Why didn’t Song of the Sea win an Academy Award?

Do you know that feeling when you think back of a moment that you thought something so unjust was happening, that you can still get totally worked up about it, even though it might be months, years or decades ago? Well, I am currently experiencing it when thinking about the Academy Award ceremony of 2015. What the heck happened there?

I am not even talking about Leonardo DiCaprio not winning one again, cause obviously he is totally winning one this year, I am referring to the award for the Best Animated Feature Film. No shorts, just full length animated movies. The nominees were: The Boxtrolls, How to Train Your Dragon 2, Song of the Sea, Big Hero 6 and The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. Three of these films I had watched: The Boxtrolls (truly mediocre, but original), How to Train Your Dragon 2 (totally should have won) and Big Hero 6 (cute, but had a few weak points).

That was my opinion back then, but this has changed people, this has changed so much! This weekend I have watched Song of the Sea, a brilliant film with perfect animation, amazing music and such a loveable story full of cute characters. I was so impressed by this Irish movie by director Tomm Moore, which is full of mythical stories and creatures without being annoying and too lengthy about them.

Voices with the most adorable Irish accents were done by David Rawle (Ben), Brendan Gleeson (Conor), Fionnula Flanagan (Granny), Lisa Hannigan (Bronach) and Lucy O’Connell (Saoirse). Excellent performances that were a vehicle to make the story move us even more. The most impressive however was the beautiful animation, full of organic shapes, nice gestures and playful elements. I can’t even explain how gorgeous the artwork is, I simply want to have it tattooed all over my body, that is how amazing it is.

It is such a touching story, which includes death, magic, loss, myth and growing up, it is a story about bonds and what I like about it most, how animals and nature are powerful and necessary. It sounds like I am a grandma now by saying this, but with all the electronics around us, sometimes it feels like nature is so far away from us. I used to see ducks around my house everyday, and now I only see people walking their dogs on the streets, there aren’t  many sparrows left either. I love how Song of the Sea incorporated animals into the story so much, and how totally acceptable it felt, even though many of these things would totally not make sense in real life. It just feels right.

So what does not feel right to me, is that this movie has not received the Academy Award for being the best animated movie of 2014. I mean, it is very hard to make it in this business, especially when you are not Pixar (who had nine noms and seven wins for their movies in this category) and you do not have the huge amounts of people and technical aspects available (like RenderMan for example). And let’s not forget about the marketing machine that is Disney. I mean, I love everything Disney, Walt Disney is one of my idols, but let’s be honest: Disney is like Nike; you can try to beat them trying to make even better running shoes, but they have more (advertising) money so eventually they have the power.

Song of the Sea, which is made by Cartoon Saloon, did not really get the marketing methods of other animated movies, which makes it kind of an underdog. Cartoon Saloon is a pretty small company compared to Pixar, and it does not have tons of money to spend on expensive commercials and deals with cinema’s, magazines and what not. Song of the Sea is a bit indie, thanks to its unique style. However, this time the underdog did not win, as it was Big Hero Six that received the award…

I really have trouble comprehending this fact, as I know enough about animated movies to see the huge difference in quality between Big Hero Six and Song of the Sea. Big Hero Six is way less heartfelt, it is so much more mainstream and -sorry Disney-, the story was predictable in so many ways. Song of the Sea to me really is a jewel within the animated movie business. And I LOVE animated movies. Beauty and the Beast is still my favorite movie of all time, with Finding Nemo not far behind it.

But, after this weekend, I can finally tweak my top 10 fave movies of all time again. Though I am not sure about the particular spot yet, I have to have this beautiful film in my list. Not because of feeling pity for it not winning any Academy Awards, but because I truly felt the story, I was amazed by its characters and it simply deserves to be seen by anyone, anytime.



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