‘The Boss Baby’ deserves its Oscar nomination more than any other film this year. Don’t @ me.
The sound Tiffany Haddish makes after Andy Serkis announces The Boss Baby is nominated for Best Animated Feature? Yeah, I made that sound when I heard the news, followed by some mild whooping and hollering. The Boss Baby is my jam; my truest love; my greatest passion in life. (For the purposes of this post, please ignore the fact that it place sixth on my Best Films of 2017 — pretend it was #1). Anyone, I adore The Boss Baby (film and character) as if he were my own briefcase-carrying infant child. And though Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird etc. may be overall more resonant pictures, absolutely nothing brought me more joy in the Oscar nominations that the recognition for the brilliant, universally underappreciated gem that is The Boss Baby.
I wrote last April of how much I enjoyed Tom McGrath’s animated comedy, a film which works on three distinct levels:
- It’s a charming story about brotherly comradery and the importance of play and imagination in the lives of young boys. Fantastical elements like those featured in The Boss Baby (dress-up, tea parties) are usually reserved for kids movies with female protagonists, and it’s really nice to see the equally big role these play in boys’ playtime represented.
- It’s a very witty pastiche of modern corporate America with its meaningless job titles (eg. Super Colossal Big Fat Boss Baby), endless levels of bureaucracy and unenviable life-goals (all Boss Baby wants it The Corner Office). The Boss Baby will teach your kids that office jobs are boring and pointless. It’s basically communist propaganda.
- It’s all a metaphor for Trump, obviously. Boss Baby is voiced by Alec Baldwin, the man who plays AtRealDonaldTrump on SNL (though he was cast in this film first). He’s also a selfish, crying, disobedient child with the persona of a middle-aged man. He is The President.
Yes, The Boss Baby is funny, and yes it’s clever, but it’s also very touching: it was the first film since Moonlight to move me to tears; in no small part with its great use of “Blackbird” as a symbol of (Boss Baby’s older brother) Tim’s Only Child privilege (relatable AF), which is later incorporated into Hans Zimmer’s soaring score (the best work he did in 2017, to be honest). Plus there’s a Fred Astaire song over the opening titles, and a Burt Bacharach song over the end titles. Seriously, watch this movie. It’s terrific.
It’s actually a pretty strong year for the Animated Feature category: Coco and The Breadwinner are both strong, and the excellent LEGO Batman Movie didn’t even get a nomination. But, c’mon, how can they give that award to anything but The Boss Baby?