Oscar snubs Tintin, rewards foreign animation featuring females

This morning, Academy Award nominations were announced and “Adventures of Tintin” was left out of all categories except for best musical score. The snub is significant and surprising. Not only was “Tintin” directed by Hollywood darling Steven Spielberg, but it won the Golden Globe for best animated feature, usually a strong predictor for an Academy Award nomination if not the Oscar itself.

I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ve written several posts about Herge, the creator of Tintin, and his disturbing thoughts about women. Herge believed that females had no place in Tintin’s imaginary world. What is so offensive and damaging about this sexism is that Hollywood would never allow an animated movie to be made in 2012 for kids where males were almost completely ignored. Yet, excluding females is just fine, even award-worthy. That’s because the male dominated cast of “Tintin” is consistent with most animated movies made for kids today. Leaving girls out of kids’ movies teaches children a horrible lesson: males are more important than females.

Not only did “Tintin” not get nominated for best animation but two foreign movies did. I haven’t seen either but both look as if they feature females in important roles.

“Chico and Rita” is summarized on imdb.com:

Chico is a young piano player with big dreams. Rita is a beautiful singer with an extraordinary voice. Music and romantic desire unites them, but their journey – in the tradition of the Latin ballad, the bolero – brings heartache and torment.

Just displaying a female so prominently on the poster is rare in animated films. This movie looks great, though I don’t think its for kids.

Here’s the synopsis for “A Cat in Paris” also from imdb.com:

Dino is a cat that leads a double life. By day, he lives with Zoe, a little girl whose mother, Jeanne, is a police officer. By night, he works with Nico, a burglar with a big heart. Zoe has plunged herself into silence following her father’s murder at the hands of gangster Costa. One day, Dino the cat brings Zoe a very valuable bracelet. Lucas, Jeanne’s second-in-command, notices this bracelet is part of a jewelery collection that has been stolen. One night, Zoe decides to follow Dino. On the way, she overhears some gangsters and discovers that her nanny is part of the gangsters’ team.

The cat in the title is a male and he is obviously the star of the film, but the little girl Zoe and her single police officer mom look great from the synopsis. I can’t wait to see this movie!

It’s clear that in order to award some diversity in animation, Oscar had to go outside of Hollywood and its male dominated world of kids cartoons. The other three Oscar nominations for animated features all go to films that star males and are titled for those males: Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss In Boots, and Rango.

This morning’s biggest winner scoring 11 nominations? “Hugo.” Another kids’ movie about a boy and titled for a boy.

But still, the “Tintin” snub is progress, right? Do you think Hollywood is reading Reel Girl? Starting to care about girls and the women they’ll become? Maybe not. Internet chatter suggests “Tintin” was left out because the Academy stipulates that motion-capture is not considered legitimate animation.

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10 thoughts on “Oscar snubs Tintin, rewards foreign animation featuring females

  1. I’ve been following your posts about Tintin with interest. My 5 year old daughter reads them with her dad but has asked about the absence of girls and women. We’ve had some great conversations. She’s decided Snowy the dog is a girl – a mark of her desperation!

    Here’s the film we are looking forward to: http://www.arrietty.com.au/ I hope to read a post about it soon!

  2. Chico and Rita was a great movie! But definitely not for little kids, there are at least 4 sex scenes, and in the first we get to see Rita completely naked, the others are pretty short though. I really enjoyed how the movie didn’t shy away from pointing out racism against blacks and latinos while still focusing on the romance story more than anything else, it was just beautiful, truly a feel good type of movie.

    • Aninha,

      It looks pretty sexy. I do want to see it, but at the same time, I watch so much kids animation, the rare times I get to see an adult movie, I think I’ll want a different style. It does look good though and I bet the music is great as well.


  3. I was afraid it was premature to hope the Oscar committee saw the cultural problems with Tintin, but it’s still heartening to see these two features get a nod. Could you imagine either one even being made anywhere during Herge’s time?

    • Hi MJ,

      I was being tongue in cheek about Hollywood consulting Reel Girl! I wish! But I had did have no idea that “Tintin” was actually disqualified. I’d like to get confirmation for that, though I suppose it seems likely b/c its hard to believe after winning the GG it wouldn’t get a nomination, along with Spielberg directing. And yes, I’m psuched about those 2 features, I’d never heard of them before today.


  4. “A Cat in Paris” is wonderful; I saw it at the International Children’s Film Festival with my daughter. Jeanne and Zoe are both major characters, and the mother is shown as a courageous and competent police office as well as single parent. The villain’s girlfriend wears an obnoxious perfume, which functions as a “character” in its own right; very funny and a nice contrast to the sensible, down-to-earth mother and daughter. I also like that Nico the burglar is a very sensitive nurturing fellow who bonds immediately with the little girl. Highly recommended!

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