GKIDS makes a statement this season with two animated feature nominees
Somewhat lost or at the very least under-considered this year when it comes to the Best Animated Feature Film category is the success of indie distributor GKIDS in the field.
As usual, the Oscar is expected to go to the most popular film of the bunch, the film that reached the most eyeballs from a powerhouse studio: Gore Verbinski's "Rango." And a very deserved win it will be. But after getting "The Secret of Kells" in back in 2009 and sitting pretty with not just one but two nominations this year, I'd say GKIDS has become a premier destination for alternative contenders in the medium.
"A Cat in Paris" and "Chico & Rita" are gorgeously rendered stories, the latter particularly engaging with its combination of animation and Cuban music. It's a passionate, adult-oriented ode to a time and place.
But I always wondered what took it so long to find a home. Studios showed some interest back in 2010 (when the film played the festival circuit), but it just kind of floated around, waiting for a buyer for a while. It wasn't even picked up until September of last year, a full 12 months after it first bubbled up at the Telluride Film Festival.
Well, it turns out the company was interested way back then, but it was a process of pulling teeth to bring it into the stable. According to GKIDS president Eric Beckman, who Jeffrey Wells spoke to recently, the company "chased the damn thing for a year, talking mainly to Cinetic, holder of US rights, and getting nowhere. We finally just called producers of the film directly and we had a deal signed in two weeks."
Beckman alludes to parallels with this year's Best Picture frontrunner, "The Artist," which I hadn't really considered. Mainly of note is a chunk of "Chico & Rita" dedicated to film history that stands out for cinephiles, surely (and was one of the main reasons I thought it would appeal to Oscar voters when it eventually did see a release).
Director Fernando Trueba, by the way, is no stranger to the Oscar game. He won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1993 for "Belle Epoch." It's just a shame that it took so long to get this one percolating in the season, because I think more time might have allowed for serious consideration of Bebo Valdés's original music compositions to get some traction.
In any case, hats off to GKIDS for being formidable in a field with the big boys of animation. If you weren't paying attention to them and their Oscar season offerings before, you certainly should from now on.
2013 | Drama | RSummary: Leonardo DiCaprio and Jonah Hill have boundless energy in the story of a real-life commodities crook who earned millions through scummy small-time stock trades.Director: Martin Scorsese
Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie
2013 | Thriller | RSummary: Based on the true story of Daniel Lugo (Mark Wahlberg) a Miami bodybuilder who wants to live the American dream. He would like to have the money that other people have. So he enlists the help of fellow bodybuilder Adrian Doorbal (Anthony Mackie) and ex-convict, Christian bodybuilder Paul Doyle (D...Director: Michael Bay
Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub
1996 | Crime | RSummary: Jerry, a small-town Minnesota car salesman is bursting at the seams with debt... but he's got a plan. He's going to hire two thugs to kidnap his wife in a scheme to collect a hefty ransom from his wealthy father-in-law. It's going to be a snap and nobody's going to get hurt... until people start ...Director: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Cast: William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Steve Buscemi, Peter Stormare
2008 | Science Fiction | PGSummary: Animated series continues the story of Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker as they battle the Emperor Palpatine, Count Dooku and General Grievous, but also takes time to explore other smaller characters in the Star Wars universe.Director: George Lucas (creator)
Cast: Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Matt Lanter
2007 | Comedy | PGSummary: Newlyweds Nick (Ice Cube) and Suzanne (Long) decide to move to the suburbs to provide a better life for their two kids. But their idea of a dream home is disturbed by a contractor (McGinley) with a bizarre approach to business.Director: Steve Carr
Cast: John C. McGinley, Ice Cube, Nia Long, Aleisha Allen
1997 | Crime | RSummary: Quentin Tarantino adaptats an Elmore Leonard novel into this story of a few increasingly desperate people scraping to get by. It has deep soul, a wicked sense of humor, and Samuel L. Jackson, Robert De Niro, Pam Grier, and Robert Forster.Director: Quentin Tarantino
Cast: Pam Grier, Samuel L. Jackson, Robert Forster
1993 | Sports | PGSummary: Emotionally powerful sports classic featuring Sean Astin as a skinny high school kid with big football dreams and the determination to make his way towards his dream team at Notre Dame.Director: David Anspaugh
Cast: Sean Astin, Jon Favreau, Ned Beatty
2013 | Comedy | NRSummary: Insanely funny comedy show created by Amy Schumer, who stars in brilliantly funny sketches about sex, city living, dating, and friendship.Director: Daniel Powell, Amy Schumer (creators)
Cast: Amy Schumer, Kevin Kane, Mike Houston
1995 | Mystery | NRSummary: Denzel Washington plays an out of work WWII vet who takes the wrong job and is soon neck-deep in a mess of politics, murder, and jazz in '40s Los Angeles.Director: Carl Franklin
Cast: Denzel Washington, Tom Sizemore, Jennifer Beals
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