The filmmakers react, as the Academy claims that Apollo 10 1/2 is not an animated film.

Richard Linklater's "Apollo10 1/2: A Space Age Childhood" is a Netflix original animated film released earlier this year, and filmmakers are talking about this snub as the Academy refused to consider the upcoming best animated feature race.

As reported by Indiewire, the Academy sent a letter explaining their decision, saying they "do not feel that the technology meets the definition of animation in the category rules" because of the "widespread use" of live-action footage. The official rules of the Academy for Qualification can be found in this downloadable PDF.

Linklater and Netflix have since appealed to the Academy, but have not yet heard back, despite several follow-up requests. According to Indiewire's report, the Academy has declined to comment on the situation, but the eligibility criteria will be assessed by the Branch Executive Committee this fall.

For now, Linklater and producer Tommy Pallotta are talking about the Academy's bias against perceived injustice and rotoscopes. According to them, the technique was used in less than 20% of films.

"The only rotoscope in the film is the outline of the character," Pallotta told Indiewire. "That's right. Everything else is animated.

He continued, "I feel like I'm caught up in a kafkaesque nightmare where someone says something isn't real, and I know it's real." I've been making Rotoscope animation for 25 years, but I ended up being told it wasn't animation. It's just such an insult."

The animation of Apollo 10 1/2 was performed by Austin's Mount Minnow and the Dutch costume submarine that handled the film's rotoscope.

Linklater's concern about the Academy's decision is not just about his films.

"This decision cut off the creative flow for certain types of animated films," he explained to Indiewire.

Indiewire was also given access to a letter Linklater wrote to the Academy, comparing the frame-by-frame repainting of Apollo10 1/2 to the one used in the 2017 Oscar nominee Loving Vincent.

In the letter, he explained:

This naturalistic style is a reflection of the work of the Academy. This is not a technical choice, but rather an important part of how I want to see and feel the film, which is achieved not by some hidden software or the side effects of automated processes, but by the hard work of animators who draw the character's movements and performance frame by frame.

Around the time of the film's release, Linklater said that the animation process used for Apollo was different from his previous rotoscope animation outing-awakening life and darkness [and] all the necessary textures (vintage era, comic books, news movie documentaries, epic fantasy films, etc.). To achieve a realistic character piece), you will need a playful combination of various techniques such as 3d and some minimal performance capture within the character animation.

He further explained that the animation crew made a great effort to achieve the film's 1960s patina:

The beautiful look of the Kodachrome film decided to animate in 2s to make us feel retro, and to use more hand-made effects than digital effects. You have selected an animation. We are new towards displaying different textures and designs to reflect the analog world and the subjective and creative memory of Stan (the protagonist of the film)

For more information on the production of the film, see this INBTWN animation interview with Linklater.