16 animated features submitted, but what will qualify?

Posted by · 11:23 am · November 15th, 2010

The Academy will be announcing the list of qualifying films for this year’s Best Animated Feature Film Oscar some time this week.  For now, we know of 16 titles that have submitted.  They are indicated on our dedicated page.

There was some confusion recently over which film was the 16th submission, but I’m told it was “Chico & Rita,” which bowed at this year’s Telluride film festival (it was the first film I saw at the fest, in fact).  (CORRECTION: Turns out it was “The Dreams of Jinsha” instead, as noted here.)  If all 16 films qualify, then we’ll be looking at a slate of five nominees after all.  But if just one falls out, then it’s back to three.

The most dubious contenders could be “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore” and “Yogi Bear,” which may not meet eligibility requirements.  But the language is a bit loose, noting that “a significant number of the major characters must be animated, and animation must figure in no less than 75 percent of the picture’s running time.”

Meanwhile, commenters here have mentioned that Bill Plympton’s “Idiots and Angels” aired on German television earlier this year.  If that is indeed true, it would seem that would disqualify the film based on an overriding rule of eligibility governing all features.

In addition to “Chico & Rita,” I’ve of course seen the two frontrunners of the category, “How to Train Your Dragon” and “Toy Story 3.” I also caught Sylvain Chomet’s “The Illusionist” in Telluride and saw “Despicable Me” late in its theatrical run.  Disney’s “Tangled” I saw and loved at an industry event (with just a couple of scenes still in pre-res form) and I was a big fan of “Megamind.”

This morning I caught up with “My Dog Tulip,” a lovely piece adapted from the memoir by J. R. Ackerley about the author’s relationship with his German Shepherd.  The animation is endearingly crude and the film features the final screen role of Lynn Redgrave (to whom the film is dedicated).  But in a field of three, it’ll be tough to push past studio heavyweights.  The rest of the field, I haven’t seen yet.

I still stand by the three indicated in the right sidebar, but the Gurus o’ Gold seem to think “Despicable Me” will fill out the crowd.  I actually think “Tangled” has a better shot than that film, but given the animators’ response to “The Triplets of Belleville,” I’ll just ride it out with Chomet for now.

[Photo: Columbia Pictures]




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28 responses so far

  • 1 11-15-2010 at 11:29 am

    Steven said...

    I stand by my opinion that Tangled has a bigger shot than The Illusionist. But, if it’s five (which I think it will be), then both of them can happily sit together.

  • 2 11-15-2010 at 11:36 am

    Andy said...

    Yogi Bear is not going to qualify. It’s been screened, and there’s no way that 75 % of the film is animation; it’s mostly about the human characters. Unless nothing else is on the horizon, I think we’re still looking at 3 nominees.

  • 3 11-15-2010 at 11:38 am

    Alex in Movieland said...

    if there’s 5, there’s probably gonna be TS3, Dragon, Illusionist, Despicable & Tangled.

    or who knows who could be this year’s Secret of Kells?!

  • 4 11-15-2010 at 11:44 am

    Keil Shults said...

    Was Sex and the City 2 from this year?

  • 5 11-15-2010 at 12:00 pm

    Ben M. said...

    If there are three, I would agree with Toy Story 3, Illusionist, and How to Train Your Dragon, with Despicable Me as the most obvious spoiler. If there are five, then I feel the fifth slot is pretty wide open and could go to Legend of the Guardians, Megamind, Tangled or even something else.

  • 6 11-15-2010 at 12:03 pm

    JJ1 said...

    LOL, Keil.

    I say TS3, HTTYD, Illusionist.

    or

    TS3, HTTYD, Illusionist, Tangled, Despicable Me.

  • 7 11-15-2010 at 12:08 pm

    Msky said...

    I have to ask, why the lack of faith in Tangled? I have read nothing but raves for the film, with even comparisons being made to The Little Mermaid and Beauty and the Beast.

    I just don’t see it being passed up, especially when it’s a classic fairy tale musical with songs by Alan Menken. That would be like if The Little Mermaid was released today and would also get passed up for an animated feature nomination. It makes little sense.

  • 8 11-15-2010 at 12:13 pm

    Graysmith said...

    The Academy just tweeted that there are only 15 films, and so there’ll only be a maximum of three nominees.

    Fingers crossed that The Illusionist makes it, though I feel fairly confident they’ll want something like it in there with the commercial Toy Story 3 and How To Train Your Dragon (or whatever else could steal a spot).

  • 9 11-15-2010 at 12:16 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    The Academy has a Twitter account? My how times have changed.

    I wonder if Sacheen Littlefeather has a Facebook account.

  • 10 11-15-2010 at 12:18 pm

    JJ1 said...

    15? Grr.

  • 11 11-15-2010 at 12:25 pm

    Loyal said...

    Beverly Hills, CA — Fifteen features have been accepted for consideration in the Animated Feature Film category for the 83rd Academy Awards®.

    The 15 features are:
    “Alpha and Omega”
    “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
    “Despicable Me”
    “The Dreams of Jinsha”
    “How to Train Your Dragon”
    “Idiots and Angels”
    “The Illusionist”
    “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”
    “Megamind”
    “My Dog Tulip”
    “Shrek Forever After”
    “Summer Wars”
    “Tangled”
    “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”
    “Toy Story 3”

  • 12 11-15-2010 at 12:26 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Am I alone in feeling that Toy Story 3 didn’t play nearly as well the second time around? I’m sure seeing it on Blu-ray at home with my wife would naturally pale in comparison to the initial, sold-out midnight screening I attended back in June, but my problems with it (mild as they were) ran deeper than that. It’s still one of my favorites of the year thus far, but I no longer question how it stacks up against its two predecessors (it doesn’t), and I simply don’t see myself watching this one as often in the future. This ties into something I intend to ask Tapley and Thompson prior to this week’s Oscar Talk, but I wonder if voters will have a similar reaction if and when they bother to see the film a second or third time. I still think I prefer it to How to Train Your Dragon, and since I haven’t seen most of the other animated fare, I would have no problem with it winning Best Animated Picture this year. However, I would think that if voters come away from second viewings feeling like I did, they may knock it down a few notches on their Best Picture ballot. In fact, with it being practically a shoo-in for the Animated category, I’m wondering if voters may choose to leave it off their list of Best Picture nominees altogether.

  • 13 11-15-2010 at 12:28 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Keil,

    If AMPAS having a Twitter account blows your mind, you may want to also know that the Queen of England is now on Facebook.

    AMPAS is at twitter.com/theacademy

    The Golden Globes have one too, at twitter.com/goldenglobes

  • 14 11-15-2010 at 12:35 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Keil,

    I only had to watch Toy Story 3 once to see how inferior it is to its predecessors. Not sure how I’ll feel about it at second glance though, it could go up or down, not sure. It’s still a fine film in most regards, but the whole prison plot felt overly convoluted and as a whole not as effortless as in their past films. For me it sadly marks the beginning of the (inevitable) decline for Pixar, especially when just today they announced the plot (and first photo) for next year’s Cars 2, which looks to take Toy Story 3’s high-concept plot sequelitis to astronomical levels.

  • 15 11-15-2010 at 12:36 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    I guess it’s not so much that Oscar announcements can be released via Twitter account, but moreso that “The Academy” is this body that might have its own Twitter account. I dunno, it just seemed odd when I first read it. I guess if Twitter had existed in the 1970s it would have been put to similar use.

  • 16 11-15-2010 at 12:46 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Msky,
    I haven’t followed Tangled that closely, but I think a lot of my doubts have to do with the somewhat weak track record of non-Pixar CGI films released by Disney, plus the first big review of the film by Variety was slightly positive but certainly had many complaints.

    It could get in the race, but I wanted to wait until until it is release to see if it is a contender, since with 3 slots and this category’s history of unpredictability it is quite likely that some films with good reviews and box office will still miss out.

  • 17 11-15-2010 at 1:03 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    Whereas the Best Picture prize often goes to a nominee that wasn’t the most deserving of the 5 (or 10), the Best Animated award usually goes to the most deserving of the nominated films. 2001 was a close call between Shrek and Monster’s Inc., though I’ve watched the latter more since then. And 2006, when Happy Feet won, was a weak year overall (Monster House and Cars were the other two nominees that year).

    But they’ve awarded some movies that could easily have been tossed aside (Spirited Away and Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit, in particular).

  • 18 11-15-2010 at 1:14 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    @Graysmith:

    I wouldn’t call TS3 a harbinger of doom for Pixar, but I have said for the past year or two that Cars 2 could very likely be their first effort to be widely panned (though I still somehow doubt it). I do, however, recall feeling that the synopses of their upcoming projects left me feeling rather apathetic. Of course, if you had told me they were making a movie about a rat who cooks, I would never have guessed that it would become (quite possibly) their crowning achievement to date.

    I rarely, if ever, hope that a movie fails, and I certainly love Pixar and hope they continue to succeed. But I will admit I’m a bit nervous that their streak will soon come to an end.

  • 19 11-15-2010 at 1:36 pm

    Graysmith said...

    Keil,

    If you thought the plots of their other films sounded bad on paper, you should go read it for Cars 2 (it’s on /Film). Mainly what bothers me about it isn’t so much they’re making a sequel, but the fact that it’s taking such a jarring leap away from the original, which was a small story of friendship set in a small town. Going from that to some around-the-world race with a spy subplot.. It’s just too high concept, and most people seem to feel the same way.

    Maybe the saddest part about it is just the fact that they’re spending all this time and money making sequels instead of creating something new. Instead of Toy Story 3, Cars 2 and Monsters, Inc. 2 we could’ve had three original films instead. That bums me out the most.

  • 20 11-15-2010 at 3:51 pm

    Mike said...

    I see this years race being similar to the one in 2008. Toy Stroy 3 is the raved, popular, Pixar movie that will inevitably win (as WALL-E was), and How to Train Your Dragon is the well received, popular, impressive Dreamworks offering that comes in an obvious second place (like Kung Fu Panda). The last slot went to a popular CGI Disney movie (Bolt) instead of a raved hand drawn one (Waltz with Bashir). I think this will happen again with Tangled making it instead of The Illusionist.

  • 21 11-15-2010 at 3:58 pm

    Estefan said...

    What Mike said. With Disney preparing Toy Story 3 for Best Picture consideration, look for them to campaign really hard for Tangled to receive the third animated feature slot. The rave reviews that are slowly trickling in will also help it.

    To put it simply, Tangled not getting a best animated feature nod would be the equivalent of Beauty & the Beast, Aladdin, The Little Mermaid and The Lion King not getting nominated if released today. Pure insanity.

  • 22 11-15-2010 at 5:56 pm

    Ben M. said...

    Keli, I was wondering why you feel Spirited Away or Wallace and Gromit could easily have been tossed aside. Sure, they may not have set the box office on fire but both films were among the best reviewed of their years in any format. I also remember Spirited Away scored BP votes at critics groups and was featured on some best of the decade lists.

    I certainly don’t recall any major backlash on those films as undeserving winners, and I feel they are arguably the 2nd and 3rd best winners of this award after Wall-E (which I think is one of the best movies of the decade).

  • 23 11-16-2010 at 5:38 am

    Maxim said...

    “Keli, I was wondering why you feel Spirited Away or Wallace and Gromit could easily have been tossed aside. Sure, they may not have set the box office on fire but both films were among the best reviewed of their years in any format. I also remember Spirited Away scored BP votes at critics groups and was featured on some best of the decade lists.”

    Who cares about scores? “Spitired Away” was a masterpiece, plain and simple. Not only did it deserve an Oscar for best animated picture, it deserved to be in the running for Best Picture too, something I will never say about Toy Story 3.

  • 24 11-16-2010 at 5:39 am

    Maxim said...

    By the way, if they didn’t deny Cats and Dogs there is no way, they could deny “The Adventures of Tintin” eligibility next year, right?

  • 25 11-16-2010 at 7:58 am

    Keil Shults said...

    @Ben M.

    I shouldn’t have said they could have been easily tossed aside, because you’re right, they were critical favorites from the get-go. But both films were not your typical computer animated fare, one was Asian and the other British, and neither made much money at the box office. I will say, however, after reviewing the other nominees from those particular years, that Wallace & Gromit was only up against Corpse Bride and Howl’s Moving Castle. Those are two good movies, but neither was a smash hit.

    I guess what I was basically saying is that the Animated category is one that really seems to honor quality without worrying too much about popularity or Oscar campaigns. In the 9 years that the award has been given, it’s never gone to a film that didn’t seem deserving (unless you count Happy Feet, but keep in mind that it was only up against Cars and Monster House).

  • 26 11-16-2010 at 10:19 am

    Maxim said...

    “and neither made much money at the box office”

    Spirited Away, was, at the time, the highest grossing foreing film ever to open in the US. Sure, it only made a few millions in the US, but, speaking in worldwide terms, it was a beheamoth.

    What I am trying to say is that, by the time the film opened in US it was already seen as a box office success and I don’t think that it’s performance in US took away from that too much.

    It also had the extra boost of having been a Disney release, just like Wallace has probably benefitted by being distributed by Dreamworks.

    Speaking personally, I think that there was only one animated film that could compare to Spirited Away that year and beyond in terms of quality. And that is Satoshi Kon’s best film “Millennium Actress” which went unnominated.

  • 27 11-16-2010 at 12:36 pm

    Keil Shults said...

    I just meant that Spirited Away and Wallace/Gromit didn’t make a lot of money compared to most major animated releases. Either way, I wasn’t calling their quality into question. I love both films, and was a major proponent of the latter in particular.

  • 28 11-17-2010 at 5:27 am

    Maxim said...

    Yes, Keil, I certainly got that by the time I’ve made my other comments. The “tossed aside” comment really threw me off initially.

    I do remember, however, that Wallace/Gromit’s gross was considered respectable at the time. Not “Chicken Run” level, but a good one for a non-cgi film at point in time. That, and the franchise sheer Oscar track record which probably helped too.