Animation News Roundup 1/27/17

This was a great week for voice acting fans! The Oscar Nominations are out, and there’s a very promising new video game franchise for Marvel fans.

Meanwhile, big moves at the top levels of the animation industry, and yet more celebrities are taking aim at President Trump.

Animation at the Oscars

Closeup image of Oscar statuettes at the Academy Awards

The nominees for the 2017 Academy Awards are out, and animation fans have a lot to be happy about.

The Best Animated Feature category includes the following:

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • The Red Turtle
  • Zootopia

Should Moana have been up for Best Picture? I think so. The last time an animated film was eligible for the award was in 2010, when Toy Story 3 lost to The King’s Speech.

Also, among the nominees for Best Documentary is Life, Animated. It’s a very touching story of a boy with autism who learned to understand the world through the metaphor of Disney films.

 Interview with The Simpsons Producer James L. Brooks

Images of James L Brooks, producer of The Simpsons


On Friday, The Hollywood Reporter published a new interview with James L. Brooks. He’s a Hollywood legend who has served as a writer and producer on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Taxi, and countless other shows. For the past 28 years, he’s been a writer, producer, and sometimes voice actor on The Simpsons.

With the tragic death of Mary Tyler Moore, the interview only touches briefly on The Simpsons. Still, it’s heartening to see how much he loves the show.

How much longer will you work on The Simpsons?

Until the end.

Tons of AAA Marvel Games in the Works

Marvel’s been teasing a big announcement of some sort over the past couple of weeks, and recently they finally unveiled what they’re up to.

Square-Enix, the publishers of Final Fantasy, Tomb Raider, Deus Ex, Life is Strange, and loads of other AAA games have signed a multi-game deal to create Marvel games. First up appears to be called The Avengers Project, although that could easily be a working title.

I think this is a perfect fit. Although not every Square-Enix game quite hits the mark, they’re experts at creating big cinematic experiences with “enough” story to maintain interest. I can easily see a Tomb Raider style 3rd person shooter starring Hawkeye, or a Deus Ex adventure/RPG mashup in which Captain America takes down the latest HYDRA conspiracy.

The content of the trailer itself, with its images of Marvel heroes in injury and disrepair, is a great start. Even if it is a little reminiscent of Civil War.

Katzenberg, Post-DreamWorks, Forms New Media Firm

Image of Shrek the troll looking sad

Things have gone a little strange at DreamWorks. First, Jeffrey Katzenberg left. Then hundreds of people were laid off, as a former voice actor took over as president.

However things turn out there, it seems Katzenberg isn’t resting on his laurels. To the contrary, The Hollywood Reporter writes that he just raised about $600 million for a new venture. WndrCo LLC (their spelling) will “invest in and build digital media ventures”.

What does that mean? No idea. It could be games, it could be web series, it could be transmedia franchises. It could even be something totally new that we’ve never dreamt of.

Probably not.

Superman Takes on President Trump

Image of Superman from the Justice League episode "A Better World"

Mark Hamill continues to delight and/or infuriate Star Wars and DCAU fans, depending on their political affiliations. His Trumpster mashups, in which he reads President Trump tweets in the voice of the Joker, are genius and have inspired numerous imitators.

Late night TV has gotten in on the act, and taken it even further into animated DC territory. On a recent episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live, Jimmy took a clip from Justice League and made a small change to the voices.

Specifically, it’s the episode A Better World, which takes place largely in an alternate dimension. In that timeline, Lex Luthor was elected president, and Superman straight-up killed him. Things rarely go well when heroes cross that line, and the alternate Justice League ends up ruling the world as totalitarian dictators.

The Kimmel clip takes the opening of the episode, and replaces Luthor’s dialog with sound bites from the President’s recent ABC interview. He ends the clip before Superman busts out the heat vision, for obvious reasons.

Somewhat ironically, the events of A Better World turned out to be prophetic within the world of Justice League. In the “real” world depicted in the show, Luthor does become president, and Superman is only just able to resist abusing his power.

Some would say that entire arc foreshadowed events in the actual real world.

So, who’s our Superman?

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