Oscar History

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« European Award Noms (Shades of Oscar, 2011 AND 2010) | Main | Interview: Pixar's Enrico Casarosa and "La Luna" »

18 Animated Features for Oscar. Will 5 Nominees Bring Diversity?

It will undoubtedly seem strange to chase Michael's Pixar interview with another reminder that I have no patience for Cars 2, but I must. With the reveal of the Best Animated Feature submission list, we know that Pixar has a much better shot than ever at yet another Oscar nomination in this category. Pixar has deserved all of its Best Animated Feature Oscar wins and more still (Shrek over Monsters Inc.??? Yep, still embarrassing!) But Oscar nominations mean a lot more when you don't get them out of habit or loyalty to the brand. Will the nominating voters dare step out of Pixar's anthropomorphic vehicles this year to look at, say, an acclaimed racy animated romance among Cuban immigrants?

If at least 16 of these 18 pass the Academy's eligibility requirements, the nominating committee can choose 5 of them as nominees.

The 18 Submitted Toons Are...

  • The Adventures of Tintin (opens Dec 21st)
  • Alois Nebel (The Czech Republic's Best Foreign Film Submission so it could be nominated in two categories - see our TIFF review)
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked (opens Dec 16th)
  • Arthur Christmas (opens Nov 23rd)
  • Cars 2 
  • A Cat in Paris (this one is a feline noir homage from Belgium) 
  • Chico & Rita (a music-heavy romance between a pianist and a singer)
  • Gnomeo & Juliet 
  • Happy Feet Two (opens Nov 18th)
  • Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil 
  • Kung Fu Panda 2 
  • Mars Needs Moms 
  • Puss in Boots 
  • Rango 
  • Rio 
  • The Smurfs 
  • Winnie the Pooh 
  • Wrinkles (a Spanish drama about two old men, one with alzheimers)


It's strange that nearly 33% of eligible films can be nominated. Can you imagine if Best Picture worked like this. Would the Oscars mean anything at all if 91 films were nominated for Best Picture each year?!? That's how many there would be (approximately) each year if 33% of eligible films were nominated. The ceremony would never end just from reading all the names!

"Wrinkles" is about a friendship between two old men.

Seeing all the titles together you can't help but notice how much more flexible the animated film is in other countries: American cinema is still locked into the notion that the animated film is a genre (boisterous colorful family comedies) rather than an artistic medium capable of housing all genres; Across oceans and borders we get a drama about old men with alzheimers, a musical romance with nudity, a witty noir about a cat leading a double life, and a historically haunted black and white drama about a man in a sanotorium. 

I'd love to hear your thoughts about the Best Animated Feature Oscar race.
It's not my strong suit as predictions or knowledge goes... though I'll start seeing more of these very soon.

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Reader Comments (15)

The list is full of diversity, especially with those foreign nominees. I really hope that the Academy decides to honor a few of those - a list with a little more than just computer animation and Pixar films would be nice!

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterRobert

Shrek > Monsters. Inc.

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterabc

Have you seen Tintin afterall, Nathaniel? Are you under embargo?

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

I don't know if Tintin has it in the bag, really. After all, the animation branch hasn't exactly fallen head over heels for the motion-capture thing so far, which leads me to believe that some of its members haven't embraced the format as yet. That's not to say that Tintin should be counted out, especially if it turns out to be a big hit. But I also think this category could go in any of a number of possible directions, especially since perennial frontrunner Pixar has submitted their worst-reviewed movie to date. We could just as easily be looking at something like Rango taking home the award, which would be fine with me.

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPaul C.

I'm off to see Tintin tomorrow, have been looking forward to it for a long time!

I couldn't help but notice quite a few "part 2"s in that list... are the animated films going the way of the rest of Hollywood? Sequels and prequels and remakes galore? *sigh*

Anyhow, I hope some of the "non standard" animated films (i.e. those not specifically made for kids) get a chance this year!

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCrazyCris

So at first glance, barring a disaster, it looks like Tintin takes this without much fuss. Agreed?

November 5, 2011 | Registered CommenterMichael C.

I'm not so sure. Chico and Rita would be the one I hope wins (it's truly magnificent) but Tintin does look somewhat of a behemoth even if it is not the best film of the bunch.

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterNick

I can't wait for interesting nominees this year since Cars 2 sucks so much. :D

P.S. this is off topic, but I saw Spirited Away recently, and it was AMAZING. Simply amazing. I was blown away, how had I not seen it for so long? It even made me emotional at the end.

November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPhilip

I have a terrible vision of The Smurfs getting an Oscar nomination. Make it go away.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterkin

kin -- begone blue hallucination. this will never happen

November 6, 2011 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

My take on the race is that Tintin's hurdle is to get nominated; so long as animators' prejudice against motion-capture doesn't get in the way, the wider Academy membership will vote the win to Spielberg.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSean C.

I think Sean C. is right; it's going to be harder for Tintin to get the nomination than it will be for it to get the win. Based on early word of mouth, it looks like it could be this year's winner, but that's only if the animation branch is willing to nominate a motion-capture film. If it gets nominated, though, I think a win would be extremely likely.

It also remains to be seen if Arthur Christmas is prime Aardman or another forgettable effort ala Flushed Away. If it's the former, a nomination is probably assured. Happy Feet Two is also a big question mark right now. Animation sequels are rarely the equals of their predecessors, but if it's at least close enough in quality, it's probably in too.

I, for one, actually thought Kung Fu Panda 2 was better than the original, and I'd really love to see it nominated, but I think it will only happen if Arthur Christmas and/or Happy Feet Two underwhelm. In any case, it deserves it a hell of a lot more than Cars 2, so I sincerely hope Pixar loyalty does not factor in and cost a more deserving film the nomination.

For now, I think Rango is the safest bet for a nomination, with Tintin looking very good assuming they can get over the motion-capture prejudice. I'm not feeling it for Puss in Boots, but I guess it's possible. I think it will look something like this:

The Adventures of Tintin
Alois Nebel
(they usually like to include one "artsy" pick)
Arthur Christmas
Happy Feet Two
(but Kung Fu Panda 2 could easily take its place)

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJohn-Paul

Gee, my bad. I just clicked the "Reviews" section and found an answer to my question.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGustavo

Wouldn't it be great if the animator's branch gave Hollywood a big fuck you and nominated "Wrinkles", "Chico & Rita", "A Cat in Paris" and "Alois Nobel"? And "Rango" because it's actually a really good movie. Stuff like "Tintin", "Happy Feet 2", "Chipmunks 3" and "Mars Needs Moms" still haven't been officially deemed eligible due to issues pertaining to motion capture and percentage of featured animation.

November 6, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn

Why weren't there enough films to make 5 nominees LAST YEAR? Boooo.

"Tin Tin"'s winning. Moving on . . .

November 7, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterPDX
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