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Apparently, Oscar voters don’t know the definition of 'awesome'. Here, let me help you. It’s an adjective that induces awe, inspires overwhelming feelings of admiration, and just means very impressive. And everything is awesome in The Lego Movie, which was somehow left out of the Oscar nominations for Best Animated Picture. How can this be? Well, let me explain why it shouldn’t be.
The Lego Movie was seriously awesome, and not just because it featured the wonderful Chris Pratt, a whole slew of big Hollywood names, and an equally wonderful song called "Everything Is Awesome", but because it told a touching story of father and son defining what it means to be creative. It was witty, fun and had a powerful message for both children and adult viewers. It has a 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and has received high critical acclaim on numerous accounts. It also did crazy well at the box office, coming in fourth domestically for the year with a total gross of $257.8 million according to Box Office Mojo. The popularity of the film even led to a shortage of LEGO products because of the high demand. There’s endless proof in the numbers, but beyond that, the film is filled with stunning animation and a heartfelt story that is worthy of a nomination.
Yes, the name LEGO is attached, and toy-to-movie type scenarios aren’t always the most impressive pieces, but this story was different. It follows Emmet Brickowski (voiced by Chris Pratt). Emmet is a rule-follower, he doesn’t stray beyond his everyday monotonous life, and enjoys the simplicity in it. But when he is mistaken as "The Special", a person destined to stop the villain, Lord Business and his super-weapon, "Kragle", Emmet’s whole world starts to change in front of him (literally, LEGO pieces are flying and building into anything/everything). The story is filled with action and comedy, cool explosions and gut-wrenching laughs, but the best part of the film is the message it leaves behind.
The story within the film (spoiler ahead) is created by a real-life boy, Finn who doesn’t like to follow the instructions that come with the set. He uses imagination to make wildly creative ships, cars, buildings, and beyond the physical objects, a story so good a movie was made out of it. But the main villain of the film, Lord Business, is based on young Finn’s father, who uses super glue aka "Kragle" to complete his LEGO sets exactly the way the instructions intend, and does not like Finn touching his rule-abiding creations. It is up to Finn to show his father the power of imagination and creativity, and that there are other ways to see LEGOs (and the world?) then just by following the rules.
The evil of straining a child’s creativity or of telling him not to use the power of his imagination is a strong message to all the parent’s who took their children to see this film. By the end, Finn’s father sees the beauty in being different and in using one’s imagination. By breaking through, the connection between father and son becomes much more whole. It’s a truly inspired and original animated film with brilliant narrative choices as well as animation that somehow went entirely over the Oscar voter's heads.
But don't worry, director of the film, Phil Lord had the perfect response to the snub. Lord's film taught us that being creative with LEGOs is more rewarding than following the instructions, so creating his own award and knowing that the film and message reached millions of people, still proves worthy of an exclamation.