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Best Actress -- Who will be nominated?
Davis? Blunt? Adams? Chastain?

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Entries in Pixar (66)

Monday
Apr042016

April Foolish Predix: Best Animated Features

It's past time to begin our annual tradition of predicting the future Oscar nominees way before anyone should (yes, I'm aware that nowadays every clickbait site does it the day after the Oscars but we're not into that. Jesus, ppl, let each film year settle!). Let's start with the easiest category in that it's its own world entirely, The Animated Feature. Last year was a relatively thin year for the medium, in that the number of eligible films just barely triggered a 5 wide field. We shouldn't expect a similar dearth this year.

After all 2016's already delivered a possible frontrunner (the delightful Zootopia), a hit that people have already forgotten about (Kung Fu Panda 3... currently #4 of 2016 but have you ever heard anyone talk about it?), trailers to roughly a billion would be cartoon blockbusters scheduled for 2016, and the very tantalizing prospects of an original Disney musical (Moana) and a new Laika feature (Kubo and the Two Strings).

So who do we think will win the nominations this year? I'm not falling into the trap of assuming Pixar is locked up each year (we saw The Good Dinosaur go nowhere, really, in terms of critics and awards enthusiasm) so my big no guts no glory call is that Finding Dory will miss a nomination. Yes, everyone loves Dory and Finding Nemo (2003) but I'm suspicious of a mere fanservice treading of water outing, pun intended, while we wait for a cool original again a la Inside Out. It's a strange reversal that Disney has suddenly taken up the "original" baton and Pixar is wasting its time with sequelitis.

What's below the US radar? Generally speaking online punditry seems to forget that the Academy's animation branch rightly takes foreign cartoons seriously when they're making their calls so something smallish and non American always shows up in the final shortlist. This early -- again, way too early -- I'm guessing that's The Red Turtle. It's due in September from Wild Bunch and Studio Ghibli and given those two companies it will surely be beautiful. Plus it's wordless which should be interesting. The other film I'd ink in if I was sure it would be released in time is Loving Vincent, an entirely oil painted (!!!) animated biopic of Vincent Van Gogh. 

There's a lot to consider out there: martial artist pandas, red turtles, amnesian fish, little princes, secretive pets, pissed off birds, delicious trolls, singing pigs, genius artists, island girls and demigods, police bunnies and more. Check out the chart and do speak up in the comments. 

 

Tuesday
Mar012016

Pt 2: New Oscar Trivia, Stats, and Curiosities

Picking up where we left off after the headliner categories. But click not away. The below the line crafts and specialty categories are just as important and trivia-interesting. I promise.

FOR THE EYES

Production Design: Colin Gibson, Mad Max: Fury Road
Makeup and Hairstyling
: Mad Max: Fury Road
Costume Design: Jenny Beavan, Mad Max: Fury Road

Jenny Beavan previously won the costume category for another perfect film A Room With a View. Not since arguably Dianne Wiest has a two time winner won for such polar opposite achievements. Yes both of Wiest's Oscars are from Woody Allen pictures but those star turns couldn't be more different stylistically / emotionally / pscyhologically. Mad Max Fury Road is also the first sci-fi winner EVER in this category... unless you count Star Wars (1977) though some people prefer lumping Star Wars into the fantasy genre rather than sci-fi... and there have been multiple fantasy winners.

I can't think of any interesting stats to go with the Makeup and Production Design Oscars but they were richly earned, don't you think?

More after the jump including further Star Wars coincidences...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Feb252016

Oscar's Animated Shorts. Who Will Prevail?

In Part 1 we looked at the nominees from Best Live Action Short and Best Documentary Short one of which was animated. Here's Part 2 where all the animated films usually go.

Best Animated Short

Sanjay’s Super Team features a young Indian boy whose love of Western television and superheroes frustrates his traditional Hindu father.  The film comes under the Disney/Pixar imprimatur and looks just like every short you see before a new Pixar full-length release.  It has a sweet personal touch from the director, but it’s standard-issue short-form Pixar. 

Pro:  Pixar.  Con:  None.

four more films after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Jan282016

Tim's Toons: A preview of 2016 in animated features

Tim here. Kung Fu Panda 3 opens this weekend, and thus begins one of the most crowded years for animated features in living memory (technically, Norm of the North already kicked things off two weeks ago, but we're all better off consigning that one to the memory hole).

As a public service, I'd like to offer this highly abbreviated guide to some of the animation that will be coming out in the U.S. over the next 11 months. As with every year, there will of course be a healthy number of foreign imports that we can't predict, and hopefully a little indie or two that nobody has heard about yet; best to think of this, maybe, as a handy field guide to clearing your way through the glut of big-ticket studio films about to reign down upon us all.

Lots more Toons after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec012015

Annie Awards Give Love to Pixar (and "Judy" in The Revenant!)

The Annie Awards, now in their 43rd year, seemed to have stabilized after their controversial laden years when people felt they were to beholden to Dreamworks Animation (am I remembering this correctly?) within their voting ranks. But their nominations often still feel quite random as in voice acting where Richard Kind was shut out for "bing bong" in Inside Out. Or Tom Noonan, who voices almost every character in Anomalisa, being ignored. Or their character design and visual effects nominations sometimes specifying individual scenes or categories and sometimes just labelled "all". And the varying number of nominations per category.

In short: their executive body really needs to sharpen up their rules so they feel more respectable / consistent.

But it was a good morning for Pixar since Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur dominated with 14 and 10 nods respectively. As for their competition for Oscar gold, good showings for Anomalisa, Shaun the Sheep and Peanuts with 5 nominations each. The low profile but reportedly excellent Brazilian feature Boy and the World received 3 nominations.

Even some live action films get honored by the Annies since most films get computer animated assists these days so... what's that? The Revenant was nominated? See more after the jump...

Click to read more ...

Monday
Nov302015

Review: The Good Dinosaur

Tim here. The Good Dinosaur is, in the first place, a kids' film: not a film about kids but also somewhat for adults, like Inside Out. Or, indeed, most of what Pixar Animation Studios has produced in its 20 years of making features. In fact, even including the unabashed toy commercials of the Cars franchise, this might be the most unmixed "for the kids" movie out of the 16 films of the Pixar canon. This has translated into a lot of disappointment from a lot of people openly hoping for another film at the Inside Out level of emotional sophistication and narrative creativity, which was really never going to be in the cards; frankly, the movie doesn't seem to have any designs on that kind of sophistication.

Still, it's easy to be too harsh on the movie: simple and direct as The Good Dinosaur certainly is, it's an enormously strong version of its stock narrative.

Click to read more ...

Thursday
Nov192015

The animated short films Oscar shortlist

Tim here. Today, the Academy announced that it has whittled the initial list of 60 titles eligible for the Best Animated Short Film Oscar down to ten finalists that will go on to compete for the five nominations in January. Like all of you, I imagine, I haven't seen most of these ten, but let's run through them quickly to see what we've got:

Bear Story (Historia de un oso) - Gabriel Osorio, director; Pato Escala, producer (Punkrobot Animation Studio)
This Chilean effort - Cartoon Brew notes that it would be the first Chilean film ever nominated if it makes it - looks to be a toy-esque animal fable done in charmingly plasticky CGI. Trailer

Carface (Autos Portraits) - Claude Cloutier, director (National Film Board of Canada)
A car with, get this, a face, sings "Que Sera, Sera", accompanied by images in thick lines and full color of cars and machines. It never does to count out the NFB, which has one of the most reliable histories of producing terrific animated shorts anywhere in the world. Trailer

The other eight nominees below the jump

Click to read more ...