Animated feature forecast: could be ‘Cloudy’

Posted by · 2:57 pm · October 6th, 2009

Cloudy with a Chance of MeatballsOver at The Odds (The Wrap’s new Oscar blog, in case you haven’t been reading), Steve Pond brings up the fierce competition of this year’s animated feature category and brings up an intriguing tidbit worth considering.

In looking through Time Out London’s list of the 50 greatest animated films of all time, collected by the magazine’s editors and filmmaker Terry Gilliam, Pond takes note of the complete absence of both “Up” and “Ponyo.” These are two films considered very much in the thick of this year’s toon Oscar race, of course.

However, after that aside, he comes to the two animated films from 2009 that did make the list.  The first is Henry Selick’s “Coraline,” but, well, hopefully the other note will provide some insight to those puzzled over my animated feature film predictions.

Writes Pond:

And coming in at number 49 is a film that the editors call a “maddeningly ingenious and wildly original smart kids’ adventure [that] will one day take its rightful place in the animated pantheon”:

“Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs.”

It might be a head-scratcher, including the new Sony Animation feature from directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller. But it does serve to nicely illustrate one fact: in 2009, the competition for those three slots in the animated feature category may well be the fiercest ever.

I still say it’s a competition for one slot, as both “Up” and “Coraline” are assured nominations.  However, the third slot isn’t going to simply fall to knee-jerk Miyazaki worship or nostalgic traditional appreciation in “Ponyo” or “The Princess and the Frog” without a fight.  Animators are down with “Meatballs” in a very big way.

The only bummer here is that it’s unlikely 16 films will be submitted for qualification.  That arbitrary number will keep two other well-deserving titles out as arguments can be made for a number of titles.

Worth noting: “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” is mixed by Oscar nominees Michael Semanick (who worked on “WALL-E,” you’ll recall) and our old friend Greg P. Russell (very much in the mix with “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen”).

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30 responses so far

  • 1 10-06-2009 at 3:23 pm

    Chad Hartigan said...

    Coraline should win this hands down.

  • 2 10-06-2009 at 3:26 pm

    Loyal said...

    14 films made the shortlist last year. Is it possible to find 2 more?

    Monsters Vs Aliens
    Ice Age 3
    Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs
    Battle For Terra
    Astro Boy
    A Christmas Carol
    The Fantastic Mr. Fox
    Planet 51
    The Princess And The Frog
    G-Force (Alvin And Chipmunks made the shortlist previously)
    Alvin And The Chipmunks 2 (same reason as above)

  • 3 10-06-2009 at 3:30 pm

    Beau said...

    Dude; Fantastic Mr. Fox.
    Nuff said. :)

  • 4 10-06-2009 at 3:43 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    LoyaL: G-Force will not be submitted and $9.99 was submitted last year. There will probably only be 14, if that.

  • 5 10-06-2009 at 3:47 pm

    Mike said...

    $9.99 was on last year’s shortlist, so it won’t be there. Mary and Max will be, though, as the producers have already said that it’s getting its qualifying run and will be submitted.

    So I’m not really sure where the idea that it’s supremely unlikely that 16 films will be submitted is coming from. There are always a couple for foreign animated pictures that no one’s ever heard of that get submitted at the end (Dragon Hunters? Sword of the Stranger?), and IF all the North American companies submit their films (there would have been 16 last year had Space Chimps and Star Wars been submitted), we should be able to make it to five.

    Films that will make the shortlist assuming they’re submitted:
    1 – Up
    2 – Princess and the Frog
    3 – Ponyo
    4 – Cloudy
    5 – Coraline
    6 – Fantastic Mr. Fox
    7 – Christmas Carol
    8 – Ice Age 3
    9 – Monsters vs. Aliens
    10 – 9
    11 – Astro Boy
    12 – Planet 51
    13 – Mary and Max
    14 – Battle for Terra

    Possible Foreign Submissions:
    Arthur and the Vengeance of Matlazard (It’s not going to get a wide release like the first one did, but a qualifying run is likely)
    A Town Called Panic (Australian stop-motion film that premiered at TIFF in the Midnight Madness program and got good word)
    Alice’s Birthday (a Russian animated film that got a wide release in Russia early in the year)

    So when you add the possibility that something like Chipmunks or G-Force will be ruled eligible (I have no idea exactly how much of G-Force is considered animated nor do I really care to find out), let’s not get too hasty and write the possibility of five nominees off.

  • 6 10-06-2009 at 3:53 pm

    Damned Martian said...

    Wow, seems like I write too slowly, since everybody has already saids what I did…

  • 7 10-06-2009 at 4:02 pm

    Mike said...

    Also, I apparently know nothing because A Town Called Panic is actually Belgian and didn’t premiere in Toronto because it played at Cannes. I did get the name of the movie correct, though, so there’s that.

  • 8 10-06-2009 at 4:02 pm

    a-mad said...

    I don’t think Time Out’s intention was to include “Up” at all anyway… because it hasn’t been released yet in the UK (until this Friday). In the introduction to the list, it even says:

    “In celebration of the release of both Pixar’s ‘Up’ and Wes Anderson’s beautiful stop-motion rendering of Roald Dahl’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’…”

    They don’t mention Fantastic Mr Fox in the list either… but obviously admire it based on that statement.

    Ponyo won’t be released in the UK until Feb 5, 2010.

    “Cloudy…” would be included because its UK release date was September 18.

    That’s how I interpreted Time Out’s exclusion of Up and Ponyo… but I could be wrong.

  • 9 10-06-2009 at 4:04 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    one of the more interesting races this year. I loved cloudy its pretty amazing, if we can just get up to 16 and get five nominations this category will gain a lot more respect and were only gonna start seeing more animated movies every year with the money theyre making and other studios join in the animation game. If we get 5, id hope for
    Fantastic Mr Fox
    The Princess and the Frog

  • 10 10-06-2009 at 4:08 pm

    Guy Lodge said...

    Could “Coraline” actually win this? I’m starting to wonder.

    I finally caught up with “Up,” and it … isn’t that extraordinary, I think. How many voters are tired of the Pixar streak? A hat-trick would be quite oppressive.

  • 11 10-06-2009 at 4:13 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    a-mad: Good point.

  • 12 10-06-2009 at 4:15 pm

    Georgie said...

    I thought Up was wonderful anyway, but I imagine that if it does pull off a Best Pic nomination, a lot of it will be because of it being a Pixar film and to make up for the snubs before. Like Kate Winslet’s win in The Reader last year (in my opinion), it isn’t the nominees best work, but goodwill towards the nominee and a feeling of injustice.

    I don’t see how anyone who saw both The Reader and Revolutionary Road could think she was better than , but that says a lot about the Academy. Ricky Gervais was right.

    But I’m Team Up all the way. Saw Ponyo too, I probably would have enjoyed the non-dub more though. Wonderful visuals and music though. I have high hopes for Princess and the Frog, too.

  • 13 10-06-2009 at 4:23 pm

    Chris said...

    Also Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist” is still scheduled to come out this year. I don’t now if it could be submitted, but if it will, then there’s another one that can push the submissions to that magical number of 15…

  • 14 10-06-2009 at 4:51 pm

    Loyal said...

    14 without the really random submissions (thanks for the $9.99 catch).

    16 isn’t out the question then. I’d love to see 5 nominees.

  • 15 10-06-2009 at 4:54 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    It’s not out of the question assuming all the paperwork is filed, but this category is notorious for studios just figuring they won’t bother. That’s my point.

  • 16 10-06-2009 at 5:09 pm

    JP said...

    I just wanted to comment on the top 50 animated films: was it just me or was it odd that the list included things like “Fern Gully” and “Fritz the Cat” (I thought they were pushing it with “Robin Hood”) but neglected things like “Beauty and the Beast” and “Finding Nemo”?

  • 17 10-06-2009 at 6:13 pm

    AmericanRequiem said...

    your right JP, its an awful list

  • 18 10-06-2009 at 6:19 pm

    JP said...

    Disney will make a very bad decision if it doesn’t submit A Christmas Carol for the Oscar race. Remember that there must be at least 16 films to have 5 nominees. In the scenario in which there are only 3 films, Up and Coraline are in and the last spot will probably go to The Princess and the Frog or Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs.

  • 19 10-06-2009 at 6:20 pm

    JP said...

    If there are five, Princess is in and Ponyo or Christmas Carol can be in also. Studios have to understand that the more films they submit, the more chances they have to be nominated. And, let’s be honest, apart from Up, no animated film has a shot at being a Best Picture nominee.

  • 20 10-06-2009 at 8:14 pm

    Glenn said...

    Mike, “A Town Called Panic” isn’t Australian. It’s French, I believe. “Mary & Max” is getting its qualifying run though. Adam Elliot has already said he’s personally going to visit every member of the animation branch to try and get them to vote for it.

  • 21 10-06-2009 at 9:17 pm

    A.J said...

    We all know that the aging members of the academy will go for a “maddeningly ingenious and wildly original smart kids’ adventure” over a film about an aging man finally fulfilling is life-long dream! Yeah that’s what’ll happen!!!

  • 22 10-06-2009 at 9:41 pm

    Brooke said...

    I’m loving the Satoshi Kon mentions on that list. He’s truly as talented as the great Miyazaki. Millennium Actress, anyone?

  • 23 10-07-2009 at 6:40 pm

    sekou said...

    this may sound like a wacky idea. but since they expanding the best picture to 10 nominations why not expand best animated feature to 5. its just an idea

  • 24 10-07-2009 at 7:16 pm

    JP said...


    You just got the point. It’s meaningless to have a 10-film best picture category and a 3-film best animated or best visual effects category. They really should expand those categories to 5.

  • 25 10-07-2009 at 8:17 pm

    Glenn said...

    Ugh, but what if you have a year that’s crap for animation? Not every year is like 2009 for animation. Most years they’re lucky to get three great ones (and even then they usually end up nominating something like “Surf’s Up”).

  • 26 10-07-2009 at 8:41 pm

    Kristopher Tapley said...

    Surf’s Up is awesome.

  • 27 10-07-2009 at 8:42 pm

    Cde. said...

    Ususally there a a few good things submitted that miss out on attention in favour of weak studio product. The hope is that those indie or anime releases might squeeze in some years if there are 5 nominees.

  • 28 10-08-2009 at 12:07 am

    Brian said...

    For the record Kris, Gilliam didn’t make the list, he just comments on it (he discusses how much he loathes the LOTR cartoon, for instance). It’s a pretty scuzzy hit-whoring from Time Out.

  • 29 10-08-2009 at 4:15 pm

    Sekou said...

    I said just an idea. But for sure I think that Visual Effects should be 5. Just so films can get recognized for their work. This year is just a tough awards season. Or so we think

  • 30 1-27-2010 at 8:14 am

    Simon said...

    Cloudy deserves to win it was just brilliant!!