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Oscar Contest: Category Highlight: Best Animated Feature

February 6th, 2011

With our annual Oscar Prediction contest underway, now is the best time to look at the nominees and try and figure out who the favorites are and which films should just feel honored to be nominated. Today we look at Best Animated Feature Film, which is one of the least competitive categories that we will be dealing with this year. (This is true most years.) This is actually quite fortunate, as a rule dispute at the Annies have rendered that awards ceremony nearly useless in predictive power.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

How To Train Your Dragon
Tomatometer Score: 98% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and PGA
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Sixteen
Annie Wins: Ten
Notes: Despite sweeping the Annies (the film was nominated in ten categories, but due to multiple nominations in several of them, it earned sixteen nominations overall) there is almost no chance this film will walk away with the Oscar. Granted, it did earn near perfect reviews, but I would seriously doubt Oscar voters will vote for the second-best digitally animated film of the year.

The Illusionist
Tomatometer Score: 90% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Five
Annie Wins: None
Notes: Despite earning the weakest reviews of the three films on this list and not even picking up a PGA nomination, The Illusionist has a better chance of winning the Oscar than How To Train Your Dragon because it's a traditionally animated film, which is definitely rare enough that that it could be a selling point. That said, it likely has less than a 10% chance of winning.

Toy Story 3
Tomatometer Score: 99% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and PGA
Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and PGA
Annie Nominations: Three
Annie Wins: None
Notes: With the best reviews of any wide release of the year, plus wins that the Golden Globes and the PGA awards, Toy Story 3 is the overwhelming favorite to win come Oscar night. The only black mark on its record so far is at the Annies, but Disney / Pixar dropped out of the sponsorship for the awards due to a rule dispute, so that might have something to do with it. (And if you want to get conspiratorial... The only two Gold Sponsors for the Annies are Dreamworks and Nickelodeon, and in every category where either studio had a nominee, they won.) There's a small chance The Illusionist could win, thanks to being a traditionally animated film in a sea of digital animation, but I seriously doubt it.

Conclusion: In a year with a number of one-horse races, Toy Story 3 is still one of the biggest favorites, if not the biggest favorite to win from any category.


Filed under: How to Train Your Dragon, Toy Story 3, L'illusionniste