For only the second time in the categories 9 year history we anticipate that there will be five nominees for this year’s Best Animated Feature Oscar. There couldn’t be a better year for this to be the case with a veritable clustercuss of excellent animated films in contention for the big prize. In past years, this category has been Pixar’s to lose with four of the five most recent Pixar films taking home the prize. Once again the brilliant CGI studio has a very good chance to win again with Up, their heartfelt tribute to fulfilling one’s dreams.
However, unlike past years where the animated category has consisted of one Pixar film and a few Pixar wannabes, 2009 had many enjoyable features in a variety of different styles. Henry Selick’s Coraline brought a new style of 3D stop-motion, that had never been done before. Hiyao Miyazaki’s Ponyo added another heartwarming masterpiece to his well-respected canon. Disney triumphantly returned to hand-drawn animation with The Princess and the Frog. Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs had one of the funniest screenplays of the year. However, none of those films are likely to cause an Upset.
One film just might, though – Wes Anderson’s The Fantastic Mr. Fox.
During the summer after its tremendous response from audience and critics, nobody probably anticipated that Up would have any competition. However, Wes Anderson’s clever stop motion animated caper has been gradually gaining steam as it racks up awards from critics groups. The two films are almost tied for the lead in the Best Animated Feature precursor race. If precursors have as much sway as they have in the past, this could turn into a really tight race. I would not be surprised one bit if The Fantastic Mr. Fox wins tonight at the Critics Choice Awards and on Sunday at the Golden Globes. However, will that be enough to make it frontrunner for the Oscar?
I say no and here’s why – the Oscars have never really appreciated Wes Anderson. Of the six features he has written and directed, he has only received one Oscar nomination for the screenplay of The Royal Tenenbaums. He’s got the hip and intelligent edge that critics groups love, but Oscar has yet to fall for him. The animated feature category is bit less competitive than live action features, but I still don’t think Oscar is ready to love Wes Anderson yet.
So, Up is my prediction to win the Oscar – but what about the nominees?
2) The Fantastic Mr. Fox
The Other Two:
5) The Princess and the Frog
6) Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs
In my opinion there are really no other films in this year’s race. What do you think?