Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran
FILM SYNOPSIS: Michael Stone, a middle-aged motivational speaker who is grappling with an existential crisis, attends a customer service convention in Cincinnati to give a speech. At the hotel, he meets and falls for Lisa, a seemingly ordinary woman who sparks his imagination and energizes him to reexamine his life.
Charlie Kaufman is an Academy favorite, having been nominated three times and winning once (“Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind”) so when he released an animated feature this year, it was almost immediately predicted to be nominated for an Academy Award. The fact that it carried some meaningful and heavy story-lines involving infidelity, issues of identity and belonging, and a depth that rivals any film, animated or live action, this year, made its nomination a shoe-in. “Anomalisa” (pronounced “A-nom-a-lisa” like anomaly and Lisa) follows self-help author Michael Stone (David Thewlis) on a business trip to Cincinnati where he meets a woman named Lisa (Jennifer Jason Leigh) who is there for his speech at the customer service convention and just happens to be staying in the same hotel as Michael. The audience is privy to Stone’s married life, to which he also has a child, even as he calls an ex-girlfriend in Cincinnati to meet up and reconnect. Being an animated film, the graphic nature of the film delves into nudity and sex, swearing and emotional abuse, all while playing with the actual idea of animation, with Michael at one point having a dream and pulling his face off. These moments all feel very Kaufman life.
What’s its competition? The support for this film likely not only comes out of the Academy’s love for Kaufman and his out of the box writing, but also from Kaufman and fellow producer Duke Johnson going outside the Hollywood studio system to produce the film, turning to Kickstarter and supporters of theirs through that method to finance the film, which allows them to create the exact film they want rather something the studio tries to mold, which is not what Kaufman is known for at all. That being said, Pixar has a leg up in the competition, also being an Academy favorite. “Inside Out” absolutely swept the award season and continues to with the Producers Guild Award win. Personally, I feel like Kaufman’s material can easily alienate viewers if they are not keen to his writing. “Inside Out,” however, is completely accessible to all ages and for that, it will likely win. But if anything is going to give “Inside Out” any sort of run for its money, it will likely be “Anomalisa.”
Previous nominations? These are the first Academy Award nominations for Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran. This is the fourth Academy Award nomination for Charlie Kaufman. He was previously nominated for:
- ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (2004)
Winner, Writing (Original)
- ADAPTATION (2002)
Nominee, Writing (Adapted)
- BEING JOHN MALKOVICH (1999)
Nominee, Writing (Original)
“Anomalisa” (2015) Trailer:
// Produced by Charlie Kaufman, Duke Johnson and Rosa Tran // Directed by Charlie Kaufman and Duke Johnson //
// Dated Viewed: Saturday, January 23rd, 2016 // LAEMMLE NOHO // 30 films – 37 days //