HOW, exactly, did everything turn not so “awesome” for “The LEGO Movie”? Until this morning, when the commercial and critical hit was snubbed by the Academy (except for its snappy song), everything had clicked into place, including:
* The Warner Bros. animation built around the plastic toy (and a quasi-anti-conformist message) had built up a towering box office — grossing more than a quarter-billion domestically, and nearly half-a-billion worldwide, on a reported $60-million production budget.
* The film proved so popular that not one but two offshoots are in the works: 2017’s “The LEGO Batman Movie” and the slated-for-2018 sequel, “The LEGO Movie 2.”
* “The LEGO Movie” scored highly with critics (a strong “83” on MetaCritic) and viewers (a straight-“A” grade on CinemaScore and a “7.9” on imdb.com).
* The film garnered praise within the animation industry, receiving five Annie Award nominations, including for writing, directing and effects. It also received an ACE nod for editing.
* “The LEGO Movie” was a Golden Globe nominee for Best Animated Feature Film. (It lost Sunday night to “How to Train Your Dragon 2.”) It had landed a BAFTA nomination.
Even with no Pixar release last year, “The LEGO Movie” would seem the victim of an Oscars tendency to spread the wealth between 2D and 3D contenders each year — and between CGI and old-school artists who favor stop-motion and hand-drawn. This category likes to reward both the big studio hit and the smaller-shop auteur, so “The LEGO Movie” likely needed to edge out “How to Train Your Dragon 2” or Disney’s “Big Hero 6” to nab one of the big-film slots.
And then there’s the fact that this category often reflects an international diversity, as well. Besides the stop-motion “The Boxtrolls” from Oregon-rooted Laika, the other nominees are Studio Ghibli’s gorgeously painted “The Tale of the Princess Kaguya” (Japan) and Tomm Moore’s handcrafted Irish beauty, “Song of the Sea.”
Oh well, one advantage to being a 3-D animator is that you can snap up your own version of the Oscar statuette, as the “LEGO” filmmaker Phil Lord (who co-directed with Chris Miller) did — even as they laugh all the way to the bank:
It’s okay. Made my own! pic.twitter.com/kgyu1GRHGR— philip lord (@philiplord) January 15, 2015
The Academy Awards will be Feb. 22 in Hollywood; the ceremony will be hosted by Neil Patrick Harris.
This is not a tragedy. Congrats to incredible crew and cast of The Lego Movie, who made a classic.— philip lord (@philiplord) January 15, 2015
Congrats to ″Everything is Awesome” though currently the title of the song doesn’t seem especially accurate!— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) January 15, 2015
Imma let you finish but the Lego Movie had one of the best crews of all time. Of all time.— Chris Miller (@chrizmillr) January 15, 2015