If there's one thing about Hollywood that drives me the craziest, it's that it is determined to pigeonhole things into easily understandable boxes. We see this a lot with people stuck making the same genres over and over again, but we often forget it happens to film mediums as well.

Animation is a way to deliver any story in the world, with any characters you want. It's a hard, laborious process, usually done by a collective of artists working together. 

At the Academy Awards a week ago, we saw the hosts diminish animation, basically saying it was just for kids.

Now, I'm sure you can think of plenty of animated movies for adults, for kids, and for everything in between. Animation is for everyone. Lord and Miller, the producers and directors behind many animated movies and TV shows, wrote an open letter in Variety yesterday, skewering Hollywood's myopic view of animation. 

In their words:

"Framing the five Academy Award nominees for best animated feature as a corporate product for kids that parents must begrudgingly endure could be dismissed as simply careless. But to those of us who have dedicated our lives to making animated films, that carelessness has become routine."

They go on to congratulate other winners on the night, focusing on the high points from a night full of controversy. But admirably, they never back down from their take. In fact, they support their argument that animated films are the backbone of Hollywood, and that they showed their worth during the pandemic even more. 

"We are currently negotiating with the Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers to get studios to pay animation workers fairly, especially when animation is such a large and important part of their bottom lines. (Look up #NewDeal4Animation to learn more!) During the pandemic, when much physical production was shut down, animators began working from home immediately. These films kept our business afloat."

As animators fight for their fair share of wages, back end, and other payments, it's important to remember this is an industry filled with thousands of people. Animated movies have to build everything from scratch. From cinematography to costume design to character emotions—everything has to be carefully crafted.

No one can deny that these movies consistently make money either. They're huge hits that allow studios the bandwidth to throw money at tentpoles and passion projects. They're consistent and crowd-pleasing. But that doesn't mean they're not sophisticated, deep, and transcendent. 

Lord and Miller have an idea for the Academy.

"Which leads us to a simple pitch: Next year, invite a respected filmmaker to present the award and frame animation as cinema."

It's a simple request, but one that should be easy to fulfill. 

It's up to the Academy. Hopefully, it does the right thing.