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Award Season Focus

Animation Oscar Nominations: Full Coverage

This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its Oscar nominees for the 86th Academy Awards. Below are the four races that are relevant to the animation community.

Of note, Pixar did not receive a nomination this year in either the animated feature or short category. The last time it happened at the Oscars was in 2000, a year in which Pixar did not release a short and in which the animated feature category did not yet exist. [UPDATE: Monsters University director Dan Scanlon issued a response to not being nominated.]

On a tangentially related topic, the Tom Hanks-starring Walt Disney biopic Saving Mr. Banks was almost entirely locked out of the ceremony, earning just one nomination for Thomas Newman’s original score. Anthony Breznican explained in Entertainment Weekly:

Saving Mr. Banks got shut down hard. For a long time it was considered in the top five nominees, but week after week it began to slip. The story of Walt Disney’s battle to make Mary Poppins simply did not have the endurance it needed. And it was also knee-capped just days before voting closed in a rather brutal (and factually challenged) speech by Meryl Streep last week, accusing Disney of being an anti-semite. That could easily have made the difference.

Best Animated Feature

The Croods
Directors: Kirk DeMicco, Chris Sanders
DreamWorks Animation/Fox

Nominee Statement from Co-Director/Writer Kirk DeMicco
“Today’s Oscar nomination is without a doubt the icing on the cake of an eight-year labor of love. We set out to make a film that everyone in the family—especially fathers—can relate to: a story about the power of change. You’d think as an Oscar hopeful I’d be up at 5:30 AM glued to my television, but instead I was in the nursery of my 10 month old twins experiencing the real power of change—that of diapers. This film has taken the work of over 300 talented artists at DreamWorks Animation to produce and on behalf of our entire crew, I send a huge thank-you to the Academy and raise a baby bottle in toast to our fellow nominees!”

Nominee Statement from Co-Director/Writer Chris Sanders
“The challenge of building the world of the Croods was that our reference disappeared a few million years ago. Croods was woven from pure imagination. This nomination is an acknowledgement and reward to the hundreds of artists who worked so hard to bring this very human story to life. On behalf of the entire Croods team, we wish to thank the Academy for this incredible honor.”

Nominee Statement from Producer Kristine Belson
“Wow… WOW! I’m so thrilled and so grateful to the Academy. But mostly, I’m so very proud on behalf of our incredible team of artists who crafted this film, our amazing voice cast, and most of all of our writer/directors Chris and Kirk. They made a movie that was both hilarious and moving and I feel damn lucky to be part of this remarkable team.”

Despicable Me 2
Directors: Pierre Coffin, Chris Renaud
Illumination Entertainment/Universal Pictures

Nominee Statement from Producer Chris Meledandri
“Receiving this nomination from the Academy is an incredible honor. I could not be more proud of our directors-Chris Renaud and Pierre Coffin, my fellow producer Janet Healy, our nominated songwriter Pharrell Williams and each and every member of the Illumination team in Los Angeles and Paris. It is their work that is celebrated by this recognition.”

Ernest and Celestine
Directors: Stéphane Aubier, Vincent Patar, Benjamin Renner
Les Armateurs/Maybe Movies/La Parti Production/Melusine Productions/GKIDS

Nominee Statement from Co-Director Benjamin Renner
“I was delighted to see the nomination for Ernest and Celestine. This is a wonderful recognition for our film and our team just to be nominated in the company of such other great films. It is the best achievement we could ever wish for.”

Directors: Chris Buck, Jennifer Lee
Walt Disney Animation Studios/Walt Disney Pictures

Nominee Statement from Directors Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee, and Producer Peter Del Vecho
Frozen’s journey has gone beyond our wildest dreams. We thank the Academy for this honor and look forward to celebrating the nominations with our crew at Disney Animation today.”

The Wind Rises
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
Studio Ghibli/Walt Disney Pictures

Nominee Statement from Director Hayao Miyazaki
“I and my colleagues are deeply honored that the Academy has chosen to nominate The Wind Rises, my last film, for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film. It is indeed a privilege for all of us who worked on the film to see it get this acclaim from so far away. I am, personally, very gratified to receive such an honor, and wish to express my sincere gratitude to the members of the Academy and thank everyone who has made the film such a success. I hope that many people will see the film after it opens in North American theaters soon.”

Best Animated Short Film

Director: Daniel Sousa
Producer: Dan Golden

Nominee Statement from Director Daniel Sousa
“I’m really thrilled and surprised by the nomination. It’s definitely reassuring to see that a small independent film that was produced with almost no budget and in my spare time can garner the recognition that it has. It’s proof that believing in a single vision and trusting your instincts can pay off, and hopefully the film will reach a wider audience this way. There were a lot of really amazing films this year that didn’t make it, so I have no illusions about how subjective the whole process is. But I’m enjoying the ride, and hoping that the recognition will open doors to other animators working alone in their basements.”

Get a Horse!
Director: Lauren MacMullan
Producer: Dorothy McKim

Nominee Statement from Director Lauren MacMullan and Producer Dorothy McKim
“On behalf of the small but mighty crew of hand-drawn and CG artists from Get A Horse!, we want to express our deepest gratitude to the Academy for the nomination. We hoped the short would be seen as a love letter to Mickey, to Walt and to the magic of cinema, and have been overwhelmed by the response.”

Mr. Hublot
Director: Laurent Witz
Co-Director: Alexandre Espigares

Nominee Statement from Director/Producer Laurent Witz
“It’s incredible and fabulous that our project has gone that far in international competitions. I’m at a loss for words to describe what I am going through at the moment. To be nominated among the five finalists at the Academy Awards is a consecration for myself, my co-director Alexandre Espigares, the film team, the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg and for all the people – like Stéphane Halleux – who took part in this adventure. Three years of intense and passionate work to make a dream come through. I am overjoyed that this film made in Luxembourg, made with the cooperation of the French region of Lorraine, has turned out as bearer of great hopes for the cinema in our greater region.”

Director: Shuhei Morita

Nominee Statement from Director Shuhei Morita
“It is a godsend! We are so glad that Possessions has been nominated and will be seen by a lot of people. I’ve struggled for the past few years about, “What is my anime style?” But Possessions is a piece in which I realized that I was satisfied with myself to be able to honestly put my soul in it. With just a few staff, we brainstormed some ideas off each other to come up with this film. We are so glad that such a title is accepted in the world. We are a bit nervous but looking forward to the final awards ceremony come March 2nd.”

Room on the Broom
Directors: Max Lang and Jan Lachauer

Nominee Statement from Directors Max Lang & Jan Lachauer
“This is incredible! We tried not to think about the possibility of getting nominated and kept telling each other, this won’t happen…and now…it really did happen! We would like to thank the Academy in the name of the whole team that worked incredibly hard on making this film. This nomination means a lot to us and we’re so happy our film made it this far.”

Best Visual Effects

Tim Webber, Chris Lawrence, Dave Shirk and Neil Corbould

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug
Joe Letteri, Eric Saindon, David Clayton and Eric Reynolds

Iron Man 3
Christopher Townsend, Guy Williams, Erik Nash and Dan Sudick

The Lone Ranger
Tim Alexander, Gary Brozenich, Edson Williams and John Frazier

Star Trek Into Darkness
Roger Guyett, Patrick Tubach, Ben Grossmann and Burt Dalton

Best Music (Original Song)

“Alone Yet Not Alone” from ALONE YET NOT ALONE
Music by Bruce Broughton; Lyric by Dennis Spiegel

“Happy” from DESPICABLE ME 2
Music and Lyric by Pharrell Williams

“Let it Go” from FROZEN
Music and Lyric by Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez

“The Moon Song” from HER
Music by Karen O; Lyric by Karen O and Spike Jonze

Music by Paul Hewson, Dave Evans, Adam Clayton and Larry Mullen; Lyric by Paul Hewson

Congratulations to all the nominees. The winners will be announced on Sunday, March 2, 2014.

  • Tomm

    Whoohoo! Go ernest and celestine!!!

  • Joe

    And the Oscar goes to….

    ITS A TIE!

    Frozen and The Wind Rises

    • Chocolate

      That would be something since last year’s tie between “Zero Dark Thirty” and “Skyfall” for the 2013 Academy Award for Best Sound Editing.

  • Max C.

    Pixar snubbed again? Ah well, Disney may have a chance here since Frozen is more mainstream than The Wind Rises and the most mainstream film is bound to win. Also congrats to Illumination for finally getting nominations, even if I was expecting DM2’s second nomination to go to Please Mr. Kennedy or something.

    • Cheese

      Well look at the bright side. At least Disney and Pixar’s “Monsters University” got the BAFTA nomination. If it wins, that will be really something. But if it loses to Disney’s “Frozen,” oh well.

    • Gustavo Dinosaurio

      I don’t get how being a mainstream film is not important at all when chosing the best picture but it is when chosing the best animated one

      • rnenno

        Probably because the Academy is made up of Arthouse people that really care that the Best Picture Oscar goes to a film with real emotional acting, but when it comes to the Best Animated Feature they’re like, “Animation? I’m too mature to go see some kids movie! What was the most popular this year? Well that must be pretty good, so I’ll vote for that…”

  • Felix

    Lol, you put a wrong picture for the film Gravity, that one is from a TV series Called “Defying gravity”.

    • AmidAmidi

      See, and that demonstrates the importance of VFX :)
      Thanks for the catch. Added the right one.

  • Cheese

    I hope “The Wind Rises” wins. True that Disney’s “Frozen” won the Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Picture, and would certainly take the Oscar win since last year’s Disney and Pixar film “Brave,” but “The Wind Rises” received better awards than “Frozen,” including the Online Film Critics Society Award, Board of Reviews, New York Film Critics Circle, San Diego Film Critics Society, Chicago Film Critics Association Awards, and many more. I’ve read it on Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb. Even though “Frozen” earned most awards than “The Wind Rises,” but “The Wind Rises” received better awards since Disney and Pixar’s “Brave.” For example: Disney’s “Wreck-it Ralph” received more awards than Disney and Pixar’s “Brave,” but “Brave” took the win for Best Animated Picture at the Golden Globes, BAFTA, and the Oscar. However, “Wreck-it Ralph” took the Best Animated Picture win at the Producers Guild Award and Annie Award.

    But who knows, I could be wrong, but it was just a thought. I know that “The Adventures of Tintin” won the 2012 Golden Globe Award for Best Animated Picture, but “Rango” won Best Animated Picture at the Annie Award, BAFTA, and the Oscar. For Disney’s “Frozen,” it might enter the same path as Disney and Pixar’s “Brave,” taking the win for Best Animated Picture at the Producers Guild Award, Annie Award, BAFTA, and the Oscar.

    I never got a chance to see “The Wind Rises,” but I believe that it’s going to be a great movie, maybe even better than Disney’s “Frozen,” which I kind of doubt. It may seemed a bit controversial, hopefully to Japan only and not the United States, but to me it looks like a real winner. I can’t wait to see it this February 2014. And when I do, I’m sure that I will like it a lot.

  • Larry Ruppel

    I’m really happy to see “Mr. Hublot” make the list! It was made at a small studio in Luxembourg with first-time writer/director Laurent Witz. As you can imagine they’re thrilled beyond belief about the nomination.

  • al

    How on earth that mere imitation of the first movie managed to make so much money and earn 2 Oscar nominations?
    And why M.U. the best cg movie of the year is nowhere near to be found?

  • Steve Henderson

    I see a lot of people online complaining about Monsters University being left out but it is the NFB that have been criminally left out in the shorts category here, after such a strong year with Subconscious Password, Gloria Victoria and Hollow Land to see none of them nominated is absolutely baffling!

    • Henry Cohn

      I think it’s criminal that Gloria Victoria didn’t get a nomination. Perhaps the Academy should stop trying to make obscure choices for the animated short, and just go with what’s popular.

  • Arthur Fonzarelli

    Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 is getting snubbed everywhere.

  • Smudge

    While utterly disappointed that ‘Rio 2096’ got passed over this year, I’m happy to see ‘Ernest and Celestine’ and ‘WInd Rises’ made the cut. Congratulations to all the nominees.

  • J.M.Walter

    The truth about the Animated Feature film Oscar.
    Who deserves what kind of Oscar in the Best Animated feature film category:

    – Best Animated Box office hit: Despicable Me 2

    – Best Animated movie that is intended to sell Barbie dolls and merch: Frozen

    -Most attractive visually and technically but ¨Meh¨ animated movie that has a better chance now that P I X A R ain´t nominated : The Croods

    – Most beautiful animated film: Ernest and Celestine

    – Most beautiful and moving animated film despite the fact the director and winner of such oscar won´t even show up to pick up the award consequently eliminating the possibility of winning: The wind rises

    • IJK

      Sounds like a lot of passive aggressive biased opinions going on here.

      • superbiasedman

        Aren’t you familiar with the Oscars?

        • J.M.Walter


          • Fernando Garcia

            How about you respond to IJK instead of complimenting those who agree and ignoring those who don’t?

        • IJK

          “Intended to sell Barbie dolls and merch” and “Most attractive visually and technically but ¨Meh¨ animated movie” sound more like a biased animator than a biased oscar voter.

          • superbiasedman

            Those do, yes. But the Oscars themselves are such an insular affair there’s obvious bias involved.

  • JH

    Surprised Pixar finally got snubbed, but Monsters U was nothing special. Maybe this is an apology of sorts for Brave winning last year. Very good set of nominees.

  • Pedro Nakama

    I think it’s a toss-up between “Frozen” and “Ernest and Celestine.”

    • Water+Mellon

      Or “Frozen” and “The Wind Rises.”

      • George Comerci

        I’m betting that as well.

  • Johnny

    No VFX nomination for Pacific Rim? What a load of crap.

  • Lucky Jim

    A very eclectic bunch of nominees for Best Animated Feature! Some thoughts:
    -The Academy has always been hard on sequels, so it’s not much of a surprise Pixar wasn’t nominated for Monsters University. Despicable 2 was far too popular not to nominate, though this is as far as it goes.
    -I always like it when it’s a nice mixture of mainstream and art house filmmaking. Nice to see some hand drawn animation back in the mix after last year’s CG/Stop-motion dominance.
    -I think Frozen will ultimately be the winner. At the moment it’s got the most momentum and it’s both critically-acclaimed and incredibly popular with audiences. Whenever Oscar voters get a chance to vote for a movie that both audiences and critics like, they usually take it. Plus the opportunity to finally reward Disney Animation in a category they themselves are partially responsible for might be too irresistible for voters.

    The Wind Rises suffers a little bit from its subject matter (how many older Oscar voters will care for it’s sympathetic portrayal of a man who designed planes that attacked Pearl Harbor?) and a curious lack of enthusiasm. I remember back in 2002, Spirited Away had considerably more enthusiastic acclaim than The Wind Rises. Could that change as it opens in a more wider release? Certainly, but the reaction seems to be more muted, which hurts it’s chances a bit.
    We shall see!
    -One nice thing about the Best Animated Feature category? Ernest and Celine will actually get a chance to be seen in America. That’s awesome.

    Congrats to all the nominees!

  • I was actually shocked to see Pixar snubbed again, this time by the Oscars. I thought they would be in the running for sure, based on politics instead actually earning a spot.

    I could see Frozen winning, but it would be just as awesome if The Wind Rises or Ernest and Celestine wins. Any of these three are worth the award winning. And I have to disagree with some, Monsters University was not the best animated film of 2013. Animation was great, but the storytelling lacked in comparison with Frozen and other nominees here.

    Congrats to the nominees, have a fun time celebrating now and at the Academy Awards. Well deserved.

  • BatmanJesus

    I really hope “Frozen” wins; it would be nice for that studio to finally get some of the attention it deserves.

    • George Comerci

      Now that Monsters University is left out, Pixar won’t be getting another undeserved win :)

  • Rufus Chickenplight

    I didn’t care for Croods. I felt the character designs had next-to no appeal (certainly not the appeal that Chris Sanders is known for) and the whole film felt weirdly paced.

  • IJK

    They are known, they make the news, but this and Tangled really seem to be re-sparking the studio’s “magic” after a long run of Meet the Robinsons, The Wild, Chicken Little and Home on the Range.

    Princess and the Frog didn’t exactly strike that spark, even if it did follow the formula. After almost a decade of not being able to outrank Pixar and then PatF coming out, showing that they were returning to their roots and people STILL didn’t turn their heads, it looked kind of grim for Disney features.

  • al

    Am I the only one here that I have found turbo better than the Despicable funfair?

    • Chris

      Yes, I am pretty sure you are :)

  • Inkan1969

    Congratulations to all nominees. The three wide release movies were all good. And I’m very pleased to see “Ernest and Celestine” and “The Wind Rises” get nominations.

  • Inkan1969

    I can’t wait to catch “Ernest and Celestine” and “The Wind Rises”, so I can see for myself how those two filims measure up to the other three (of those three, I thought that “The Croods” was the better film).

    I’m also looking forward to the annual package of short films nominees. I just hope they ditch that cheesy filler of the previous winners talking about the filmmaking process that they had in the last package.

  • Nikolas

    Surprised that “Saving Mr. Banks” wasn’t nominated for a writing/screenplay Oscar. The script was clever and well-written. With each viewing, I appreciate the film more. Also disappointed that Emma Thompson wasn’t nominated for Best Actress.

    I’d have preferred to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2 nominated over Despicable Me 2. Meatballs pushed the envelope more.

  • George Comerci

    I have to say, I’m happy Monsters U didn’t get in. Didn’t really get into that one. I’m rooting for Frozen and Let it Go to both win Oscars!

  • Taco

    The Wind Rises & Ernest and Celestine!!!! There’s only a snowballs chance in hell that they’ll win :-(… But CHRIST, they deserved the nod! Yay Daniel Sousa & Max Lang also got a nod!!! Bravo Academy, Bravo!! As far as I am concerned, all the other films, be they the eventual winners of a golden idol or not, can all go jump!

  • J.M.Walter

    I know Spirited away won
    I also know we never saw Miyazaki at the awards
    I do know he won´t be at this award show either
    So…you know.

    ps: I absolutely love the fact that he doesn´t even show up. I am not against it in case the sarcasm on my original comment was kind of ambiguous.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I’m happy to see The Wind Rises nominated (it’s a toss-up between Wind Rises & Frozen for Best Animated Feature winner), but I’m disappointed that Mamarou Hosada’s delightful The Wolf Children isn’t.

  • ez

    LOL a song from an obscure Christian movie got nominated

    • Fernando Garcia

      What’s wrong with that?

  • GW

    How The Croods ever became a nominee I don’t know. I’d vote it for the Razzie. The whole move is one long ADHD fest.

  • wgan

    strong nominees this time, as for MU, it is not toot bad but more feel like a TV release, i hope Dan Scanlon gets a chance to direct an original, he seems to be a cool guy.

  • wgan

    one little side discussion, something baffles me fundamentally about The Wind Rises, I haven’t seen it yet and I don’t doubt a bit that its beautifully told like any other Miyazaki’s works, but isn’t the whole idea behind it is like to show someone’s passion of designing a killing machine? imagine someone went on to direct a piece dedicates to the father of Nazi V2 and shows how passionate he was about the machine without mentioning what the machine is ultimately for? I know well about Miyasaki’s political stand but what made he choose such a story as a (likely) final work to conclude his career (I’m well aware of the passion part, but animation and a killing machine is deadly different two things which simply can’t share with each other).

  • David

    The funny thing is that Shuhei Morita’s Possession is a segment in an even larger film, the feature length film Short Peace. It could have been a contender for the award since enough Academy members saw one of its segments.