If only Laika had waited until 2017 to release Kubo and the Two Strings -they might finally have won that elusive Oscar that almost always goes to Disney or Disney/Pixar.
As previously discussed this year's animated slate doesn't look too promising in terms of American studio features, and there's also a complete absence of stop motion features *sniffle* from abroad as far as we can tell. What's worse, the Academy's just-announced a rule change for voting on the animated features that might well make the category less penetrable for brilliant work from across the ocean. But we'll have to wait and see if our worst fears materialize.
First Oscar Predictions for 2017's Best Animated Feature
- The Breadwinner (GKids/Cartoon Saloon)
The Irish company Cartoon Saloon has had two Oscar nominations, both for Tomm Moore (Song of the Sea, The Secret of Kells). The Breadwinner is their first feature without him in the director's chair. This time it's Nora Twomey who worked on both of those features and is a co-founder of the company. But with an Oscar history and a powerhouse producer (Angelina Jolie) our bet is they still have a good shot at a nomination if the film is finished on schedule despite the new Academy rules
- Cars 3 (Disney/Pixar)
Cars 2 was justifiably ignored by the Academy but with the new 'everyone's welcome' voting, it seems unlikely that Pixar will miss ever again.
- Coco (Disney/Pixar)
This will be Pixar's last non-sequel for a long while *sniffle*
- Despicable Me 3 (Universal)
The previous film was Oscar nominated but the first and the spin-off (Minions) were not. We shall see.
- Ferdinand (Fox/Blue Sky)
This children's tale of a flower-loving bull who doesn't like to fight inspired a basically perfect Oscar winning short in 1938. Whether a whole feature will be as effective remains to be seen but the trailer is cute. Blue Sky first became famous by winning the animated short category for a film called Bunny (1998) but it's been a long time since they had a true across the board success (critics/audience/awards) ...not since Ice Age (2002).
The presence of two sequels in these predictions is a result of our fear of what will become of the category with more non-animators voting and likely to rally around the highest profile studio efforts. But you'll want to check out the brand new chart for more info and a comprehensive-as-we-could-make-it list of 30+ other possibilities.
Comments are welcome. What does your crystal ball show you about this category next season?
And while we're at it let's pray that 2018 is spectacular. We know at least one filmmaker returning who tends to amaze. Tomm Moore will compete his Irish folklore themed trilogy (the other two were both marvelous and earned those nominations) with Wolfwalkers (2018). Here's the proof of concept reel.