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April Foolish Predictions #1: Animated Feature

[drumroll] It's Time! Our annual April Foolish Oscar Predictions have begun.

Please bear in mind that, though the predictions may actually seem foolish and will surely be out of date within a few weeks (if not sooner as more concrete news about the film year emerges), we are actually pretty good at this. Before each category we'll tell you what we generally score this far in advance. And if you think it seems low, that just proves to us that you haven't actually written down your predictions during the first week of april, not changed them with every scrap of news you heard, and then checked that hard copy nearly a year later to see how well it held up!

First up is Best Animated Feature where our traditional prediction score this early is 3/5. But 2019 might well hold more suprises than usual...

Every surefire box office behemoth, for example, is coming with a huge worrying question mark. Can Toy Story 4 feel non-redundant and actually resonate when Toy Story 3's entire gravitas sprung from the fact that it was so final, an actual gorgeous ending to a nearly perfect series. (But, sigh, franchises never end even when they announce that they have.)

Can Frozen 2 somehow be any good whatsoever as it chases the lightning in a bottle success of the original? The likelihood of coming up with another "Let it Go" for example is about .001% since crossover behemoth songs that culturally ubiquitous generally only happen about once every 10-15 years or so. And did you all see how terrible those post-win shorts were for both of these franchises a while back?

And what will Oscar's animation branch even do when most of their mainstream options are sequels but they haven't, in the past, shown all that much interest in franchise entries. The only traditional sequel (i.e. non spinoff or adaptation from other media or from short films) that's ever won the Oscar in this category is Toy Story 3. In fact 12 of the 18 years have had no sequels nominated at all... and that isn't from lack of animated sequels being available to voters.

And speaking of sequels since Disney has INSISTED on referring to their animated Lion King remake as a "live-action" film (and most of the public and the media has followed like sheep, despite, you know, facts) will they even submit it for consideration in this category even though it's 100% an animated feature?

Compounding the problem of sameness is this nagging feeling that Disney/Pixar can't actually maintain their strangehold on this category forever. There's going to become a point (whether soon or much later) when genuine fan or media (or both) backlash forms given that there are several fine studios that can't manage a win when the Academy always defaults to the Mouse House. Between the two companies they've had 23 nominations and 12 wins or 31% of all nominations and 66% of all wins.

If Oscar voters are looking for something new, Netflix might have a window if Sergio Pablos finishes Klaus in time and if Netflix gives it the theatrical push they're promising and if voters respond to Pablos's buzzy animation which is traditional 2D animation lit to appear 3D. But that's a lot of "ifs". Regardless Sergio Pablos has a bright future. He wrote the stories that the Despicable Me franchise and the Smallfoot film launched from and before running his own studio in Madrid, he worked as an animator on films like Tarzan, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Rio. Klaus is his directorial debut.

KLAUS, supposedly due on Christmas day from Netflix, but we'll see.

Animation Studios with wins in this category

  • Pixar (9 wins from 12 nods... four of those wins were consecutive! They've won exactly 50% of the Animated Feature Oscars)
  • Disney (3 wins from 11 nods)
  • DreamWorks (1 win from 11 nods)
  • Studio Ghibli (1 win from 6 nods)
  • Aardman (1 win from 3 nods)
  • Nickelodeon (1 win from 2 nods)
  • Sony Pictures Animation (1 win from 2 nods) 

The most prominent nominated animation forces that have never won

  • Laika (4 nominations -- i.e. every single feature they've made)
  • Cartoon Saloon (3 nominations -- i.e. every single feature they've made)
  • Les Armateurs (2 nominations... plus work on one of Cartoon Saloon's nominees)
  • Blue Sky (2 nominations)
  • Tim Burton (2 nominations --- i.e. every animated film he's directed)
  • Wes Anderson (2 nominations --- i.e. every animated film he's directed)
  • Illumination (1 nomination)



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Reader Comments (14)

Klaus as an animated feature nominee? It kind of has to outdo Arthur Christmas (the last major animated Christmas movie and the best studio cartoon to date that has missed an animation nomination (Arthur Christmas over Puss in Boots or Kung Fu Panda 2? YES! PLEASE!)), and the 2D art style feels like an odd stylistic call. The story here is basically "The Origin of Special Delivery", so you'd think they'd go for either the 2D or stop motion flavours of Rankin/Bass, and this doesn't look like it's really aiming for either. Also: Why release the Christmas special on Christmas Day? Wouldn't November 25-December 1 be the better release date? At least then, you have a few weeks before people want to move on from it, not just one day.

April 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

As for what I'd be expecting?

1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World (At the end of it, my reaction amounted to: They pulled off the Lord of the Rings trick. This movie on its own merits is a B+, same as the last one. These three movies on their collective merit are an A+. I'd say this is the safest bet for the winner.)
2. Missing Link (Laika has always made it, even as the public hasn't cottoned on. They'll win eventually, but not sure this is the year for it.)
3. Toy Story 4 (Yeeeeeeep. Forky is going to be enough of a hit for this one to be nominated.)
4. Frozen 2 (Yeeeeah, I think you're definitely underestimating this one's possibility on paper. If they actually pull off/commit to the apocalyptic undercurrent the teaser implied, I'd bet they're at least in for the nomination.)
5. Bunuel in the Labyrinth of Turtles
6. UglyDolls (Yes, the movie is mostly Pop Stars as opposed to film people. But: It's a full blown musical, so that's who you'd want in it. Aesthetic looks interesting. Message is stock, but seems well structured. If this is a hit, we MIGHT not have an "art" nominee.)
7. The Lego Movie 2 (It wasn't as big a box office hit as the first one, but hey, I can't entirely discount the possibility parts of the Academy will gravitate toward a movie with essentially the same end message as Threw it On the Ground. Plus: Spider-Verse afterglow.)
8. Klaus (I mean, I don't hate the art style, but I think they maybe put a bit TOO much effort in? Plus, they skipped the last Christmas toon they could have gone for.)
9. Farmageddon: A Shaun the Sheep Movie (They like but don't love Aardman (Arthur Christmas was easily worthier than either DreamWorks nominee in 2011) and occasionally bite for but don't really love sequels.)
10. Funan. (The other big "art movie" selection, but feels less likely than the Bunuel one.)
(Biggest "Not sure I get the prediction" selections in the top 10 are Wish Dragon and The Lion King. The movie most comparable to Wish Dragon, at least on paper, is Rock Dog and as for The Lion King, we have the problem that people are quickly growing to DETEST the Disney Remakes on principle. The Academy is a lot of things, but they only really risk the ire of people with taste for bad biographies.)

April 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterVolvagia

I just want Laika to win at least once...

April 3, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterJoey

Thank you very much for the nice share about the animation feature I have been waiting for since a very long time.

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterghd sports live tv

Thank you very much for the nice share about the animation feature, I love watching live sports for free using live tv streaming service by ghd sports app

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterghd sports live tv

i had no idea there was a sheepquel coming and i am over excited - shaun the sheep movie was my favourite pic of 2015

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterpar

add Sylvain Chomet 'The Thousand Miles' on your list.

"In 1950s Italy, two middle-aged brothers go on a magical odyssey through their past as they take part in the world's most beautiful car race: the Mille Miglia. Based on Federico Fellini's drawings and diaries.'

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterjennifer

I LOVE that you do this early lists! I LOVE it! Thank you so much!

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterbillybil

I'm always rooting for Laika.

And I think I need to go watch The Missing Link trailer again. :)

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered Commentershawshank

It's good you got the animated feature category up first. Also here are my predictions for this year after seeing your picks

1. How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World
2. Missing Link
3. Toy Story 4
4. Weathering with You (that reminds me, can you put that in the list please just in case?)
5. Wish Dragon

April 4, 2019 | Unregistered CommenterAlex Hartsell

ALEX --- argh. I did so much research on 2019 titles and on animation spcific sites and somehow this one never came up. argh. Your Name was really good so this should definitely be on the list.

April 4, 2019 | Registered CommenterNATHANIEL R

Wow it was really nice story based trailer i like it

July 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterghdsports

It was one of the best animation trailer i loved it and thank you for share

July 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commenterthoptv

April foolish ... yeah it was best animation movie and more of the people like it.

July 13, 2019 | Unregistered Commentergomaxtv

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