Award shows, listen up! While animation is widely regarded as a genre—since it’s classified that way in award shows such as the Oscars and the Golden Globes—animation is an art form rather than a genre.
There are many different styles of animation, and to lump them together into a genre doesn’t make sense, especially since any genre can be animated and it would still fit into that category. Romances can be animated and would still fit into the romance genre, and action can be animated while still being an action movie. To say that animation is a genre is like placing “Avengers” and “Sing” in the same category simply because they both have Scarlett Johansson in them. That simply doesn’t make sense, as the two movies have nothing in common.
Art is expressed in many forms: filmmaking, painting, playing an instrument and drawing. Funnily enough, in order to animate something, an artist has to draw it first. This was especially the case when 2D animation was the main form of animation. Each scene had to be hand drawn before they could be rendered into a computer system to make the pictures move and change with the scene. This process just proves that animation is less of a category to place movies in and more of an artform to be admired.
Each animated series or movie has their own unique style and quality. The animated work could be highly stylized but slightly lower on quality, or more realistic in style and high quality in movement and frame-rate, but that doesn’t make it less than any other animated work. Animation shouldn’t have to look or be a certain way in order to be deserving of praise. Even movies such as “The Room,” have received praise by certain people because of its merits despite its many flaws. Animation should be treated the same way, regardless of flaws because there’s more to it than that.
Animation is highly complex and some animation is more intricate than others, and trying to fit all of them into a single genre is grueling and can be unfair at times. For instance, more detailed animated movies and shows are more likely to win awards than more simplified animation is, because it looks prettier. Judges in this category don’t take into account the style that the artist intended. This results in less variety in how animation looks in America because audiences become used to all animation resembling Disney Animation, and seeing something they aren’t used to on screen, such as a different style of animation, is unwelcome. However, placing an animated work in a genre that it belongs in—like how “Tangled” would be better suited in the adventure genre—helps boost these projects’ chances of winning awards and reaching more audiences. While it still may not be as likely that an animated movie or show would win any awards as opposed to a live action movie, even being nominated in a real genre would increase the likelihood of these animated works reaching and connecting with more audiences.
Animation gives the audience the sense that they’re on another planet, where animals can sing and dance and humans haven’t destroyed the planet. It helps teach kids that grief and loss can be felt by anyone, from an icy princess locked in her room, to a hippie lion cub in the desert. It broadens people’s horizons and helps them see things in a way that they never would while watching live action. And, just like how Elsa is different from Simba in almost every possible way except for the fact that they both lost their families, all styles of animation are different except for the fact that they’re animated, and they should be treated that way.
Furthermore, animated projects don’t just have to be for children. While a majority of animated works are directed at younger kids, there are a great many that are geared toward adults. “Family Guy” is a good example of this. “Family Guy” is animated, but there’s no way on God’s green Earth that parents would ever let their young children watch a show like that.
Animation is more than just a genre. Animated movies can be for adults or children. They can be fantasy or realistic. They can be romance or action. Animation is art, and all art is different.