, and Fantastic Mr. Fox. However, none of them can carry Wall-E’s cooler nor lace his threads.

  • 31 1-12-2010 at 10:58 pm

    Sarah El said...

    Fantastic Mr. Fox is a fun, playful romp and great for Wes Anderson, and all things considered makes it good competition for Up. However, looking at the movies by themselves, without thinking “god, we’re so tired of Pixar winning” and “wow, isn’t this great for Wes Anderson?” I will undeniably straight-off say that Up is a far better movie. I enjoyed Fantastic Mr. Fox and I’d see it again, maybe rent it. But I went out to see Up again in theatres as a split-second decision, just because I remembered how wonderful it made me feel. Pixar is on top and has won so many awards for a REASON: they make beautiful, moving, funny, and excellently crafted films. I’ll be happy to see Fantastic Mr. Fox nominated at the Oscars, but I’d be pissed if it beat out Up.

  • 32 1-13-2010 at 1:42 am

    Al said...

    Is Fox a better chance than Up at the Globes?

  • 33 1-13-2010 at 6:14 am

    frank said...

    I’d call the battled between Fox and Up almost a wash, with Fox getting points for being outside the box (read: not Pixar) and Up getting points for boxoffice.

    I do wonder if Docter’s loss for Monster’s Inc. will factor in here. That was a rich film that I still believe was unfairly beat. The man has made two of the best 20 or so animated films of the decade. This may factor in.

  • 34 1-13-2010 at 6:34 am

    revoir said...

    Ok I want to put this this way… My hopes are still high for “CORALINE”….. This animated film was shown fisrt quarter of this year (I remember, Oscar season last year) and it still has buzz up to this moment. Furthermore, it was the most nominated film at the Annie’s…. It also won best animated feature at the San Francisco Film Critics’ Awards and was hailed one of the top 10 fils of 2009 (with “Up” in the list as well)..

    This was also my hopes for “Happy Feet” last 2007 Oscars when it beat “Cars”…. And I was happy for it..

    For the record, I love “Up”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “Princess and the Frog” and “Ponyo” way better than “Cars” but “Coraline” definitely proves itself worthy of the golden statuette…

  • 35 1-13-2010 at 7:22 am

    RJNeb2 said...

    UP should win if only for the character of Dug alone. What a great comic gift he was. “Fox” had its smarts and made me laugh, but Dug stole my heart.

  • 36 1-13-2010 at 7:56 am

    Joseph said...

    I’m a FOX fan as well. Would love for it to be a Best Picture nominee. The dog, the bird, the latter part of UP knocked points off for me. I was thrilled that in acting critics wins – Clooney and Streep were being cited for FOX as well. I would also nominate Clooney for Best Actor for FOX. Love that it’s being talked about like this, but still think it’s UP’s to lose.

  • 37 1-13-2010 at 12:59 pm

    Me. said...

    Up will win.

  • 38 1-13-2010 at 1:18 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    EW chimes in. Clearly someone’s cracking the PR whip for “Fox”:

    http://movie-critics.ew.com/2010/01/12/up-vs-the-upstart-mr-fox/