There’s One Award that Kubo Does Deserve to Win – Animation Scoop

There’s One Award that Kubo Does Deserve to Win

Not withstanding Variety’s opinion that Kubo and the Two Strings is the film that justifies giving an Oscar to Laika, there’s another award that the film is nominated for that would produce a large boost for the studio in a unique way.

Very very few animated films earn a nomination for the Costume Designers Guild Awards yet Laika have landed such a nomination with Kubo. A significant reason is that Laika had an actual costume designer on board working as part of the crew.

This says a lot about the status of a character’s clothing in animated films. Granted, there are plenty of films where clothing is far from the most important aspect of the production, or even a factor at all. Even Disney’s much vaunted attention to detail doesn’t stack up too high as Claire Hummel’s artistic study demonstrates. Too often something is considered ‘good enough’ even though it is neither accurate or correct. Costumes command a certain attention to detail that animated films by their nature simply cannot provide to the same extent as live-action. Character’s clothing must be animated along with the characters Costume changes add an entire level of complexity, and CGI’s struggles with making clothing look and act even remotely realistic is well documented.

So it’s quite exciting to see Kubo garner a nomination in a category that makes it a true pioneer among animated films. The film’s other concerns aside, this development may not on the surface appear to mean much. It does, however, illustrate that animated films have broached yet another barrier. Attracting attention for costume design is difficult for an animated film, especially if they’re used for nothing more than selling merchandise, which they more than likely are.

Costume design is an art onto itself and is rightfully recognized in all major cinematic awards. As animated films have grown and matured; gradually seeping out of the children’s sandbox and into best film categories, adult themes, and technological breakthroughs, their development in the artistic sense has been less pronounced. Partly resulting from the more general artistic stagnation during the 60s, 70s, and most of the 80s. We’re in a period of booming creativity though, so its about time animated films began to really stretch their abilities in other aspects besides traditional filmmaking ones.

Laika’s decision to use stop-motion definitely gives the film a leg-up since it involves the creation of actual, miniature pieces of clothing, but it belies a degree of attention to character detail that other mega-budget films either ignore or under develop.

With this nomination, Kubo is proving that animated films can be about more creatively than just the animation itself. The recognition provided ought to act as an impetus to other filmmakers to more seriously consider costume design as an important piece of the puzzle.

Charles Kenny

Charles Kenny

Being tall, Irish and a civil engineer by trade, Charles stands out in the animation crowd, hence his position as the Animation Anomaly.
Charles Kenny
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  • MegaChaosGelee

    Yeah, would have loved to see a third Oscar nomination for Kubo for its costume design. Personally, I think the movie deserves to win all three. It certainly won’t get the Best Animated Feature Academy Award, since sadly, Disney always automatically wins, but I’m happy it got another chance through that Visual Effects category.