"Animation isn't the illusion of life -- it is life!"
-- Chuck Jones
-- Chuck Jones
As Brad Bird (this year's Academy Award winner for Best Animated Feature) has been known to say, animation is not a genre, but a medium. And he's right. Nevertheless, it is the first "genre" that I will be taking a look at as Movie Dearest begins a ten week countdown to AFI's 10 Top 10, this year's edition of the American Film Institute's popular (and often controversial) 100 Years ... 100 Movies series.
Looking over the past ten 100 Years lists, only nine fully animated films have made the various cuts, with the most appearances being in the Heroes & Villains and Songs installments. The very first American animated feature, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, appears the most times (four, including both the 1998 and 2007 greatest movies of all time lists), with Pinocchio and Beauty and the Beast listed twice. So it is a safe bet that these three, along with the landmark Fantasia and the groundbreaking Toy Story, will make this top ten. Bambi, Lady and the Tramp, 101 Dalmatians and The Lion King have also appeared previously, and therefore could be considered strong contenders as well.
Taking a look at the annual AFI Awards, four more toons (all computer animated) could conceivably enter the mix: Shrek, Finding Nemo, The Incredibles and Happy Feet (shudder). Other notable films among the fifty nominees (see comments section below for the full list) include Aladdin, Cinderella, Dumbo, The Iron Giant, The Jungle Book, The Little Mermaid, The Nightmare Before Christmas and even (double shudder) South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
As you can see, Disney (along with Pixar) has a chance of sweeping this top ten; I really can only see Shrek and maybe Iron Giant (fingers crossed) breaking into this Mickey Mouse club.
We'll find out when AFI's 10 Top 10 airs on CBS on June 17.