Starring: Christine Cavanaugh, Miriam Margolyes, James Cromwell, Hugo Weaving, Magda Szubanski (her first film), Danny Mann, Miriam Flynn, Roscoe Lee Browne (Narrator)
Director: Chris Noonan
Summary: Babe, a pig raised by sheepdogs, learns to herd sheep with a little help from Farmer Hoggett
Other Nominations: Director, Supporting Actor (Cromwell), Adapted Screenplay, Art Direction, Film Editing, Visual Effects*
This was one of the first movies I remember watching on video as a kid, and you know what? It still holds up really well. While it is a “message” movie (about not accepting that roles society places on people are just the way things have to be, don’t make assumptions based on stereotypes, being open to new ways of thinking), they’re are presented with a light enough touch and the story is good enough that it never feels preachy. The voice acting is top notch (starring the late great Cavanaugh who was one of the best ever, most famous as Dexter from Dexter’s Lab and Chuckie from Rugrats) and Cromwell definitely leaves a mark despite not having all that many lines. The animal effects still look solid, being a combination of trained animals and animatronics from the Jim Henson company, and the score, while not nominated, was pitch-perfect for the tone. Still, this was way out of left field for a Best Picture nominee (or a Best Director or Screenplay nominee), especially considering how strong the competition was for 1995: this was a year when movies like Seven, The Usual Suspects, Toy Story, 12 Monkeys, Heat and Casino were not nominated, but a children’s film with a talking pig was. Nevertheless, Babe was quite enjoyable and is appealing to all ages.