The Los Angeles Film Critics Association just named Wall-E the best motion picture of the year. The film, which is about a whimsical little trash robot and the horrible fat people who enslave him, depicts a universe in which Earth has become uninhabitable, skyscraper-high towers of garbage strewn about a brown-earthed, brown-skied wasteland. It's bleak! But it's also animated and cute and hopeful in its own wise way and it will win Best Picture at the Oscarcademy Awards this year.
Yeah! Because Pixar is long overdue for the big dance, and Hollywood knows it. (And, actually, it would make it the first time an animated movie has ever won. Beauty and the Beast, a funny/sad lushly drawn Disney picture from 17 years ago—can you believe that?—is the only animated feature ever even nominated for the prestigious category.) The computer animation studio, along with perennial partner Disney, has churned out critical and box office smash after smash (Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc.) and only been rewarded with three Best Animated Feature trophies, a newish category that was basically created for them.
Given its admonishing yet gentle content—a ruined planet, a selfish people, all worth saving—a rallying behind the movie would make sense. Everyone's so sad and worried and upset and broke and tired and feeling the teary weight of calamity—economic, environmental, societal—quaking on their shoulders these days; why wouldn't they truck for this kind of heart-swelling, mind-stirring robot fantasia?
Plus all the gritty indieness of Slumdog Millionaire (older voters are not likely to see this) and the glitzy schmooze of a Curious Case of Benjamin Button (anti-studio factions could snow this one) will cancel each other out, and warm-hearted, world-weary Academy members will go for the gooey thinker that is Wall-E.
My favorite movie so far this year? Well, I just saw it last night. It's that beautifully-shot, haunting little creeper of a Swedish vampire movie, Let The Right One In. Stephanie "Twilight Will Destroy Humanity" Meyer could learn a thing or two from the inspired Scandinavians who put this crazy thing together. So, go see it.