Pixar stands poised to win their 6th Oscar for Best Animated Feature in the ten years that the category has been in existence. As soon as their 2010 film Toy Story 3 opened to rave reviews last July, it leapt to the top of the predictions chart and has remained there throughout the season. However, perhaps out of legitimate belief or perhaps simply to add some spice to this particularly bland category, speculation has arisen that Toy Story 3 may be in for an upset come Oscar night.
The precursors awards have mostly been in favor of Toy Story 3 with the Pixar film taking the Golden Globe and BAFTA awards. However, a few key precursors have voted in favor of Toy Story 3‘s biggest competitor How to Train Your Dragon. The Visual Effects Society gave all three of their animation awards to How to Train Your Dragon including Outstanding Animation, Outstanding Effects Animation, and Outstanding Animated Character. According to the Hollywood Reporter, this has lead some to speculate that an upset may be in the works and that Academy members may decide to vote for the film with the best animation, rather than the film with the most critical and commercial success.
How to Train Your Dragon was also the big winner at this year’s Annie Awards, which was no surprise considering Disney and Pixar had previously announced they would be boycotting this year’s ceremony. In seven of the past nine years the winner of the Annie Award has gone on to win Best Animated Feature. It’s a statistic that is almost completely meaningless given the circumstances, but felt worth mentioning.
I could dig up dozens of further reaching justifications on why there is a 1/20th of a chance that Toy Story 3 could lose the Oscar, but it would all be a useless distraction. There are three reasons why there is no way that Toy Story 3 could possibly lose Best Picture. 1) It is the most commercially successful animated film of all-time having earned over $1 billion worldwide. 2) It is the best reviewed film of the year and even though the Academy does not always align with critics, it also does not completely ignore them. 3) It received a Best Picture nomination. This is the most important reason of all because just like every member of the Academy votes for Best Picture, every member of the Academy also votes for the winner of the Best Animated Feature, not just animators.
This category is as wrapped up as any other could be, but that is not to discount the quality of the other films nominated. How to Train Your Dragon is a fine film and The Illusionist has gotten respectable reviews, but neither can compare to the animation powerhouse that is Pixar.
Predicted to Win: Toy Story 3
Potential Spoiler: How to Train Your Dragon
Deserves to Win: Toy Story 3
Should Have Been Nominated: These Three Are Enough