- Walt Disney Studios
- Disney’s “The Lion King” remake was nominated for best animated picture at the 2020 Golden Globes Monday morning.
- Some were quickly confused because the film’s live-action, right?
- Wrong. Technically, the “Lion King” remake is completely animated, except for one shot.
- According to Disney’s production notes for the film, “The Lion King” blends together live-action techniques with virtual reality, CG animation, and photoreal digital imagery to create an “all-new medium.”
- If even Disney considers the film an “all-new medium,” can “The Lion King” remake really be considered an animated feature?
- Disney already has two other sequels nominated in the best animated picture category. Surely, there were other studios that could’ve been recognized for its animated features, including “Klaus” and “I Lost my Body.”
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The 2020 Golden Globes nominations were announced Monday morning in Los Angeles. Among the most surprising nods is that Disney’s “The Lion King” remake is nominated in the best animated film category.
The nod was surprising considering Disney already had two shoo-in noms for the category in “Toy Story 4” and “Frozen 2.” Many more were under the impression the remake was “live-action,” claiming Disney sold the film as such.
— kyle ????❤️ (@kylemccordd) December 9, 2019
I disapprove of the #GoldenGlobes nominating THE LION KING in Animated Feature for quality reasons, but also find it hilarious because they're telling everyone it's not a live-action film despite Disney saying otherwise.
— Adam Klay (@AKlay19) December 9, 2019
The live action Lion King got nominated in the animated catagory pic.twitter.com/Lb8hD4MD2c
— (not) daisy ridley's husband (@supersymmetry_I) December 9, 2019
I’ve almost entirely stopped caring about award shows but how are we calling Lion King animated when it was billed to us as live action
— Jess Tholmer (@tholmz) December 9, 2019
Though plenty of media and fans referred to the movie as live-action, Disney didn’t in its marketing of the film.
Technically, ‘The Lion King’ remake is completely animated except for one shot.
- Walt Disney Studios
This may come as a shock, but everything you see while watching “The Lion King” remake is animated. In its production notes, Disney boasts that the film is an “all-new medium” that blends together live-action techniques with virtual reality, CG animation, and photoreal digital imagery.
“Every environment you see was completely generated by computers,” director Jon Favreau told Jimmy Kimmel in July while promoting the remake. “Every performance was keyframe animated the same way that they did back in the time of ‘Bambi,’ except with the computers using it for lighting and for rendering, it creates this beautiful photoreal naturalism.”
- Walt Disney Studios, Disney
Favreau told Kimmel that everything in the movie is CGI except for one shot, which the director didn’t reveal.
One-hundred-and-thirty animators brought 86 different animal species to life for the film. According to Disney, each photorealistic character took about nine months to fully develop and was built by using a mix of concept art, real-life references, and characters from the original movie. Paintings and 3D sculpts were made based off of images captured in Africa. When they were approved by Favreau and the production team, designs were 3D printed and then built into the computer.
What about the sets seen in “The Lion King”? Though those look pretty realistic, the actors were on a giant virtual set providing their performances.
According to Disney, a world “spanning hundreds of miles” was created in the virtual reality world.
“All the crew put on headsets and they were able to walk around and look around the Pride Lands and watch the animated performances and set cameras inside VR,” Favreau said. “So it felt like we were making a live-action film inside virtual reality.”
So where did all of this ‘live-action’ business come from?
- Kirsten Acuna/INSIDER composite
Many news outlets and media were referring to “The Lion King” as live-action while covering the film. Why?
Favreau surmised on “Jimmy Kimmel Live” that many people were probably referring to “The Lion King” as live-action because it simply looked like live-action. That may be part of it.
The more likely culprit is that Disney has been remaking so many of its beloved classics into live-action films that it’s easy to lump “The Lion King” into that category. The majority of Disney’s remakes – “Aladdin,” “Beauty and the Beast,” and even “The Jungle Book” – are either live-action or incorporate live action into the film in some way.
Just because it’s animated doesn’t mean ‘The Lion King’ should be nominated for best animated picture
- Walt Disney Studios
Disney already has two shoo-in nods with “Frozen 2” and “Toy Story 4.” Does the Mouse House really need three nominations in the animated film category? While the “Lion King” is an obvious technical achievement that should receive praise for its ability to make photo-real looking animation, the film itself didn’t fire on all cylinders and doesn’t deserve its animation nod.
Out of the three movies, “The Lion King” was critically panned for playing it safe by sticking to the original beat-for-beat while not having the heart or emotion of the 1994 animated filck. (The downside of having realistic animated lions was that they really couldn’t emote.)
As others have pointed out, there were plenty of other beautifully-animated movies released in 2019 that deserved nominations, including Netflix’s “Klaus” and foreign picture “I Lost My Body.”
Oh, geez, I didn't notice the all-American Best Animated Film lineup at the #goldenglobes2020, with #TheLionKing getting in over foreign arthouse hopefuls such as #ilostmybody and #Buñuel in the Labyrinth of the Turtles. That's a major bleeeeeeech. #goldenglobes #goldenglobe
— George Addison (@GeorgeAddison87) December 9, 2019
— AniMut 999 (@AnimeMut1) December 9, 2019
So Disney intentionally didn’t submit “live action” Lion King for Best Animated Feature but the Golden Globes nominated it anyway. I’m just going to pretend the Hollywood Foreign Press was trolling because it’s a lot more palatable that way.
— Brian Koch (@Thisisntflying) December 9, 2019
The bigger question is whether or not “The Lion King” is really deserving of its animated feature nomination since even Disney touted in its production notes that the film is part of an “all-new medium,” suggesting not even the Mouse House considers it to be an animated picture.
The Golden Globes Awards will air live on NBC on January 5 at 8 p.m. ET.