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Oscar Contest - Category Highlight - Best Animated Feature / Best Documentary

February 13th, 2008

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 and Best Feature Length Documentary.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Persepolis
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: None, at least none in this category. It has been nominated for Best Foreign Language Film
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Four
Annie Wins: None
Notes: One of the biggest shocks at the Golden Globes was Persepolis being passed over for a nomination. At least it earned an Oscar nod and it does have a real chance at winning as Oscar voters have been known to reward more traditional animation over computer animation when able. That said, it just seems like Ratatouille's year.

Ratatouille
Tomatometer Score: 96% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globe and PGA
Previous Major Wins: Golden Globe and PGA
Annie Nominations: Thirteen (including three for voice acting alone)
Annie Wins: Nine
Notes: The odds on favorite for the Oscar; however, it wouldn't be the first time the Oscar voters didn't jive with the animation aficionados. Also, it wouldn't be the first time Pixar lost out when I would have considered it the favorite. Still, if I were a betting man, I would lay money on this film.

Surf's Up
Tomatometer Score: 78% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: None
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Ten
Annie Wins: Two
Notes: A surprise nomination with most people assuming The Simpsons Movie had a nomination locked up as it scored 89% positive reviews. However, while it did manage a nomination, it is a serious underdog going into Oscar night. If it does win, it will almost certainly be the biggest upset of the night.

Conclusion: Ratatouille is the odds on favorite to win. Persepolis may win the hearts of those voters who like more traditional animation, but I'm still picking Ratatouille to win.

Best Documentary Feature

No End In Sight
Tomatometer Score: 94% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: WGA
Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: Charles Ferguson writing / directing / producing debut, and it earned an Oscar nomination. This is excellent news for him, but bad news for the movie's chances as Oscar voters tend to reward experience as much as the quality of the film in question.

Operation Homecoming: Writing the Wartime Experience
Tomatometer Score: 88% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: DGA
Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: The second film on this list about Iraq and this could hurt both films due to Iraq war fatigue. It is also the weaker of the two Iraq films on this list so it is much more unlikely to win because of that.

Sicko
Tomatometer Score: 93% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: PGA and WGA
Previous Major Wins: PGA
Notes: The only film on this list not about war and this could help the film. On the other hand, the last time Michael Moore won he created controversy with his acceptance speech, and that could hurt his chances this time around. Then again, he is also the biggest name associated with documentaries. Also, Sicko is clearly the box office leader in this category and you can't vote for what you haven't seen. This gives him a slight advantage over most films.

Taxi to the Dark Side
Tomatometer Score: 100% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: DGA and WGA
Previous Major Wins: WGA
Notes: Best reviews of any film on this list, it is also the most recent and therefore the freshest in the minds of the voters. That could be the edge it needs in a tight race. On the other hand, it is the third film dealing with the ongoing wars, this time in Afghanistan, and this could result in vote splitting of sorts.

War/Dance Tomatometer Score: 83% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: None
Previous Major Wins: None
Notes: The least political documentary on this list, but while that could help, it also has the weakest reviews and hasn't earned any previous major nominations as well. Considering there's no runaway favorite here, it could win, but if it does it would be an upset.

Conclusion: This is a much tighter category with none of the nominees running away with it. Taxi to the Dark Side and Sicko are the two most likely winners and I would have to give the former a slight advantage over the latter.

Prize Highlights With each category highlight, we will also take a look at the prizes we will be giving away for the Oscar Prediction contest, as well as some of the prizes we will have when our regular Box Office Prediction contests start back up after the Oscars.

This week we look at Disneyland - Secrets, Stories and Magic, which is one of Walt Disney's Treasures line of premium DVD releases. For more than six years now, the Treasures line has put out compilations of animated shorts, TV series, and special episodes of The Wonderful World of Disney. This particular 2-disc set falls into that last category and shows the creation of Disneyland and would be perfect for fans of the Theme Park.

As for the Box Office prediction prize... We will have a glut of prizes to get through in the coming weeks, and this includes posters from Charlie Bartlett. The film stars Anton Yelchin as the titular character, a private school kid trying to adapt to public school life for the first time. The film also stars fellow rising star, Kat Dennings, as well as critically acclaimed veterans Hope Davis and Robert Downey, Jr. The film has met a few bumps along the way, but it will finally hit theaters in a couple weeks and reviews are strong, so to celebrate we will be giving away posters starting on opening day.


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Filed under: Ratatouille, Surf's Up, Sicko, Persepolis, Charlie Bartlett, No End In Sight, Taxi to the Dark Side, War Dance, Operation Homecoming