Award Predictions – 2015 OSCARS Part 2 (Best Animated Feature Win)

 

Previously: Award Predictions – 2015 OSCARS Part 1 (Best Animated Feature Nominations)

Now we have the 5 most likely OSCAR nominees for the Best Animated Feature: Disney’s Big Hero 6, DreamWorks’ How To Train Your Dragon 2, Warner Bros’ The LEGO Movie, Laika’s The Boxtrolls, and Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya, with ReelFX Studio’s The Book of Life and Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea as potential dark horses for the last two spots. All in all, a healthy range of films including 4 big-studio CGI blockbusters, a classic stop-go motion feature, and 2 traditional 2D animations.

But the big question is who will win the OSCAR?

Usually it’s Pixar. But this year there are no Pixar films to be seen. (Their next film is Inside Out, due for release in June 2015). This might actually be a good thing for this year’s potential nominees. Over the 13 years that the Best Animated Feature category has been around in the Academy Awards, Pixar films have taken away the golden statuette 7 times. The Academy does have a reputation for voting Pixar without too much consideration for the other nominees (in 2012, Pixar’s Brave won over the more acclaimed Frankenweenie and Wreck-it Ralph). So now that Pixar is out of the running this year, the voters might have to sit up and take notice of all the nominated films, which makes for a much more interesting competition. So how should each film do in the running for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature at the 87th OSCARS?

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
TheTaleofThePrincessKaguya_US_poster
Studio Ghibli has a reputation of producing original, highly emotional animated films, and from the trailers, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya looks like it lives up to the standard of its revered predecessors, such as My Neighbour Totoro and Spirited Away (which won the OSCAR in 2003). However, in recent years the Japanese anime studio has faded into the background, and recently opted to step down from theatrical animated films. While the quality of the film is undeniable, The Tale of the Princess Kaguya might just miss out on the OSCAR.

Chance of Winning: It’s a possibility

Song of the Sea
Song_of_the_Sea_(2014_film)_poster
This film looks absolutely beautiful, with a charming storyline and brilliant 2D animation. However it’s from a very obscure company which hasn’t yet won an OSCAR in this category, and even if it does get nominated (it’s up against The Tale of the Priness Kaguya for its nomination spot), it most likely won’t take away the golden statuette.

Chance of Winning: Marginal

The Boxtrolls
the boxtrolls poster
Laika has consistently received nominations for both of its films so far (Coraline and ParaNorman), and the classic stop motion animation style of The Boxtrolls is sure to catch the Academy’s eye. It received a lot of OSCAR buzz prior to its release, however the publicity died down quickly . While it’s a quality film, with good reviews, it probably will miss out

Chance of Winning: Marginal

The Book of Life
The_Book_of_Life_(2014_film)_poster
This is ReelFX Studio’s big breakout film, with a majority of positive reviews, unique visuals and a heartwarming plot. It has a chance of nomination, but even if it can get past The Boxtrolls for a nomination, the chances are slim. Low box office earnings (US$84.3 million so far), and a large helping of pop culture jokes will most likely dissuade the Academy from voting, and put a dampener on The Book of Life’s OSCAR chances.

Chance of Winning: Marginal

The LEGO Movie
lego movie poster
With a 96% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a US domestic gross of $257.8 million, and an utterly new animation style (CGI made to look like a stop-go Lego movie), it’s pretty sure that the Academy will sit up and take notice of The LEGO Movie. It’s been praised for its emotional twist and underdog story, however it’s February release date and unknown studio company may work against it for the win.

Chance of Winning: High

How To Train Your Dragon 2
httyd 2 main poster 2
Arguably a frontrunner for the Best Animated Feature OSCAR in 2015. Dragons 2 is deeply mature and incredibly emotional, with perhaps the most realistic animation of the 21st century. Add on highly positive reviews, a US$619 million gross worldwide, and a win at the 2014 Hollywood Film Awards, and the Academy will definitely notice this film. Unless the less-than-stellar reputation of DreamWorks Animation and the low Domestic gross work against it, How To Train Your Dragon 2 could very well take away the OSCAR.

Chance of Winning: High

Big Hero 6
bh6 Poster
It’s a Disney film based on a Marvel comic. It has the reputation of Frozen backing it. And it’s already garnered critical acclaim and great box office earnings. There’s a lot of OSCAR buzz surrounding Big Hero 6 already, and the judges are likely to for a Disney feature – the “next best thing” to Pixar. However it’s dependence on pun-filled dialogue, and a stereotypical superhero storyline could let it down slightly.
Chance of Winning: High

So it looks like the fight for the OSCAR this year is going to come down to three films: The LEGO Movie, Big Hero 6, and Dragons 2. And it’s going to be a close one. Each film has its own strengths and weaknesses that will add up to make it a very tight race for the golden statuette.

Plenty of people are already betting that The LEGO Movie will take away the OSCAR. And why not? It’s been lauded by critics and the public alike. It is highly popular in the US, with a domestic gross of over $250 million. It utilises a completely original style of animation – CGI made to look like a massive-scale LEGO stop motion film. And it carries a relevant, emotional message – that anybody can be special. However, the plot tends to jump all over the place over the course of the movie, which can put off the more mature-minded of viewers. And despite it’s moving theme, this film is still essentially a 100-minute long LEGO advertisement. Still, there’s a good chance that the Academy will vote for The LEGO Movie at the 2015 OSCARS.

There’s also support for Big Hero 6. The reputation of Disney and the continuing popularity of Frozen make up a big part of this film’s OSCAR chances. Substantial earnings at the box office and positive reviews also help. And it has a deep, emotional ‘coming of age’ storyline. On the other hand, though, it has too much emphasis on being ‘hip’ and ‘cool’, and the Academy does tend to have a prejudice against the superhero genre. It also hasn’t been called as ‘revolutionary’ or ‘subversive’ as Frozen, which might handicap it’s OSCAR chances. Despite it’s moving plot and excellent reception I wouldn’t say it would be the one to take away the Best Animated Feature OSCAR in 2015.

And that leaves How To Train Your Dragon 2. It may not be as popular domestically in the US as The LEGO Movie and Big Hero 6, and it may have the handicap of being a sequel, but it’s got the highest international gross so far – almost $620 million worldwide. It has a supremely mature plot – dark and dramatic, with rewarding character arcs and realistic themes. The animation is so realistic that at times it becomes easy to confuse the animation with real-life shots. And the characters, both human and dragon, are brought to life through their intricate personalities and behaviours. It doesn’t hurt either that it’s predecessor received 2 OSCAR nominations (Best Animated Feature and Best Original Score), and that Dragons 2 has already scored the Hollywood Animation Award and the Best Animated Feature prize from the National Board of Review.

While there’s some serious competition from The LEGO Movie and possibly Big Hero 6, How To Train Your Dragon 2 deserves the OSCAR for the Best Animated Feature of 2014. It’s deep, heartfelt plot and stellar animation quality is enough to top it’s comedy-filled, brick-tastic rival. And if the Academy can overcome its prejudice against animation and vote thoughtfully in this category, I’m pretty sure that How To Train Your Dragon 2 will bring home that lauded golden statuette.

  1. How To Train Your Dragon 2
  2. The LEGO Movie
  3. Big Hero 6
  4. The Tale of the Princess Kaguya 
  5. The Boxtrolls
  6. Song of the Sea
  7. The Book of Life

I’d love to hear your opinions on who should win the OSCAR for Best Animated Feature at the 87th Academy Awards. You can vote in the poll below or let your voice be heard in the comments section.

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