2013 Awards Season: Oscar Contest: Category Highlight: Best Animated Feature

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 surprisingly competitive this year, especially compared to most years. There is a Pixar film nominated, but it isn't the overwhelming favorite. In fact, all five films have a legitimate shot at winning, although there are some with better chances than others.

Best Animated Feature Film of the Year

Brave
Tomatometer Score: 78% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and PGA
Previous Major Wins: Golden Globes
Annie Nominations: Ten
Annie Wins: Two
Notes: Brave is the biggest box office hit of the film animated films nominated, but it also has the weakest reviews. Granted, those reviews are also 78% positive, while the best was 88% positive, so it is not too far off the leader. It also won the Golden Globe and it is a Pixar film, so there's a lot of history there. If it does win, it won't be a true shock, but it is also not the favorite.

Frankenweenie
Tomatometer Score: 88% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and PGA
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Five
Annie Wins: None
Notes: As a counterpoint to Brave, Frankenweenie earned the best reviews, but the weakest box office numbers. Box office numbers do matter, because you can't vote for a movie you haven't seen. Its reviews are not significantly higher than the average, plus it hasn't won any previous major awards and was shut out at the Annies, so it is likely an underdog here.

ParaNorman
Tomatometer Score: 87% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and PGA
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Eight
Annie Wins: Two
Notes: ParaNorman's chances at Oscar glory are only a little better than Frankenweenie's are. Its reviews are nearly identical, while it did a little better at the Annies, it didn't win either of the major nominations it was up for. It also struggled somewhat at the box office. It did win two Annie awards, but that's not enough to think it is the favorite.

The Pirates! Band of Misfits
Tomatometer Score: 87% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: None
Previous Major Wins: None
Annie Nominations: Five
Annie Wins: None
Notes: This film earned the weakest box office numbers of the five nominees, at least domestically, while it opened the earliest in the year and is likely forgotten by most voters. This could explain why, despite its reviews, it has the weakest record thus far during Awards Season. Personally, I really think it deserved the nomination, but it is a long shot to win. In fact, it is likely the longest of the long shots.

Wreck-It Ralph
Tomatometer Score: 86% Positive
Previous Major Nominations: Golden Globes and PGA
Previous Major Wins: PGA
Annie Nominations: Ten
Annie Wins: Five
Notes: This film is likely the favorite for the Oscar. It didn't earn the best reviews out of the five films on this list, but it was close. It wasn't the biggest hit, but it earned enough to be seen by the majority of voters. It was the most recent release, so it is fresher in the minds of voters. Also, it won the PGA and was the big winner at the Annie Awards this year. It's not the overwhelming favorite, but it is the favorite in my opinion.

Conclusion: Wreck-It Ralph will likely win the Oscar, but if Brave wins, it won't be a major upset. (I don't think the others are truly in the running.) Personally I'm torn. On the one hand, I really like movies with strong female characters, because they are not that common, so I want Brave to win. On the other hand, I am a computer nerd, so Wreck-It Ralph does appeal to me. For that matter, I wouldn't be upset if Frankenweenie, ParaNorman, or The Pirates! Band of Misfits won. It was a really good year for top-notch animation.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2013-02-06