Best Animated Feature

Best Animated Feature is the youngest current Academy Award category, first given out in 2002 (to Shrek). It is often one of the easiest to predict, perhaps because of its youth but more likely because of the short list of films that qualify every year. There’s usually a very clear front-runner, and more than half of the time it’s been Pixar.

That’s not the case this year.

Competition is alive and well in the Best Animated Feature race. Here are the nominees with my prediction in red:

dashes

Brave

animated_brave

Why It Was Nominated

Pixar! Every Pixar feature film since the creation of the category has been nominated, with the notable exception of Cars 2Brave is also beautifully animated, down to the slightest of details. Merida’s flowing red locks and the luminous wisps represent some of the best work of the year. The story is simple for the studio but hardly a dud.

Why It Might Win

The Pixar record is impressive, with six wins from eight nominations. The love for the studio might be enough of an edge for Brave to break out of the pack. Victories at both the Golden Globes and the BAFTAs have already put it in a slight lead.

Why It Might Not Win

Simply put, it just isn’t as good as the six Pixar films that have won in the past. The Golden Globe is a good sign, but they also awarded Cars and nominated Cars 2. As for the BAFTA, Brave’s very Scottish cast may have helped with the Brits in a way that it won’t with the Academy.

dashes

Frankenweenie

animated_frankenweenie

Why It Was Nominated

The Academy likes Tim Burton, and this is his best film since Corpse Bride  in 2005. It’s also a movie inspired by a love of movies, which always goes over well with this group. That’s certainly some of the wind pushing Argo forward this year.

Why It Might Win

Tim Burton has never won an Oscar, despite the fact that over the years his films have racked up seven. The Academy could see this as a chance to finally reward him. The fact that Frankenweenie is a return to the beginning of his career only sweetens the narrative.

Why It Might Not

Corpse Bride didn’t win, and Corpse Bride is the arguably better film. Frankenweenie has been mostly left out by precursors, and came away from the Annie Awards empty handed. It still certainly has a shot, but at this point it would be a surprise.

dashes

ParaNorman

animated_paranorman

Why It Was Nominated

Well, it’s great. LAIKA’s skilled animation team brought the same creativity to ParaNorman that they brought to Coraline. The script is clever and often surprising, taking the New England witchcraft tale and turning on its head with the zest of Hocus Pocus before it.

Why It Might Win

In a year with no clear front-runner, anything can happen. It doesn’t have the “he’s due” narrative of Frankenweenie or the historic strength of Pixar, but it has the merit. If Happy Feet can pull it off, so can ParaNorman.

Why It Might Not Win

On the other hand, Disney is kind of a big deal and LAIKA is not. ParaNorman is great, but it hasn’t been successful enough so far to suggest it’ll swoop in at the last minute. Maybe their next production, The Boxtrolls, will do better.

dashes

The Pirates! Band of Misfits

animated_pirates

Why It Was Nominated

To start, it’s hilarious. With its villainous Queen Victoria and boisterous Pirate Captain, The Pirates! is the funniest film in the category. The blend of stop-motion and CG animation is flawless, and full of Aardman wit in its details.

Why It Might Win

Aardman may not be a perennial in the category, but they took home the Oscar with Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit in 2006. The studio has also won Best Animated Short three times. The Academy loves their work, and has not been shy about it in the past.

Why It Might Not Win

Frankly, The Pirates! Band of Misfits might be a bit too British. The source material is really only well-known in the UK, which is also why the title was changed from The Pirates! in an Adventure with Scientists for international audiences (terrible decision). It’s a sillier film than the other nominees, less concerned with the over-arching heart-warming themes of Pixar or Disney. This is, sadly, the one lucky to be nominated.

dashes

Wreck-It Ralph

animated_ralph

Why It Was Nominated

It’s charming, both in story and technique. The attention to detail in representing different styles of video game is impressive, especially in Wreck-It Ralph’s home turf of Fix-It Felix. The film also features perhaps the most recognizable voices in the category, including John C. Reilly, Sarah Silverman and Jane Lynch.

Why It Might Win

For one thing, it won the Annie Award. It might be the industry favorite, giving it strength in the Academy where there wasn’t in the HFPA. Disney is also a force to be reckoned with, even if they have another horse in the race with Frankenweenie. And, anecdotally, Wreck-It Ralph supporters are among the most passionate, which is often enough to give a movie the edge.

Why It Might Not Win

If its main competition is in Brave and Frankenweenie, it has the advantage of being the better film but the disadvantage of not having as much of an award narrative. Rewarding Pixar seems like a reason in and of itself in the way Disney was rewarded in Best Animated Short back in the 1930s and 1940s. Frankenweenie has the Tim Burton factor. Wreck-It Ralph is very, very good but sometimes that’s not enough to compete with a compelling Oscar strategy.

dashes

Read more about The Oscars


ARTICLE TAGS
Like this article? Join thousands of your fellow movie lovers who subscribe to The Weekly Edition from Film School Rejects. Our best articles, every week, right in your inbox!
  %
%  
Comment Policy: No hate speech allowed. If you must argue, please debate intelligently. Comments containing selected keywords or outbound links will be put into moderation to help prevent spam. Film School Rejects reserves the right to delete comments and ban anyone who doesn't follow the rules. We also reserve the right to modify any curse words in your comments and make you look like an idiot. Thank You!
Some movie websites serve the consumer. Some serve the industry. At Film School Rejects, we serve at the pleasure of the connoisseur. We provide the best reviews, interviews and features to millions of dedicated movie fans who know what they love and love what they know. Because we, like you, simply love the art of the moving picture.
SXSW 2014
Game of Thrones reviews
Got a Tip? Send it here:
editors@filmschoolrejects.com
Publisher:
Neil Miller
Managing Editor:
Scott Beggs
Associate Editors:
Rob Hunter
Kate Erbland
Christopher Campbell
All Rights Reserved © 2006-2014 Reject Media, LLC | Privacy Policy | Design & Development by Face3