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« Ashley Judd, Pulp Queen | Main | The April Foolish Oscar Predictions Begin... »

April Foolish Predictions: 4 Questions About Best Animated Feature

Last year's Best Animated Feature field was remarkably empty and 2018, at first glance, also doesn't look that promising. You can probably take it to the bank that Wes Anderson's Isle of Dogs will be squaring off against the sequels to Wreck it Ralph and The Incredibles. And it shouldn't be THAT easy to know what's going to happen a full year in advance, should it?

Of course we don't know everything yet. It's tough to foresee which foreign entries will qualify, for example. 2018 seems bereft of an obvious non-American competitor (last year it was easy to see The Breadwinner coming, which is why we predicted it a year in advance). [Four questions and ways to improve the category after the jump...]

We're 17 years into the category and given the very very low threshold for triggering a set of five nominees, it's just not a regularly competitive category. In those 17 years only 3 of the competitive fields have felt like an actual race for the win (2012, 2014, and 2016) and not just one locked-up frontrunner with an underdog spoiler that is not really going to happen. Further adding to the rote feeling of the category is the sameness of winners. In the first seventeen years of the category only two features that were not American CGI adventure comedy types have won (Hayao Miyazaki's traditionally animated Spirited Away from Japan and Aardman animation's stop motion horror comedy Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit from the UK).

QUESTION 1: So what can be done to improve the category?

How about a larger pool of contenders to trigger a full category or nominating committees with executive interference as with Foreign Language Film?  Currently it only requires 16 features to trigger a 5 nominee race. As we've stated before but feel we should keep repeating, if you use those percentages for its sibling category Best Picture, you'd have about 90 or so Best Picture nominees each year. Best Foreign Language Film usually has an eligible field that's 4 times the size of the Animated field and they're allowed only the same amount of nominees. So why do they make it so easy to be nominated for Animated Feature? Here at TFE we're always complaining that Makeup and Hair is a ghetto category that's only allowed 3 nominees (despite every other category getting three) when every single live action movie uses Makeup and Hair people but if there's a category out there that should only be allowed three nominees, isn't it Animated Feature given the shallow pool of possibilities? 

This extended gag in the "Ralph Breaks the Internet" trailer really lands, doesn't it?

QUESTION #2: Do you think Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2 will do what other animated sequels couldn't and win the Oscar its predecessor lost? (Before you say Toy Story 3 please note that the category didn't exist when the first two Toy Story films were released.)  

QUESTION #3: Do you think Incredibles 2 can do what no other animated sequels have done and win a follow-up Oscar for the same franchise? (Repeat: Before you say Toy Story 3 please note that the category didn't exist when the first two Toy Story films were released.)

QUESTION #4: Which animated film that's NOT a sequel are you most excited to see this year?

Channing Tatum stars as Migo in "Small Foot"


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Reader Comments (15)

Non Ghibli Anime has NEVER HAPPENED, so it would probably take someone comparably "big deal" to break that. From 2001-2010, the assumption was that Satoshi Kon (Millennium Actress, Tokyo Godfathers and Paprika) would be the first non-Ghibli to break through. Now, that mantle has passed to Mamoru Hosada (in addition to The Boy and The Beast, he also has The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Summer Wars and Wolf Children to his name), and I'd definitely hope for his film to make it over a movie whose trailer had...glaringly unfinished animation. I mean, I do like the idea of Into the Spider-Verse (Miles Morales Spider-Man? Cool.) and kind of love the art style, but, unless it delays, I'm also expecting a lot of complaints over spotty, stuttering animation.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

"Anubis" is listed on the last column on the animation page, but that project was sadly cancelled and is no longer on the release schedule. Blue Sky's next release is "Pigeon Impossible", which opens next year.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMr Coat

Mr Coat -- thanks. I was wondering why info was so hard to come by on that one. It's weird that on the internet despite the wealth of information sometimes info is scarce. Like, I read on what site that Hoffmaniada (which has been around for years unfinished) had a screening at Berlinale just two months ago but can find NO info about reactions to it or if that screening actually occured (sigh)

April 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Bad news about the film Big Fish and Begonia. It won't be eligible because it played theatrically in China prior to January 1, 2017 (Rule 3 #3), which is the cut-off date. That's a shame. It's wonderful.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered Commenterken s.

I kind of wonder if Ready Player One cracks here-I've heard it's animated enough to be eligible. Eventually a partially-live action film will be cited here, and if anyone can do it, wouldn't it be Spielberg?

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJohn T

What about Wolfwalkers, the animation from Tom Moore that you listed in last year April foolishness? Any news?

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterTheBoyFromBrazil

The Boy From --- i'm guessing 2019 or 2020 on that one because last year it was just a proof of concept trailer so I imagine we're at least a year away still. but i haven't heard anything definitive since then.

April 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

John T -- well they would have to submit it as such and to date no live action/ animation hybrid movie has expressed interest in doing that.. You have to be 75% animated so supposedly Ready Player One is... but still. Spielberg would have to decide that he wants it to be considered an animated film. Might be interesting if they tried it but it's not up to the Academy until someone does try it.

April 17, 2018 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

I don't see why making it harder to trigger a field of five would help things. Wouldn't be shocked if containing the field at three would be more likely to hurt the Breadwinners of the world than the Boss Babies of the world.

April 17, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterMJS

Sadly, I feel that the inclusion of Ferdinand and The Boss Baby indicate a shift toward including studio fair over worthwhile foreign features. While I truly hope that Incredibles and Wreck-It Ralph sequels deserve recognition, I feel their nominations are engraved in stone

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

"Isle of Dogs" is the one to beat. I doubt anyone will. This is probably, the most boring race of 2018.

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterJesus Alonso

Broadening the nominating committee to the whole voting members of the Academy ended up, this year, in uninspired choices in the nominees (The Boss Baby and Ferdinand, imho) whereas far more deserving movies were left out (The Big Bad Fox and Other Stories, or Cinderella the Cat, just to name two). Going back to a nominating committee seems like a much better choice, considering how much a nomination can do, and did, in terms of visibility, for products like The Boy and the World or The Red Turtle (whereas, even not considering the artistic merits, what did The Boss Baby get from a nomination? Not much)

April 18, 2018 | Unregistered Commentermarco70go

I sadly just think reducing the number of nominees (and with the current broadening of the voting body) would result in line-ups of all American CGI.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Nat and John T: I doubt Spielberg does it. The only way he would is if he found out Hollywood was on board enough to give him a W for it, not just a nomination. Did anyone like the RPO movie enough for it to endure for nine months?
Glenn: Exactly.

April 19, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I just looked at your April Fools Predictions for Best Animated Feature but here is who I think is going to be nominated next year after reading a lot in animation

* Early Man
* Incredibles 2
* Isle of Dogs
* Mirai
* Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck It Ralph 2

April 20, 2018 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hartsell

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