Here’s Wes’ acceptance speech as Weasel from Fantastic Mr. Fox at the recent National Board of Review awards ceremony. It is awesome.
After you watch the high quality version above, you can watch a video from the event embedded after the jump to see how it played in the room.
The Golden Tomato Awards were announced at Rotten Tomatoes today, and the third best reviewed wide release in the U.S. is none other than Fantastic Mr. Fox. The film is just barely behind the hits Star Trek and Up. Hopefully this will encourage people to see the film. Read the full list of winner at Rotten Tomatoes.
In The New York Times today Los Angeles correspondent Brook Barnes takes a look at how Fantastic Mr. Fox is faring in the end-of-the-year awards cycle, and in her estimation it might just have a shot at the top prize.
Full article after the jump.
LOS ANGELES — Figuring out which film will win the Academy Award for best animated feature is usually the easiest part of filling out a ballot for your Oscar pool. Go down the list of nominees — often only three, because so few make the cut — and find the one produced by Pixar. Circle it.
But this year, unexpectedly, animation is becoming a hotly contested race.
The biggest reason is “Fantastic Mr. Fox,” Wes Anderson’s quirky adaptation of the Roald Dahl novel. The film, from 20th Century Fox and the producer Scott Rudin, is soaking up a surprising amount of awards attention.
As a follow-up to our earlier post about the French dub of Fantastic Mr. Fox, below is the trailer for the film. Nearly identical, the only changes apparent to me are a music cue in the middle and the fact that they only list two names for the dub. It’s funny that they seemed to have done some dubbing especially for the trailer as Amalric still says the “Shall we dance?” line, a recurring thing that Wes ended up cutting from the movie entirely after test screenings. After the jump is the poster (identical to the UK version) that curiously lists George Clooney’s name.
Roger Ebert has been compiling a series of the best films of the year, one studio list, one independent, one docuementary, and now, one animated.
The Fantastic Mr. Fox. In an age of limitless computer-generated images, the next of the year’s best animated features also uses the stop-action method that reaches back to “King Kong and before. Wes Anderson’s landscapes and structures are picture-booky. Yet the extraordinary faces of his animals are almost disturbingly human (for animals, of course), and you feel as if Mr. Fox’s fur is strokeable. The film tells a fable about a reformed chicken thief leading a war with the farmers. Read my review.
Fantastic Mr. Fox ranks among some of the more obscure animated films of the year like Sita Sings The Blues and eight more. It’s an interesting list and worth checking out.
Over at Salon, Matt Zoller Seitz (freelance critic, and author of one the earliest and best profiles of Wes, and this incredible series of video essays from earlier this year) has been taking a look at some of the most influential directors of the decade in an on-going series of essays. Seitz’s latest examines the work of Robert Zemeckis and Wes Anderson.
That’s where Wes Anderson comes in. The director of “The Royal Tenenbaums” (2001), “The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou” (2004), “The Darjeeling Limited” (2007) and this year’s Roald Dahl adaptation “Fantastic Mr. Fox” is as much a train-set filmmaker as Zemeckis, Jackson and Lucas, and like Fincher, Paul Thomas Anderson (“Punch-Drunk Love,” “There Will Be Blood”), Zemeckis and Spielberg, he’s one of the few prominent Hollywood filmmakers working in the ’70s auteur tradition — and doing it with a style so distinct that it can never be stolen, only imitated. He’s notorious for fretting over every aspect of his movies, from the texture of the clothes to the precise geometric motion of each shot and camera movement to the choice of on-screen font (he prefers variations of Futura). Detractors describe his style as fussy, overcomplicated, even airless — and if one prefers a messier, more spontaneous kind of filmmaking, or a more “invisible” style of direction, Anderson is almost certainly the opposite of fun.
I won’t mount a defense of Anderson as an exciting, imaginative and important filmmaker in this article, because I’ve already done it in a series of video essays.I mention him in this piece because of two particular aspects of his art. One is his commitment to analog moviemaking. He shoots on film and prefers to do everything, special effects included, on the set rather than create them after the fact. Even when he employs digital effects or processes, he calls attention to their artificiality; think of the obviously stop-motion sea creatures in “Aquatic” — or, for that matter, the unruly, roiling fur on the creatures in “Fantastic Mr. Fox” — which the director insisted be fabricated with hard-to-manage animal hair rather than more controllable synthetic hair, because he just liked how it looked.
Be sure to read the full piece at Salon, and leave your comments below. It’s a great essay, and well worth the read.
3.Fantastic Mr. Fox
Wes Anderson’s lovingly hand-crafted, stop-motion adaptation of Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr. Fox radiates pure joy. Taking its cues from George Clooney’s charming vocal performance as a dashing rogue of a fox who goes to war with a trio of nasty farmers after they destroy his family’s home and rob him of his tail, the film revels in language, music, dance, friendship, and family. It’s a film of dazzling verbosity and meticulous perfectionism, filled with loveable characters and quotable dialogue. Balancing its director’s trademark melancholy with irrepressible optimism, Anderson’s best film since The Royal Tenanbaums is nothing short of life-affirming.
This has been added to our on-going Top-Ten post. If you spot a top-ten list with Fantastic Mr. Fox in it, let us know.