Ah, Finding Dory. The highest grossing animated film of 2016 and the sequel to one of the most beloved films of all time. Why has it not gotten any major awards?
Seriously, it’s only won at the People’s Choice Awards and the Teen Choice Awards. Not very major. It did not make a big splash at the Annie’s and only time will tell if it will win anything at the Visual Effects Society. It got snubbed at the Golden Globes (for Sing of all movies) and again at the Oscars.
I’m a little miffed. What gives? I mean, it’s not like people hate the movie, it has a 94% critical score and 85% audience score on rotten tomatoes (the only people who seem to hate the movie are IMDb reviewers, but honestly, IMDb reviews are where humanity and good taste go to die). Why is it not getting any serious recognition?
Well, I have a two theories.
One, and perhaps the most major one, is Pixar sequel/prequel fatigue. When people want to watch a Pixar film, they’re hoping for something completely original, nothing derivative, familiar, or continuing of a previous project. The only sequels that people honestly want are Toy Story and The Incredibles sequels. Notice how, after Toy Story 3, no other Pixar sequel/prequel has been nominated for an Oscar or won any awards. The last Pixar movie to win an Oscar was Inside Out, an original movie. The message is pretty clear.
Second is that, honestly, Zootopia is eating up all the praise. This is actually a trend I’ve noticed throughout the years; ONE animated film would typically get all the recognition and praise and awards, while the rest would get a passing glance. That’s not really fair. 2016 had a lot of good animated movies, but because Zootopia is original and has a ~*timely message*~ (that people apparently forgot when it was time to vote), it gets all the awards. I’m not saying Zootopia is a bad film, it’s pretty good (even if it’s not my fave), but I don’t think it needs to win everything.
Still, I’m pretty mad about this because, when you get down to it, Finding Dory is a really important film. Sure, it’s not as grand or epic as Finding Nemo, but it’s LEGIONS better than Brave, Monsters University, Cars 2, or the goddamn Good Dinosaur. It’s a movie that deals with loss, disability (and how, while it is part of you, it does not define you),and, as Ellen DeGeneres put it, helping others in need. It takes important and heavy themes and handles it in a graceful manner (if this movie was told with humans, let’s be honest, it would be too depressing). The scene where Dory is reunited with her parents is probably the most beautiful Pixar moment ever. And yes, I stand by this, but it does a better job handling mental illness better than Inside Out. While I like Inside Out‘s main message of how it’s okay to cry and important to talk about your feelings, Riley is barely a character, Joy is aggressively unlikable, and poor Sadness is treated like a burden until the very end (and Joy doesn’t even apologize to her). Finding Dory focuses on the character with the mental problem, addresses the hardships she faces, but empowers her by giving her solutions and allowing her to stand up to those who doubt her. She’s positive, she’s optimistic, she never gives up. She’s seriously one of Pixar’s best characters (female or not). But, because Inside Out is ~*original*~ it gets all the praise.
So yeah. I guess the reason why I’m bothered because disability is often a neglected issue and the movie that talks about it the most candidly has been getting snubbed (and for some people, seen as ‘boring’). We’re okay with films that handle allegorical themes (Zootopia) or where the metaphors are ableist (Kubo and the Two Strings and linking goodness and appreciating the beauty of the world with vision) but the movie that respectfully talks about disabilities is not worthy. And that’s just a shame.
Well, I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, it’s more important for an animated film to stand the test of time than to get all the awards, and that’s something Finding Dory will likely excel in. I’m just upset that it didn’t even get a NOMINATION for a Golden Globe or Oscar, which is something that it deserves at the very least.