Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee and Peter Del Vecho

FrozenAnyone looking for a safe pick for Best Animated Feature should look no further. Touting the Disney brand, “Frozen” is sure to be a favorite upon Oscar predictors, looking at just the Disney track record alone. With a return to form for the animation studio, complete with two Disney princess additions and several memorable musical numbers, “Frozen” feels like old school Disney and with that, you can’t help but feel it screams Best Animated Feature. Almost every time a Disney film is nominated for an Oscar, it wins. Except for “Wreck-It Ralph” last year, which is from the same studio that produced “Frozen”, for the last three Academy Awards where a Disney film was nominated, it won (“Toy Story 3”, “Up”, and “WALL-E”… “Princess and the Frog” lost to “Up”, however, and “Bolt” lost to “WALL-E”). Most of Disney’s recent wins have come from the ever popular production company, Pixar, which should be noted, as “Wreck-It Ralph”, “Princess and the Frog”, “Bolt”, and “Tangled” (which didn’t even get nominated) were all solo acts from Disney and did not take home their respected prizes. In all honesty, in the history of the Best Animated Feature category (2001), a solo Disney project has never won.

With that, I believe they are due and “Frozen” is just the film to capture that goal for them. The only film possibly standing in its way? Hayao Miyazaki’s “The Wind Rises”, his very last film, and having previously won an Oscar for his animated feature “Spirited Away”, there’s no telling if the Academy will decide to honor his final work. My money will likely be placed on “Frozen” (unless “The Wind Rises” absolutely blows me away) and with its box office total now at a surprising $323, 177,000, I think it’s fair to say that “Frozen” has a much bigger audience than any of its other competitors. Let it also be noted that Pixar’s “Monsters University” was not nominated this year, leaving the playing field wide open. This Chris Buck’s second Academy Award nomination following his work on “Surf’s Up” (2007) and a first nomination for Jennifer Lee.

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“Let It Go” from FROZEN

Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

Frozen-originalsongBoth times that I’ve seen “Frozen”, its highlight ballad, “Let It Go”, (performed by Idina Menzel) has given me goosebumps. The film follows two princess sisters, Elsa and Anna, as they grow up in a castle together. Elsa has the power to produce snow and ice from her hands, but without being able to understand and therefore unable to control it, she is hidden away from the world and even her sister, by her nervous parents, repeating the credo “conceal it, don’t feel it”. With her parents no longer around to protect her and with her eighteenth birthday making her the rightful queen of her kingdom, she is forced to let the people in to greet her. But after a fight with Anna that ends in Elsa revealing her powers to everyone, Elsa runs off to be alone in the mountains. “Let It Go” is a song of finally being free, as Elsa no longer has to conceal her ability. During the song, she produces a majestic ice castle and there’s so much empowerment in her singing and in the words of the song, that you cannot help but be uplifted and transfixed by this strong female presence in front of you. “Let It Go” is composed in such a brilliant way that the film itself is made better by its inclusion, also marking the best song of the bunch. “Frozen” has some competition, however, having been beat at the Golden Globes by U2 for their work on the song “Ordinary Love” from the film “Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom”, “Frozen” has to rise above this and grab the award. Until I see the rest of the nominees, I cannot entirely be sure, but chances are I’ll be putting my money on “Frozen” to go two for two in both its categories. This is Robert Lopez and his wife, Kristen’s first Academy Award nomination, but if Robert wins, he’ll join a very shortlist of composers to win an award in all the major circuits of the American entertainment industry: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony (this known as the EGOT club: see article), making Hollywood history.

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// Produced by Peter Del Vecho  // Directed by Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee //

// Dated Viewed: Saturday, January 18th, 2014 // UA Lacanada Flintridge 8 Theater //  41 films – 44 days //

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