Richard Linklater’s latest movie Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood, has been banned from being selected in the Best Animated Feature Film category in the upcoming Academy Awards. Linklater, who is best known as the director of Boyhood, and the ‘Before’ Trilogy, released the semi-autobiographical movie to the streaming service Netflix earlier in the year.
The animated movie tells the story of the young Stanley, who may or may not have been secretly recruited to join a space programme. It takes a look at growing up in the late ’60s, during the height of the Space Race, and is brimming with nostalgia and Linklater’s typical off-kilter humour.
Like some of Linklater’s previous movies, the movie is animated using a technique called rotoscoping. Linklater previously used rotoscoping in Waking Life and the dark science fiction movie A Scanner Darkly. Rotoscoping involves animators drawing over live-action footage, with often distinctive and stylised results.
Due to it’s mature themes, originality, and overall warm critical reception, Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood was perceived to be an early contender in the Best Animated Feature Film category at the 2023 Oscars. However, IndieWire now reports that the Oscars’ animation committee has ruled Apollo 10 1⁄2: A Space Age Childhood as ineligible to compete for Best Animated Feature Film, effectively banning the animated drama movie from the category.
In a letter, the committee explained its decision by saying that it “does not feel that the techniques meet the definition of animation in the category rules”. Within the same letter, the committee said that this was due to “extensive use” of live action footage in the movie.
Linklater is reported to be appealing the decision, and is frustrated by the decision which is now subject to an appeal. He said “This decision cuts off the creative flow for a certain kind of animated movie. Will anyone greenlight something like this if it can’t get nominated?” He continued, saying “The [animation] industry is clustered around kids’ entertainment. I get this feeling that they’re basically like, ‘Indie weirdos, go home.’”
In addition to Linklater, fans of the animation in the movie – which has been compared to Steven Spielberg‘s upcoming The Fabelmans – will be upset at the decision. This is because rotoscoping is a unique and interesting animation technique that requires the use of live-action footage.
If Richard Linklater movies aren’t your thing, check out our guide to the best action movies of all time instead.