A total of 18 films have been submitted for consideration by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature.
The Award, introduced in 2001 with Shrek winning the inaugural award, is only given when there are at least 8 feature length films (that is, over 40 minutes) with an Oscar-qualifying run in Los Angeles. If there are 16 or more film submitted in a particular year, the films will be shortlisted to five nominations for the ceremony on 27 February 2012. So far, with the exception of 2002 and 2009, there have only ever been 3 shortlisted, indicating the proliferation of films in the animation category. To be eligible for the other categories, such as Best Picture, they must meet those requirements as well. Who said the Oscars were all glitz and glamour?
And the potential nominees are:
- The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn
- Alois Nebel
- Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
- Arthur Christmas
- Cars 2
- A Cat in Paris
- Chico & Rita
- Gnomeo & Juliet
- Happy Feet Two
- Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
- Kung Fu Panda 2
- Mars Needs Moms
- Puss in Boots
- The Smurfs
- Winnie the Pooh
So what do we all think will be the top 5 this year? We can probably safely count in The Adventures of Tintin: The Secret of the Unicorn, Rango and Puss in Boots. Indeed, Rango scored incredibly well with critics, and kind of took everybody by surprise by being an animated film that kids and adults could enjoy that came from neither Disney/Pixar or DreamWorks. Disney/Pixar has won the last four in a row, and taken out six of the ten awards given to date, so we can’t count Cars 2 out just yet, as much as we may like to. However, Winnie the Pooh, as terrific as it was, has had such a timid release it will be surprising if anybody notices it not being nominated.
DreamWorks have a strong lobby, so Kung Fu Panda 2 is definitely a possibility, and let’s not forget that Warner’s Happy Feet Two is a sequel to a former winner of the category. However, the international dark horses of France’s A Cat in Paris, already a favourite on the festival circuit, Blue Sky’s surprisingly good Rio and the Alzheimer’s themed Spanish film Wrinkles is bound to get a look-in. We are also yet to see Sony’s Arthur Christmas, which has a strong pedigree in director Sarah Smith, who has produced or written superior UK comedies The League of Gentlemen and I Am Not an Animal. Expect off-beat humour.
The final Oscar nominees for the 84th Academy Awards will be announced 24 January 2012.