Well, it’s already November 2014 and the OSCAR race is well and truly heating up in the Best Animated Feature category. After a promising year full of big-hit and high-quality animated movies, the 20 candidates submitted for nomination have been announced by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The candidates are:
Disney’s Big Hero 6
ReelFX Studio’s The Book Of Life
Laika’s The Boxtrolls
Bill Plympton Studios’ Cheatin
Production IG’s Giovanni’s Island
Henry and Me Productions Henry and Me
Magnolia Picture’s The Hero of Colour City
DreamWorks Animation’s How To Train Your Dragon 2
EuropaCorp’s Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart
Summertime Entertainment Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return
Warner Bros Animation’s The LEGO Movie
Futurikon Miniscule -Valley of the Lost Ants
DreamWorks Mr Peabody And Sherman
DreamWorks Penguins of Madagascar
DisneyToon Studio’s The Pirate Fairy
DisneyToon Studio’s Planes: Fire and Rescue
Blue Sky Studios Rio 2
Locomotive Productions Rocks in My Pockets
Cartoon Saloon’s Song of the Sea
Studio Ghibli’s The Tale of the Princess Kaguya
It is interesting to note that there is a notable absence of any Pixar films in the selection this year.
But who will get nominated? Since there are more than 16 submissions, it’s practically certain there’ll be 5 (or maybe more) nominees on the other side. The Academy usually reserves 1 of the nominations for a foreign animated film.
- Big Hero 6. Practically guaranteed to be nominated. After all, it’s Disney, it’s got great reviews, and the lasting popularity of Frozen gives it plenty of leverage.
- The Book of Life. This is an exciting, unique movie that could just be Reel FX Studio’s big breakout film. The only downside – it just might not beat The Boxtrolls.
- The Boxtrolls. This film is a classic British piece of animation art; funny and original. It’s a safe bet that the Academy will honour the traditional stop motion format in Boxtrolls.
- Cheatin. An obscure French animation that seems quite erotic and violent from the trailers. I don’t really think it will be quite to the Academy’s taste.
- Giovanni’s Island. It looks like a fine piece of Japanese manga, full of emotion and historical relevance, but it might not be noticed by voters.
- Henry and Me. Touching, mature moments about a boy with cancer mingled with clichéd lines and cartoony magic. Plus it’s not well known, so sadly its OSCAR chances are low.
- The Hero of Colour City. It’s a very child-focused film, which is nice, but that means it probably won’t be up for OSCAR nomination.
- How To Train Your Dragon 2. Another almost certain nomination. Dragons 2 is mature, well-made, and emotional, and I think the Academy will find it hard to pass this one up.
- Jack and the Cuckoo-Clock Heart. A fine film from the French company that made A Monster in Paris, but the chances of it getting noticed are quite small.
- Legends of Oz: Dorothy’s Return. Although it has an all-star cast, Dorothy’s Return has been panned by critics and bombed at the box office, which reduces it’s chances of nomination.
- The LEGO Movie. Another guaranteed OSCAR nominee, The LEGO Movie has been acclaimed by critics, earned a healthy domestic box office gross, and features an all-star cast.
- Miniscule – Valley of the Lost Ants. Pretty animation and a unique idea, mixed with some frankly ridiculous moments. It’s nice, but it most likely won’t make the final cut.
- Mr Peabody and Sherman. This charming mainstream family film was a bit of a box office flop for DreamWorks, so it probably won’t get a nomination.
- Penguins of Madagascar. It hasn’t been released yet, but this movie will definitely be all about the humour, and the Academy isn’t the keenest on flat-out comedy.
- The Pirate Fairy. A film aimed at little girls that continues the tales of the fairy Tinkerbell. None of its predecessors have been nominated yet, so it’s chances are slim.
- Planes: Fire and Rescue. Not a heavy hitter at the box office, and not the most positively-reviewed film ever, Planes: Fire and Rescue is fun but probably not enough to get nominated.
- Rio 2. It may have earned almost half a billion dollars worldwide, but it’s mediocre reviews and sequel status will probably leave it out of the running.
- Rocks in My Pockets. A witty, culturally relevant film about 5 women searching for sanity in a crazy world. It looks good enough for a nomination, but it’s quite obscure and might just miss out.
- Song of the Sea. Looks beautiful in the trailers and promo screenshots. But will it be noticed by the Academy?
- The Tale of the Princess Kaguya. A nomination for Studio Ghibli’s latest film is a safe bet, thanks to a high reputation and very positive reviews.
So, Big Hero 6, Dragons 2, and The LEGO Movie are all practically certain to get nominated. The Boxtrolls is the most likely bet for the 4th spot (although The Book Of Life is still in with a chance here) while The Tale of Princess Kaguya will probably take the 5th nomination (although Song of the Sea could swoop in here). All in all, it looks like a diverse selection of potential nominees this year, but who will (or who should) take away the prize?
Next time: AWARD PREDICTIONS: 2015 OSCARS Part 2 (Best Animated Feature Win)