Academy Awards 2011: Why Wasn't Despicable Me Nominated for Best Animated Feature?

best animated feature, academy awards 2011
Despicable Me should have been nominated for an Oscar.

I’m spending the evening with my mother, who is pre-gaming the Academy Awards by watching Red, which, according to The New York Times, “features Bruce Willis and a squad of geezers who still know how to fire automatic weapons.”  Heh.  I haven’t seen most of the movies up for an Oscar this year, (though my fingers are crossed for Annette Bening, who was genius as always in The Kids Are All Right).  The majority of the films I saw this year were animated features, which is not surprising, considering that I’m the mother of a 5-year-old.

15 animated films qualified for Oscar nomination this year, but only three were actually nom’d.  Among the qualifying films, I saw Alpha and Omega and Shrek Forever After, both of which I enjoyed.  My daughter saw a few more of the qualified films with other family members: Tangled, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue (a fave of hers) and two of the three nominated films, Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon.  The third film nominated for Best Animated Feature is The Illusionist, directed by Sylvain Chomet of The Triplets of Belleville, the 2003 film that was also nominated for Best Animated Feature.  The trailer for The Illusionist is appealing, and the movie seems illustrated in the same rich and lush way Belleville was.  While I’m sure The Illusionist is lovely, there are only two animated films I watched more than once in the last year, and they are Fantastic Mr. Fox (nominated for Best Animated Feature last year) and Despicable Me, which is unfortunately not nominated for an Oscar in 2011 despite boasting a great script and a super-talented cast.

If you haven’t seen Despicable Me, the plot is a bit difficult to explain, perhaps the reason why the movie didn’t fare as well as it should have this year.  I didn’t feel at all compelled to watch the film based on the ad campaign that ran for it, because it didn’t do the story any justice.  Despicable Me is a tremendous movie about love, family and a person’s capacity to change, not an obnoxious cartoon about guns and tiny yellow monsters.  There are a few shoot-’em-up sequences in the movie, but they’re too over-the-top and well, cartoonish, to be taken literally by children.  Steve Carell is epically human in his role as Gru, the villain at the heart of the story, “a criminal mastermind” who “uses a trio of orphan girls as pawns for a grand scheme, (then) finds himself profoundly changed by the growing love between them,” per IMDB.  I certainly think this movie was worthy of a nomination, especially considering that I bet very few American families have seen The Illusionist.

If you haven’t seen Despicable Me, enjoy the trailer and then rent it to watch with the kids.  What other films do you think deserved to be nominated this year that weren’t?

Source: The Wrap