Only once in the 80 year history of the Academy Awards has an animated film ever been nominated in the Best Picture category (Beauty and the Beast, 1991), but even that was a full 10 years prior to the existence of the Best Animated Feature category. Originating in 2001 at the 74th Annual Awards, the Best Animated category is the youngest of all the awards given out every February. Shrek was the first winner in ’01, with films like Finding Nemo and The Incredibles following in more recent years. But like that rogue Best Picture nominee about the pregnant girl, just because this category is young and these films are fun, that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t all take notice. For people in the animation world, this is the big show.

And the nominees are…

Persepolis
Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud

Why it is nominated: Persepolis could be the only politically relevant film to sneak past the Academy this year, in any category. It is the story of a young girl and her family who are forced to live under a conservative Islamic regime in Iran shortly after the overthrowing of the Shah. Drawing from her own life, director Marjane Satrapi has made Persepolis her labor of love, and it is being recognized for its immensely creative delivery and its non-preachy, relatable political backdrop.

Why it might win: The close-to-home nature of Strapani’s tale and the backstory behind how the film got made has captured the attention of so many, especially those within the Academy. If the Academy members are fit to deny Pixar another win, Persepolis could be their next choice.

Why it might not win: Under-exposure, plain and simple. Persepolis has received great critical acclaim, but never really made the splash that another, more widely appreciated nominee has.

Ratatouille
Brad Bird

Why it is nominated: From the moment Remy the rat enters your life as a viewer to the moment we see the Paris skyline for the first time to the film’s heartfelt finish, Ratatouille is as arresting a cinematic experience as any this year. Academy Award Winner Brad Bird (The Incredibles) has inarguably delivered the best work of his career in the form of a film that centers around a rat, voiced by comedian Patton Oswalt, who wants to cook fine French cuisine. Go figure.

Why it might win: Ratatouille is the odds-on favorite to win this award. It was single best reviewed film of the year by critics and has collected a room full of hardware during awards season so far (36 wins). It has also broken barriers by being nominated for an unprecedented 5 Oscars this year (Best Original Screenplay, Best Original Score, Best Sound, Best Sound Editing). If it doesn’t take home this one, it will surely pick another up along the way.

Why it might win: Lets face it, the Academy has been known to do some strange things. They could favor the more obscure Persepolis over the popular Ratatouille. Stranger things have happened.

Surf’s Up
Ash Brannon and Chris Buck

Why is it nominated: Explaining why Surf’s Up is nominated and a film like The Simpsons Movie is not is just too hard. This was a very cute, very fluffy film that was extremely unremarkable, yet still found commercial success. Thats not saying it is bad by any means, its just that it doesn’t hold a candle to the other nominees.

Why it might win: If the voting for the Academy Awards was held in Ohio or Florida by the general election committees of those two states, Surf’s Up would have a chance. C’mon hanging chads!

Why it might not win: For directors Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, the phrase “it was really nice to be nominated” will become their best friend — they will be using it often. They really should be happy though, as their film really beat out some other very deserving films just to get nominated.

Who Will Win?

Ratatouille

Who Should Win?

Ratatouille

Who Was Overlooked?

The Simpsons Movie


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