The Oscars are coming up in March, so there are many worthy nominations for categories such as “Best Actor,” “Best Actress,” “Best Adapted Screenplay,” “Best Editing,” “Best Costume,” and much more. The Oscars are Thursday, March 27th at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. I am most excited to see the winner of “Best Animated Feature” because some of my favorite animated movies that came out recently are nominated like Encanto, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon. The other nominations are Flee and The Mitchells vs. the Machines. Interestingly enough, many of these movies have queer themes in them, making this a historic group of nominees.
Disney/Pixar has not specifically confirmed Luca is a movie about queer characters, but there is a lot of queer coding. The movie is about two boys/sea monsters and their adventures with their new friend, Giulia. It uses the sea monsters as a metaphor for queer love because the three main characters are outsiders in their town. The two boys are afraid to go on land because they will get shunned for being sea monsters. This is similar to the experiences of many queer people because some are not as accepting of queerness, especially not when the movie takes place—the Italian Riviera in the town of Portorosso in the 1950s.
Encanto also has some queer representation because “Luisa is ‘a lesbian icon of strength.’ According to Out.com, the song “What Else Can I Do?” sung by Isabella, is a queer anthem because “[a]fter spending her whole life trying to be perfect and do things the way her family wants, she's finally doing things for herself. ‘I wanna feel the shiver of something new/I'm so sick of pretty/I want something true, don't you,’ she sings, adding, “What can you do when you know who you wanna be is imperfect? But I’ll still be okay.” This song hints at the lesbian experience, as it references the societal pressures lesbian women face.
Raya and the Last Dragon is an animated film inspired by East Asian culture. Raya is the main character. Her amazing character development is exemplified when the narrator explains her back story and why she hates Namaari. Namaari is the daughter of a chief from another clan that opposes Raya. At the beginning of the movie, they hate each other, but by the end they become friends. Raya and Namaari have a very interesting character arc. There have been some rumors about Raya’s sexuality because of the tension between her and Namaari. According to Screenrant.com, “While speaking in an interview (via Vanity Fair), Kelly Marie Tran confirmed her belief that Raya is gay, adding she voiced the character as if there were "some romantic feelings going on there.” The actress who played Raya thinks her character is gay, so perhaps she is.
Flee is an animated film about an Afghan refugee who escapes to Denmark. Along the way, he realizes he is gay. The movie is based on an interview the refugee provided.
The Mitchells vs the Machines is an animated movie about a dysfunctional family that has to save the world from the robot apocalypse. Everyone in the family is really weird. For example, they don’t like to make eye contact with each other, so they have to have mandatory eye contact time.
There are some great movies nominated for “Best Animated Feature” like Encanto, Luca, and Raya and the Last Dragon. Flee and The Mitchells vs. the Machines were also nominated. Though I do have my favorites, I think they all be deserving candidates.
Ryan Ford '23,