Animated Oscar Race Begins!

Earlier this year it was announced that the Best Picture category was going to be greatly expanded. Now it seems that the Animated Feature category is shooting for a growth spurt as well. While in past years there has usually been 3 nominees, this year there could be five.

According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences rules, there must be at least 16 eligible films in a year to expand to five noms (likewise, if fewer than eight enter, the category disappears). This year, 20 films were submitted for consideration. Since many of the animated films have not yet opened, and the Academy has not yet viewed all contenders, it is possible some of them will be disqualified, but it’s highly unlikely that five or more have the chopping block.

The 20 submitted features are:

Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Squeakquel
Astro Boy
Battle for Terra
Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
Disney’s A Christmas Carol
The Dolphin – Story of a Dreamer
Fantastic Mr. Fox
Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
Mary and Max
The Missing Lynx
Monsters vs. Aliens
Planet 51
The Princess and the Frog
The Secret of Kells
Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
A Town Called Panic

These entries represent a wide range of animation styles from traditional hand-drawn and computer-generated to stop-motion. Also, a record six films were released in 3D.

This is only the second time the animation race has featured five nominees, the first was in 2002. There has been a big push this year by the studios to reach the required sixteen contenders. Disney and Fox even went so far as to submit films they were quite certain would never be nominated in order to improve the chances of their stronger contenders. Disney gave the straight-to-DVD Tinker Bell prequel a one-week qualifying run and Fox plans to do the same with The Dolphin.

But seven of the 20 films have not yet had their L.A. qualifying runs: Alvin, The Dolphin, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Planet 51, The Princess and the Frog, The Secret of Kells and A Town Called Panic. And for a film to quality, a print of it must be submitted to the Academy by Monday.

The 82nd Academy Awards nominations will be announced Feb. 2 and statues will be presented March 7.

While I’ve not seen many of the films on the list I’d guess the final five to be: Coraline, A Christmas Carol, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up and The Princess and the Frog. And based solely on the trailer my vote would easily be for Fantastic Mr. Fox. Guess we’ll just have to wait and see.

Source: Variety

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