Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Sausage Party" Enters the Oscar Race... For Some Reason

Scene from Sausage Party
This Oscar season is shaping up to be quite the interesting bunch of nominees. Along with the potential heavyweights like La La Land and Jackie, there have already been big showings in the indie cinema landscape with Moonlight. However, there is one film that is wanting to break into the big boys league that you probably didn't even think about. No, it's not something that would qualify as drama, or even come within two Russia-sized countries of the word "prestigious." The movie that wants to shake up this year's Oscar season is the R-Rated animated talking food movie Sausage Party.

The reasoning for Sausage Party makes sense. It's a movie geared towards adults that features a satirical view on films like Toy Story. It even features compositions by longtime Disney collaborator Alan Menken. Even with an impressive box office run however, nobody was really clamoring to put it into the Oscar race. It was, after all, a movie that relied on profane language and centered around the "genocide" of food. It also stars such Oscar-nominated darlings as Jonah Hill, James Franco, Edward Norton, Salma Hayek and Kristen Wiig (eight nominations between them). According to Independent, it also has this:

"A used condom in an alley speaks to a hotdog, who rushes away. In an apartment, a toilet paper roll is bent, telling the hotdog that a man did something to it (masturbation is implied)."
If nothing else, this would be the first Oscar-nominated film with a talking condom. Otherwise, one must be asking themselves: why Sausage Party? Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman had this to say to the Hollywood Reporter on the matter:
 "Academy members are way smarter and more forward-thinking than people realize. They want to recognize bold, original, risky breakthroughs, and that’s what Sausage Party is, however subversive. Plus, it’s just plain cool."
Yes, Sausage Party is a "cool" movie. After all, this is a movie that according to Independent did this:
 "Four items make an anal-vaginal-oral daisy chain, all thrusting wildly as a taco sucks violently on a hotdog; a hotdog slides into a bun, turns face down and thrusts; and close-ups show the faces of food items having orgasms (moaning, screaming, and their eyes rolling back in their heads)."
It may not be the first to have sexually explicit scenes, but it is the first to have an "anal-vaginal-oral daisy chain" involving a taco. With this said, co-star and co-writer Seth Rogen had more to say about the making of the film:
 "We've never been this passionate about a film and we're thrilled to enter uncharted territory. It's rare you really get to break new ground, and we hope that people view it as a good thing for the medium." 
Talking condoms and taco sex are a good thing according to Rogen, and something to be very passionate about. As one could expect, Sausage Party is getting the typical Best Animated Film push. This is being done with your typical voter screenings and distributed press releases. There's also talks of getting Menken back into the Oscar-nominee circles for the film's song "The Great Beyond." If talking condoms and taco sex didn't make you squeamish, please know that there's some casual cursing in the following song.


To be honest, it's upbeat and fun in the way that all Menken songs are. It makes you wonder why he's not working with someone deserving of his talents like, oh say, Disney. This wouldn't be the first nominated song to have cursing in it (that honor goes to The Little Shop of Horrors' "Mean Green Mother From Outer Space"), but it would likely have the highest per capita. With this said, money should be better put on Zootopia or Moana getting the Oscar-nominated animated film song vote. The novelty of cursing food singing about being bought isn't enough to make it a necessarily "inspired" pick.

This isn't the first R-Rated animated film ever to be Oscar-nominated in this category. Last year saw Anomalisa do so with philosophical class. Even in the Best Original Song category, South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut famously received a nomination for the satirical "Blame Canada." The big difference between Sausage Party and South Park is that the latter was more than a pastiche of the composer's better work. 

Campaigns like this get started every year with little chance of happening. With that said, the idea of this film getting nominated for being "cool" is laughable, possibly even more-so than the film that's being nominated. As a Rogen apologist, I have yet to see the film on grounds that the animation looks terrible and the choice to have the comedy be found food cursing never appealed to me. It's not even Rogen's best movie of 2016 (that would be the underrated Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising). Alas, a film with talking condoms and taco sex is now getting some Oscar consideration. How serious is up for debate. Still, it is a thing that exists. 

Still it is a film that, if given the honor, would be the first Oscar nominated film to feature this, according to Kids in Mind:
"A male douche bottle jumps into the trousers of a male grocery clerk and the clerk shouts that something went up his anus; the douche opens the zipper from inside and laughs maniacally, pinches the shouting man's genitals (which we do see) and grabs a hotdog climbing the man's leg, the man grabs hold of the hotdog and appears to be masturbating it but is trying to get the food off him."
Yeah, this Oscar season is bonkers people. I'll leave it at that.

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