Oscar History

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Animated Feature, the April Foolish Oscar Predictions

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.

Owen Wilson poses with a life size McQueen for "Cars 3"

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. 

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Reader Comments (8)

I am curious to see how, if at all, the gender politics are updated in 'Ferdinand.' It has been awhile, but isn't the bull the kind of character that would've been criticized in 'The Celuloid Closet'? Anyway, good on Fox/Blue Sky for scooping Disney in its efforts to remake allllllll its classics.

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterDusty

while Ferdinand is set here in Spain, in both Ronda (awesome looking, iconic town, birthplace of modern bullfighting) and Madrid (that bullring IS so obviously Las Ventas), the odds for this film's success depend on how clearly it will become a candy-version of bullfighting or speak out against it.

Because bullfights are just an stylish kind of animal torture and murder that generates a really wealthy business worldwide. I'm against it, for being animal cruelty, and that's a growing feel in Spain, too, with the business not going through its more popular time, exactly.

Remember the "Talk to her" controversy for its bullfight scene? Multiply this one exponentially. I think it has a better chance if the overall message is AGAINST bullfight (which should be, given the POV being on the victim's eyes).

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

Wasn't Blue Sky nominated for Ice Age?

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterN8

n8 -- ACK. you're right. I was scouring the lists to double check but just goes to show me: triple-check!

Dusty -- yeah, i worry this new one will lose the queer resonance (i personally LOVE the Disney short. I think it's very sympathetic to Ferdinand's otherness).

Jesus -- considering the bull is a lover not a fighter, I'm guessing the message is pro-Ferdinand.

April 10, 2017 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Ugh, Ice Age was truly derivative. I can't believe it got four sequels. Or was it five? But I actually really liked Blue Sky's The Peanuts Movie from a couple of years ago. It was so charming.

Song of the Sea was visually stunning, and I anticipate that The Breadwinner will be, too. Sometimes it's hard to reconcile the same committee nominating both Ice Age and Song of the Sea. I'm hoping the former was released in a really weak year.

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterCash

So, none of the lego movies?
I think at least Lego Batman has more chances than either ofthe "3" secuels. Even with the new system.

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered Commenterchatan

The "Rio" films, also directed by Carlos Saldanha, were quite critical of the animal poaching and Amazon logging common in the director's native Brazil. So I'm fully expecting "Ferdinand" to have an anti-bull fighting message. "Ferdinand" is currently my most anticipated animated film of the year, being quite fond of "Rio" and Blue Sky's output (barring the last couple of 'Ice Age" sequels), so consider me rooting for it, sight unseen.

I'm sure, with the implementation of this new rule, indie distributors like GKIDS, Focus Features and Sony Classics will find ways to make the smaller animated films seen. Lest we forget, My Life as a Zucchini managed to get a surprise Golden Globe nomination, mostly thanks to GKIDS's crafty campaigning. So, unlike most people, I'm not worried about a best animated feature field with the likes of The Boss Baby. It's a preferential ballot, isn't it? So, the films being ranked #1 and #2 on the ballots will benefit the most and I don't think many voters will throw their vote away on lightweight fare.

Sony Animation's "The Star" is what I'm particularly curious about. Timothy Reckart, who was nominated for best animated short a couple of years back, is directing it and it's a co-production between Sony's religious films unit and the Jim Henson Company. They have three animated films opening this year and that feels like the one they might push the most for awards consideration.

April 10, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Coat

If outsiders are now voting on this? Drop Star from the top 10 for the MLP: Friendship is Magic movie. (Faith based films are popular right now, but not respected. God's Not Dead, anyone? Friendship is Magic is RESPECTED.)

1. Coco (locked)
2. Despicable Me 3 (probable)
3. The Breadwinner (probable)
4. The Lego Batman Movie (highly possible, but not quite ensured)
5. Ferdinand
6. Cars 3
7. My Little Pony: The Movie (The three that seem most like "could happen" cases)
8. The Boss Baby
9. Captain Underpants (Even with the more populist new system...don't buy either of these happening)
10. Loving Vincent

April 11, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

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