Oscars Watch: 26 Animated Features Shortlisted for 90th Academy Awards

Welcome to full Oscar Season, as we officially have a shortlist for the Best Animated Features. Twenty-six films made the cut, with a few still waiting on their required Los Angeles qualifying run.

  • “The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales”
  • “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”
  • “The Boss Baby”
  • “The Breadwinner”
  • “Captain Underpants The First Epic Movie”
  • “Cars 3”
  • “Cinderella the Cat”
  • “Coco”
  • “Despicable Me 3”
  • “The Emoji Movie”
  • “Ethel & Ernest”
  • “Ferdinand”
  • “The Girl without Hands”
  • “In This Corner of the World”
  • “The Lego Batman Movie”
  • “The Lego Ninjago Movie”
  • “Loving Vincent”
  • “Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
  • “Moomins and the Winter Wonderland”
  • “My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”
  • “Napping Princess”
  • “A Silent Voice”
  • “Smurfs: The Lost Village”
  • “The Star”
  • “Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale”
  • “Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”

From Oscars.org: Submitted features must fulfill the theatrical release requirements and comply with all of the category’s other qualifying rules before they can advance in the voting process. Depending on the number of films that qualify, two to five nominees may be voted. Sixteen or more films must qualify for the maximum of five nominees to be voted.

Films submitted in the Animated Feature Film category also may qualify for Academy Awards in other categories, including Best Picture, provided they meet the requirements.

For the first time, nominations voting in the Animated Feature Film category is open to the entire eligible voting membership.

Nominations for the 90th Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, January 23, 2018.

The 90th Oscars® will be held on Sunday, March 4, 2018, at the Dolby Theatre® at Hollywood & Highland Center® in Hollywood, and will be televised live on the ABC Television Network. The Oscars also will be televised live in more than 225 countries and territories worldwide.


THE BIG BAD FOX & OTHER TALES
Release: June 15, 2017
Directors: Benjamin Renner & Patrick Imbert
Country: France (French)
Run-time: 79 minutes
Box Office: $4.87 million
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://youtu.be/x3QkSzpNGW8

Odds of Nomination: STRONG: GKIDS is known for propelling animated fare that might not normally get the push and their laundry list of animated films  that have all gotten Academy Award nominations (“Ernest & Celestine,” “Boy and the World,” “My Life As A Zucchini,” “When Marnie Was There,” “The Tale of Princess Kaguya,” “Song Of The Sea,” etc.) Also, Benjamin Renner’s feature “Ernest & Celestine” was nominated for Best Animated Feature at the 86th Academy Awards in 2014, so Renner is definitely on the Academy’s radar.


BIRDBOY: THE FORGOTTEN CHILDREN
Release: September 24, 2015 (Spanish release)
Directors: Alberto Vazquez & Pedro Rivero
Country: Spain (Spanish)
Run-time: 76 minutes
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://youtu.be/konXGh5f3F0

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: Yet another of the films distributed by GKIDS, this film film won Best Animated Feature at the 2016 Goya Awards. In my opinion, the film’s subject matter feels a little “out there” and could be polarizing to its viewers, especially with the entire Academy being apart of the voting process this year.


THE BOSS BABY
Release: March 31, 2017
Director: Tom McGrath
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 97 minutes
Box Office: $498.9 million
Produced / Distributed by: Dreamworks Animation / 20th Century Fox
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/dreamworks/the-boss-baby/

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: Compared to the other American titles, like “The Emoji Movie” and “Smurfs: The Lost Village,” “The Boss Baby” has a much better chance of grabbing a nomination as it was more liked than those mentioned (“The Boss Baby” has a Rotten Tomatoes score of 52% while “The Emoji Movie” has 9% and “Smurfs: The Lost Village” has 37%). With a box office of almost $500 million, it has had plenty of eyes on it to push it through for a nomination.


THE BREADWINNER
Release: November 17, 2017
Director: Nora Twomey
Country: Canada / Ireland / Luxembourg
Run-time: 93 minutes
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/the-breadwinner/

Odds of Nomination: VERY STRONG: Not only is this film also released by GKIDS, which has a great track record of Oscar nominations, it is also from the creators of two Academy Award nominated animated features “The Secret Of Kells” and “Song Of The Sea,” putting these film-makers high on the Academy’s radar. Too add to that, it has Angelina Jolie as an executive producer, who I’m sure will be campaigning with the film and is also based on a worldwide best-selling novel. The adult nature of the film and dark tones as well as the timeliness of the struggles will also likely propel this film to a nomination.


CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS: THE FIRST EPIC MOVIE
Release: June 2, 2017
Director: David Soren
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 89 minutes
Box Office: $123.1 million
Produced / Distributed by: Dreamworks Animation / 20th Century Fox
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/dreamworks/captain-underpants-the-first-epic-movie/

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Don’t count it out by any means, but the lesser of the Dreamworks Animation films, I believe “The Boss Baby” has a much better chance of getting a nomination. Although it has a much more impressive Rotten Tomatoes score of 86%, it’s box office is a fourth of “The Boss Baby.” Not that box office means anything, but it definitely had less eyes on it. Could it upset? Of course. But to me, the chances aren’t likely for this middle ground comedy based on a kids’ book series.


CARS 3
Release: June 16, 2017
Director: Brian Fee
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 102 minutes
Box Office: $175 million
Produced / Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/disney/cars-3/

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: Never count out a Disney / Pixar joint when it comes to the Academy. The first “Cars” was nominated a the 79th Academy Awards in 2006, but ultimately lost to George Miller’s “Happy Feet.” The sequel, however, which was not as critically well-received, was passed up for the nomination. With this third film also being received quite poorly, it’s chances are not all the way there, especially with another Pixar film currently stealing all the buzz.


CINDERELLA THE CAT
Release: September 6, 2017
Director: Alessandro Rak, Ivan Cappiello, Marino Guarnieri, and Dario Sansone
Country: Italy (Italian)
Run-time: 86 minutes
Distributed by: Videa
Trailer: https://youtu.be/lwRM12OiZK8  (foreign trailer)

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Despite not having a subtitled trailer available, you get a sense of the animation alone that is doesn’t feel quite as smooth and rendered as the standard animated fare released these days. Without a well known distributor to push it adequately, this film will likely get lost in the shuffle.


COCO
Release: November 22, 2017
Directors: Lee Unkrich & Adrian Molina
Country: U.S. (English & Spanish)
Run-time: 109 minutes
Produced / Distributed by: Walt Disney Pictures / Pixar Animation
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/disney/coco/

Odds of Nomination: ODDS ON FAVORITE: If there’s one lock for a nomination in the Best Animated Feature category, it’s for “Coco.” Not only are all eyes posed on Pixar when it comes to releasing a film in any given year, when it has culture and a strong theme at its base, there is usually no beating it. With positive reviews already coming out and most pundits already turning their attention to it, I believe this is the film that will be giving the rest a run for their money.


DESPICABLE ME 3
Release: June 30, 2017
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Kyle Balda, & Eric Guillon
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 90 minutes
Box Office: $1.032 billion
Produced / Distributed by: Illumination Entertainment / Universal Pictures
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/universal/despicable-me-3/

Odds Of Nomination: STRONG: For starters, its predecessor “Despicable Me 2” garnered an Oscar nomination for Best Animated Feature and it was a much worse film. Plus, not that box office ever means a thing, but any film that has crossed the $1 billion mark definitely has the wherewithal to grab a nomination.


THE EMOJI MOVIE
Release: July 28, 2017
Director: Tony Leondis
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 86 minutes
Box Office: $214.2 million
Produced / Distributed by: Sony Pictures Animation / Columbia Pictures
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/the-emoji-movie/

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Terrible word-of-mouth should keep this one from getting a nomination. That and there’s really nothing here to vote for.


ETHEL & ERNEST
Release: May 19, 2017
Director: Roger Mainwood
Country: United Kingdom (English)
Run-time: 94 minutes
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Trailer: https://youtu.be/JXDlEw5u8u8

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: My instinct says to write this one off, as it does not have much for buzz and isn’t being launched by saw GKIDS or a big studio, but these little niche films sometimes find their way through to a nomination. It’s based on a book, which could definitely work in its favor. If it’s good enough, the Academy would definitely let it through no matter where it comes from.


FERDINAND
Release: December 15, 2017
Director: Carlos Saldanha
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time:  TBD
Produced / Distributed by: Blue Sky Studios / 2oth Century Fox
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/fox/ferdinand/

Odds of Nomination: STRONG: Although no one really knows exactly what to expect, there is definitely some ground-swell surrounding this particular release. For starters, its based on a beloved children’s book, which could earn it some points. At least from the synopsis, it seems to have a good message. It’s got plenty of star power behind it, with John Cena leading the voice-cast. And with a major studio behind it, I could definitely see this pushing through for a nomination.


THE GIRL WITHOUT HANDS
Release: July 21, 2017
Director: Sébastien Laudenbach
Country: France (French)
Run-time: 76 minutes
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://youtu.be/ANbYvxpqx8A

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: Never count out any released by GKIDS. I personally don’t think the animation style is quite there for the Academy to jump aboard, but if it strikes them more than it struck me, than we will see.


IN THIS CORNER OF THE WORLD
Release: August 11, 2017
Director: Sunao Katabuchi
Country: Japan (Japanese)
Run-time: 128 minutes
Distributed by: Shout! Factory
Trailer: https://youtu.be/-jBe-uHhlNs

Odds of Nomination: STRONG: Not quite a Studio Ghibli / Mayazaki film, it does slightly fall in that realm of Japanese animated films much in that category. That being said, the Academy tends to gravitate towards them. But without those well-known names behind it, I wonder if they’ll feel the same. Its subject matter, based around the events before and after the bombing at Hiroshima, is so captivating that that alone could push it onto the Academy’s radar, however. And it has been winning awards wherever it goes, so do not count this one out either.


THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
Release: February 10, 2017
Director: Chris McKay
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 104 minutes
Box Office: $312 million
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/thelegobatmanmovie/

Odds of Nomination: STRONG: The fact that the original “Lego Movie” failed to garner a nomination makes me think this one might not either. But it was fairly loved this year and could sneak in just on that fact. With a wider net being thrown this year, I would definitely not completely count it out.


THE LEGO NINJAGO MOVIE
Release: September 22, 2017
Directors: Charlie Bean, Paul Fisher, & Bob Logan
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 101 minutes
Box Office: $119.4 million
Distributed by: Warner Bros. Pictures
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/wb/the-lego-ninjago-movie/

Odds of Nomination: POOR: I would say that the chances of this particular Lego movie getting a nomination are as thin as they get. First off, “The Lego Movie” was mostly loved and failed to get a nomination the year it came out. If “The Lego Batman Movie” might not get a nomination, this one definitely will not, being the lesser Lego movie of the year.


LOVING VINCENT
Release: September 22, 2017
Directors: Dorota Kobiela & Hugh Welchman
Country: Poland / United Kingdom (English)
Run-time: 91 minutes
Box Office: $8.5 million
Distributed by: Good Deed Entertainment
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/loving-vincent/

Odds of Nomination: VERY STRONG: The second I saw the trailer for this, I knew it would likely be one of the most talked about animated films this year and if it doesn’t get a nomination that would really be too bad. “Loving Vincent” is about the painter Vincent van Gogh and is the first fully painted animated feature film, which on that merit alone should get it a nomination this year. The actors providing the voices are actually drawn into the film and that has to be seen to be believed. I feel like the Academy loves to vote for animated films that are for mostly adults.


MARY AND THE WITCH’S FLOWER
Release: October 23, 2017
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi
Country: Japan (Japanese)
Run-time: 103 minutes
Box Office: $28.8 million
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://youtu.be/Cm0YYNgNr7A

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: Of all the GKIDS releases, I feel like this one has the least chance, just because it looks like such a common Japanese animated film. That being said, however, it does have GKIDS on its side, plus it is the first animated feature from the new Studio Ponoc, which is comprised of several of the animators coming from Studio Ghibli. These things could work against the film, though, too, as it being the first feature, the company has not quite won its way into the heart of the Academy yet. I do strongly believe that Mayazaki was the one we all gravitated towards when it came to those Studio Ghibli but I believe we’ll see which way the Academy’s headed after this year.


MOOMINS AND THE WINTER WONDERLAND
Release: December 1, 2017
Directors: Ira Carpelan & Jakub Wronski
Country: Finland / Poland (Finnish / English)
Run-time: 82 minutes
Distributed by: Animoon
Trailer: https://vimeo.com/218123780

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Personally, from the watching the trailer, I just do not buy that this film could possibly grab a nomination. The craftsmanship is just not there. Compared to other films that are pushing the envelope or taking the medium to new and exciting levels. This feels like something that could have come out thirty years ago and still would not be considered good animation.


MY ENTIRE HIGH SCHOOL SINKING INTO THE SEA
Release: April 14, 2017
Director: Dash Shaw
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 75 minutes
Box Office: $15,215
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/my-entire-high-school-sinking-into-the-sea/

Odds of Nomination: FAIR: This film definitely peaked my interest when I saw the trailer. There’s something about it that feels different and worth exploring. That being said, the animation is not completely groundbreaking and for that, it would definitely have to be an amazingly told story to be considered for a slot as one of the best animated films of the year.


NAPPING PRINCESS
Release: August 16, 2017
Director: Kenji Kamiyama
Country: Japan (Japanese)
Run-time: 111 minutes
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://youtu.be/oT6vxe4aoy0

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Not that any animation film is easy to make, but at a certain point, especially, it seems, when it comes to Japanese anime films, these films all start to feel the same. Even after watching the trailer, they become completely forgettable. If you’re into anime, I’m sure that does not bother you whatsoever, but I feel like most Academy members probably are not avid anime fans and they probably fall into my camp.


A SILENT VOICE: THE MOVIE
Release: October 20, 2017
Director: Naoko Yamada
Country: Japan (Japanese)
Run-time: 129 minutes
Box Office: $19.56 million
Distributed by: GKIDS
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/a-silent-voice-the-movie/

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Again, despite the touching subject matter, this Japanese anime film has the look and feel of so many other films. I personally believe that to get a nomination, it needs to set itself apart in some way.


SMURFS: THE LOST VILLAGE
Release: April 7, 2017
Director: Kelly Asbury
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 90 minutes
Box Office: $197.2 million
Produced / Distributed by: Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/smurfs-the-lost-village/

Odds of Nomination: POOR: “Smurfs: The Lost Village” was just a run-of-the-mill animated film that pushed no boundaries and really felt middle of the road. If it were to get a nomination over some of the other films in contention, it would really be a travesty.


THE STAR
Release: November 17, 2017
Director: Timothy Reckart
Country: U.S. (English)
Run-time: 86 minutes
Produced / Distributed by: Sony Pictures Animation & Columbia Pictures / Sony Pictures Releasing
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/sony_pictures/the-star/

Odds of Nomination: POOR: I find it impossible to completely count out any film that has Oprah Winfrey attached because if she’s willing to sell it, she is likely to be a force to be reckoned with. However, the film just does not scream Academy Award winner. Perhaps if it’s about politics alone, they’ll nominate it just for the possibility of getting Oprah there. But when my four year and I have zero interest in seeing an animated film, you have to realize there’s something not quite right about that picture.


SWORD ART ONLINE: THE MOVIE – ORDINAL SCALE
Release: February 18, 2017
Director: Tomohiko Itō
Country: Japan (Japanese)
Run-time: 119 minutes
Distributed by: Aniplex
Trailer: https://youtu.be/VNxxReVeVDI

Odds of Nomination: POOR: Once again, this is completely forgettable and in the realm of looking like everything else in its genre. If anything it feels like the extended episode of an anime series rather than a wholly original animated feature.


WINDOW HORSES: THE POETIC PERSIAN EPIPHANY OF ROSIE MING
Release: September 22, 2017
Director: Ann Marie Fleming
Country: Canada (English, Persian, Mandarin Chinese, Cantonese)
Run-time: 89 minutes
Produced by: National Film Board of Canada
Trailer: https://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/window-horses/

Odds of Nomination: STRONG: Honestly, I feel like the Academy loves to vote for films like that, presenting a culture with comedy in an interesting way. Again, this is mostly an adult animated film, with adult themes and almost zero child tangibility, but it’s films like these that I see every year, that get nominated, just for being different enough to break through.


NOMINATION PREDICTIONS

  1. “Coco”
  2. “The Breadwinner”
  3. “Loving Vincent”
  4. “Ferdinand”
  5. “The Lego Batman Movie”

 

STRONG CONTENDERS

  • “The Big Bad Fox & Other Tales”
  • “Despicable Me 3”
  • “In This Corner of the World”
  • “Window Horses The Poetic Persian Epiphany of Rosie Ming”

 

POSSIBLE CONTENDERS

  • “Birdboy: The Forgotten Children”
  • “The Boss Baby”
  • “Cars 3”
  • “Ethel & Ernest”
  • “The Girl without Hands”
  • “Mary and the Witch’s Flower”
  • “My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea”
  • “The Star”

 

LAST RESORTS

  • “Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie”
  • “Cinderella The Cat”
  • “The Emoji Movie”
  • “The Lego Ninjago Movie”
  • “Moomins and the Winter Wonderland”
  • “Napping Princess”
  • “A Silent Voice”
  • “Smurfs: The Lost Village”
  • “Sword Art Online: The Movie – Ordinal Scale”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s