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Why Frozen Deserves an Oscar (or Two)
Though the Oscar race is going to be tight this year in some categories — will Jennifer Lawrence’s Golden Globes win be echoed? 12 Years A Slave or Gravity for Best Picture? There’s one thing I’m certain we’re going to see. Frozen is going to win the Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Why? Here are three reasons:
I admit that this is more of a reason why Frozen is probably a shoe-in for the Best Original Song category (which I also suspect it’ll win, though it definitely has stronger competition there.) Still, because Frozen is a musical, it’d be unfair to divorce the film from its music. The original songs in this movie echo Broadway like nothing that has been created for the silver screen in a long time, particularly in animation, not only in tone and style but also in their sheer ability to convey the emotion and drive of the characters. This is no surprise, however, considering the team that came together to create these musical numbers.
The tracks were penned by Robert Lopez, the composer and lyricist behind award-winning Broadway hits like Avenue Q and The Book of Mormon, and his wife Kristen Anderson-Lopez, who collaborated with him previously on Disney’s Winnie the Pooh and Finding Nemo the Musical. The duo’s songwriting talent is accentuated by the prowess of the vocal cast.
Particularly gleaming among a list that includes Broadway stars like Josh Gad and Jonathan Groff is none other than Idina Menzel, famous for her roles in Rent and Wicked among others. Menzel puts her musical theater chops to excellent use as Frozen’s snow queen, Elsa, belting out a fantastic solo piece in the showstopper Let it Go. Seriously, though, watch that video. And forget what I said before about the stiff competition for Best Original Song — it’ll win.
In order for a film to win Best Animated Feature, it needs to be visually impressive. Frozen does not disappoint. From the film’s first moments, viewers are transported far away from their theater seat to the kingdom of Arendelle, this land of ice and snow. But it is not just the feeling of being immersed in a new world that thrills; also, it is the animators’ sheer attention to artistic detail. Every snowflake feels breathtakingly real (especially with the added depth of 3D, which worked better for this movie than most); every shard of ice is as crystalline and brilliant as it would appear in nature. For that sort of true-to-life rendering, the artists behind Frozen definitely deserve the Oscar.
At the heart of Frozen is the tale of two sisters, Anna and Elsa, each with their own challenges to face as they grow up. Elsa struggles to keep her ice powers under control and cope with her isolation from society because of them. Anna deals with the loneliness of a life apart from her sister, a life imposed upon her because of Elsa’s fear of hurting her. However, when Elsa’s secret is revealed, the sisters’ world gets turned upside down, with Elsa inadvertently triggering an eternal winter she can’t control and fleeing Arendelle in shame. As Anna races to get her sister back, she embarks on an adventure that will teach both her and Elsa important lessons about acceptance, family, love, and sacrifice.
Naturally, Frozen offers those lessons up to its audience as well, showcasing a storyline not unlike last year’s Brave in its preference of familial love over the traditional romantic sort. Some might say that it’s less forward than Brave in that Frozen doesn’t neglect romance altogether, but nonetheless the sisterly bond between Anna and Elsa truly takes center stage in the film, and that’s certainly worth lauding.
Don’t get me wrong, there were definitely things in Frozen I wasn’t thrilled with — from the underdeveloped/slightly out of place trolls to the fact that Jonathan Groff’s Kristoff only had one song. Frozen has its share of flaws. But what movie doesn’t? The award isn’t for “Perfect Animated Feature,” it’s simply for the best that’s come out this year, and Frozen is without a doubt the best animated film we’ve got. Oh, and I wouldn’t worry too much about those flaws — I’d bet you that Disney works all the kinks out by the time Frozen’s getting looked at for Tonys.