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In 2014, it was hard to find a movie more entertaining and joy-inducing than The LEGO Movie. Released in February - classically one of the less-great parts of the Hollywood release schedule - the film stood out and sparkled, not only by delivering numerous deep-gut laughs, but also having something fascinating and deep to say about creativity and how we express it. It was one of the best features of the year, but badly, tonight it was snubbed in a pretty big way.
The Hollywood Foreign Press Association held their annual Golden Globes ceremony tonight, and while The LEGO Movie was considered by many to be the front-runner in the Best Animated Feature category, presenters Kevin Hart and Salma Hayek both announced and gave the award to DreamWorks Animation's How To Train Your Dragon 2. While both were certainly some of the best reviewed movies of the year and top earners at the box office, it’s pretty easy to argue that the HFPA voters made a mistake in their decision.
Even if we’re looking on beyond The LEGO Movie’s absolutely fantastic script, which is entirely filled with wonderful characters, great jokes, brilliant narrative choices and miles of heart, the film is also just a wonder on a technical level. There has never been a movie that looks quite like Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s creation, and despite playing with a whole new rulebook the movie still challenges itself with brilliant attention to detail like fingerprints, dust, and hair follicles to create something beautiful and honestly realistic.
Calling the Golden Globes’ choice incorrect shouldn’t be translated as an insult to Dean DeBlois’ How To Train Your Dragon 2, as I actually enjoyed that film immensely when I saw it this past summer, but The LEGO Movie’s positive aspects really outweigh it all around. I will give the DreamWorks feature plenty of credit for being an adventures piece of storytelling and stunning to look at, but the immense creativity and originality of Warner Bros.’ film leaves really no comparison, and it’s a shame that it wasn’t rewarded for it.
Interestingly, it’s the "F" in HFPA that may very well have prevented The LEGO Movie from taking home this award – which it very rightly deserved. While Phil Lord and Chris Miller’s animated feature was a huge hit here in the United States – ranking as the fourth biggest domestic hit of the year with an impressive $257 million pull – the film didn’t really translate abroad. Factoring in worldwide numbers, The LEGO Movie falls to 15th on the 2014 charts – which is four spots below the $618 million take of How To Train Your Dragon 2. It’s very possible that this sway was reflected in the voting for the Golden Globes as well, explaining the end result.
Obviously, the Golden Globes is just one of many awards shows, and it’s still probable if not likely that The LEGO Movie will wind up earning an Academy Award in a few weeks’ time, but this one still does sting. Everything is not awesome.