Monday’s Golden Globes nominations raised the question of whether or not Disney’s remake of “The Lion King” is considered a live-action or animated film.
Some were surprised when the Hollywood Foreign Press Association announced that the Disney film was nominated for three out of five best-animated feature categories.
The recognition is much deserved, but it’s problematic for one reason: Disney does not consider the film to be an animated feature.
The film is part of a wave of live-action remakes based on classic animated films.
However, things get a little hazy because despite being dubbed a “live-action” film, most of the film, sans one scene, was digitally altered.
Animators are responsible for creating everything aside from the opening “Circle of Life” sequence.
And while many of the other films feature CGI, they also incorporate some live-action elements like performances by actors, which “The Lion King” does not.
Even director Jon Favreu couldn’t give a definitive answer when asked where the film falls this past summer.
“Well, it’s difficult because it’s neither, really. It depends what standard you’re using,” he told reporters.
“Because there’s no real animals and there’s no real cameras and there’s not even any performance that’s being captured that’s underlying data that’s real. Everything is coming through the hands of artists. But to say it’s animated I think is misleading as far as what the expectations might be.”
Doug Stone, president of Box Office Analyst seemed to agree. “It’s just a different animal, he said.
When asked for clarification about their decision, the HFPA pointed CNBC to its eligibility guidelines which note that “movement and characters’ performances must be created using a frame-by-frame technique,” adding, “each animated image must be created or manipulated by an animator through hand drawing, stop motion, pixilation, animation software or a similar technique.”
Similar rules apply to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences except with one exception: “If the picture is created in a cinematic style that could be mistaken for live-action, the filmmaker(s) must also submit information supporting how and why the picture is substantially a work of animation rather than live-action,”
Therefore, Disney could present a case to the Academy arguing that the “The Lion King” should be considered a live-action film.
Your move, Academy.