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Award Season FocusAwardsFeature Film

19 Animated Features Submitted for Academy Awards

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced this afternoon that 19 animated features have been submitted for consideration for the Animated Feature Film Oscar this year. This field of contenders will be whittled down to between three to five nominees on January 16, 2014. In addition to the already familiar American features, the list includes films from France, South Korea, Canada, South Africa, Spain, Japan and Brazil.

  • Cloud with a Chance of Meatballs 2
  • The Croods
  • Despicable Me 2
  • Epic
  • Ernest and Celestine (Watch trailer)
  • The Fake (Watch trailer)
  • Free Birds
  • Frozen
  • Khumba (Watch trailer)
  • The Legend of Sarila (Watch trailer)
  • A Letter to Momo (Watch trailer)
  • Monsters University
  • O Apóstolo (Watch trailer)
  • Planes
  • Puella Magi Madoka Magica the Movie – Rebellion (Watch trailer)
  • Rio: 2096 A Story of Love and Fury (Watch trailer)
  • The Smurfs 2
  • Turbo
  • The Wind Rises

The Academy also notes that:

Several of the films have not yet had their required Los Angeles qualifying runs. 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. At least eight eligible animated features must be theatrically released in Los Angeles County within the calendar year for this category to be activated.

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

  • Broken: Pixar keeps winning.

    • canimal

      True but I don’t think Monsters U is going to win this time. I’ll be surprised if it does but then again Brave winning over Paranorman and Wreck-it-Ralph was a thing that actually happened.

      • Chese

        Actually, “Monsters University,” in my opinion, will win. Because it has a definite lesson. Let me put it in a theme:

        Some achievements can easily backfire.

        It happens all the time.

    • Cheese

      “Monsters University” provided an important lesson, unlike Disney’s “Frozen.” True that there is a lesson in Disney’s “Frozen,” but it was already compromised by Disney and Pixar’s “Brave.” Instead of a mother/daughter relationship, you have sister relationship. Plus there are a few scenes that are very much on the fun side. But in Disney and Pixar’s “Brave,” for example, the fun scenes provided are REASONABLE to keep Merida’s mother, Eleanor, from being killed by her father and the kings. The fun scenes in Disney’s “Frozen,” in my opinion, are just there to show off, but does express an escape…maybe.

      In Disney and Pixar’s “Monsters University,” those fun scenes are part of the obstacle courses to see if Mike and Sully can surpass to become the university’s best scarers. Plus, in my opinion, that movie reminds me of MY college experience. So yes, there’s a huge chance that this movie will be this year’s Academy Award winner for Best Animated Picture against Disney’s “Frozen.” Pixar always provided reasonable scenes that keep the movie in an excellent pace, while Disney Animation Studio kept a few scenes on a fun pace to attract audiences ever since the failure of “The Princess and the Frog”…maybe.

      So yeah, I vote for “Monsters University.”

      • Dana B

        Maybe is a baby that needs to be loved…until it says YES.

        But seriously, you’ve seen Frozen already? Cause you’re not giving much detailed comparison with Brave, unless you don’t wanna spoil anything about it here. And from what I’ve heard from early reviews, Frozen is being claimed as an instant classic and is on par with Beauty and the Beast. To me, that says a lot!

        There’s a difference between show casing a lesson and telling an emotional story. Sure the two can mix, but not every film needs to have a lesson to learn.

        I’m not trying to go against the idea of MU winning, but we should at least wait and see how it compares to it once Frozen hit theaters and voters decided who should prevail. But then again both films are from the same company, so not that it matters really…

        • Cheese

          I read the junior novelization of Disney’s “Frozen,” including Disney’s “Tangled” before it hits theaters, and it’s just like it.

          • Jen Hurler

            *spoiler free for frozen*
            Ok, I saw Frozen in theaters already and what you said is a little presumptuous for someone who did not see it. Yes, both do involve a girl dragging an unwilling potential love-interest on a quest, but their reasons are completely different. One does it for their own benefit, while the other does it to make amends and repair a broken relationship. And then you know, the tone, pacing and other things you’d only know by having actually watched both films are also worth noting. And to say that there isn’t a lesson in Frozen is to have completely missed the point of the film. With the one sister, there is the struggle of self-acceptance, and with the other, there are a few…that things aren’t always what they seem (with her sister/the reason for their estrangement, and with the men she meets), taking responsibility for your actions, and realizing that one should not give up on family, that family means no one gets left behind or forgotten a la Lilo and Stitch. I know that sounds corny, but, you know, it is a Disney movie–they’re all corny when you strip them down like this.

          • Cheese

            Sounds like Merida and Elanor coping with each other in Disney and Pixar’s “Brave.”

    • George Comerci

      Please. I think the Academy will have a little more sense this year. Monsters University was a more weaker film than most of Pixar’s work. I’m sure it won’t get an undeserved win. I’m hoping (with all my heart) that Frozen will win.

      • Cheese

        Disney and Pixar’s “Brave,” was a more weaker film too, and that won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture against Disney’s “Wreck-it Ralph,” “ParaNorman,” and Disney’s “Frankenweenie.”

        • Cheese

          Not to mention “Pirates: Band of Misfits.”

          • George Comerci

            Well, Pirates didn’t get a nomination.

      • Chris

        Have you seen Frozen?

        • George Comerci

          Well, no. Of course not. It isn’t out until the 27th. But I HAVE been reading the junior novel and researching about it, so I have a pretty good idea on how the story goes, and it is TEN times better than Monsters U.

  • Trenton Thompson

    I always wonder what criteria they use to determine what the best animated film is… I feel as though box office success or popularity shouldn’t even be a factor in the final decision. Is that just me?

    • Rufus

      Right, box office success and popularity shouldn’t count at all. Artistic value should be calibrated by the picture’s alignment with the Academy’s collective politics.

    • canimal


      This link should give you a good idea of what the so-called “voting criteria” is. Direct your attention to the Best Animated Feature and Best Animated Short categories in particular.

      • Trenton Thompson

        I just died a little inside.

  • Ivo Solther

    Cloudy?… really?

    • Tom

      Why not? Despite its problems, it’s beautifully inventive and it’s been moderately well-received by audiences and critics. Probably won’t get nominated, but deserves its place on the short list.

  • Mike

    Sheesh. I haven’t seen any of the foreign films yet, but it’s been a weak year for American feature animation. I’ve still got some mild hopes up for Tang..er, Frozen, but I’d love to see The Wind Rises take this award.

  • Dana B

    I’m looking forward to next year when we get to see an honest win. Yup, I said it…

    Monsters U
    The Croods
    The Wind Rises
    Ernest and Celestine

    Winner: Frozen(very wishful thinking/hoping)

    • canimal


    • Sounds pretty likely. Although, I’m secretly hoping A Letter to Momo will somehow get nominated (but outside of Ghibli no anime films ever have).

  • Strong Enough

    Hayao is going to win.

    • Cheese

      Why not, since he retired? He deserved it after “Spirited Away (hope Disney keeps the distribution rights for it instead of giving it away to GKIDS).”

    • Eduardo M.

      He didn’t. Fuuuu….

  • canimal

    My bets for the nominees are Cloudy 2, The Croods, Despicable Me 2, Frozen, and Monsters U. Possibly replace the Croods or Cloudy 2 with The Wind Rises. Frozen will probably win but if not, Despicable Me 2.

  • Joe

    Yeah this year was kind of a bummer for mainstream feature films. Monsters University, Despicable Me 2, and even Epic were decent movies but I can’t find these films to be “Oscar Worthy”. Yes I agree Box Office success should not determine a Nomination/Win since it applies to live action films (Hurt Locker beating Avatar). Heck Pirates Band of Misfits was under the radar for me and got nominated so anything is possible (in my opinion).

    The Best Animated Feature category does not have the same pedigree/respect than Short-Length category since the later is older and many of the shorts do have independent artistry input than the mainstream studio backing. Since the category is still young better films have been recognized after 2009 (when 5 films were nominated again. Pixar’s Up won that year). Still many people believe the academy is bias when Pixar wins every year like “Brave-Gate”. Next year will be interesting since The Good Dinosaur have been delayed till 2015 and Dreamworks entries look pretty weak too.

    With that being said here are MY Dream Nominations (non order)
    1. Frozen
    2. The Wind Rises
    3. Ernest & Celestine
    4. O Apostolo
    5. Rio 2096 or Madoka the Movie -Rebellion

    Realistic nomination predictions (non order)
    1. Monsters University
    2. Frozen
    3. The Wind Rises
    4. Despicable Me 2
    5. The Croods

    • Trl

      Madoka, an otaku anime? Not in a million years…

    • Eric Graf

      I’ve seen a test screening of “How to Train Your Dragon 2”. It’s many things. Weak is definitely not one of them.

  • wgan

    i say its time to drop the animated feature category, let the bad ones sink, let the good ones rise against live action films, the current one only makes people take the whole animation industry lightly.

  • Eric Graf

    Rather perturbed to see that “Wolf Children” didn’t get submitted. It had what appeared to be its qualifier run a month or two ago, and I thought it had an outside chance at getting nominated. I wonder what happened there?

    Also theoretically eligible but missing: “Escape From Planet Earth”, and (i think) “Silver Circle”.

    • Lisette

      Wolf Children!
      amazing movie.

    • Inkan1969

      I would’ve thought “Escape” would be submitted. Not that it had any chance at a nom, but I thought it was courtesy to submit your movie anyway, to help ensure a large number of noms.

      People have already mentioned “Escape”, “Wolf Children”, “Silver Circle”, and “The Congress”. Also, what about:

      My Little Pony: Equestria Girls
      The Last Flight of the Champion
      Approved for Adoption

      “Top Cat: the Movie” also got a US release, but I think that one’s too old to qualify.

      • Eric Graf

        The rules require that movies run for a consecutive week in a theater in LA County, before the DVD release.

        MLP only ran as a weekend matinee. And “The Snow Queen” and “Champion” never ran in a theater in LA County. (Close doesn’t count.)

        I believe “Approved for Adoption” would be eligible for next year.

        You’re right about “Walking with Dinosaurs”.

  • jer

    A part of me, while knowing there’s little to no chance of this happening, wants Madoka to win just for the weirdness of having a magical girl anime winning an Oscar. Though from this list that’s most likely going to be nominated, I’d say The Croods, Frozen and The Wind Rises have a good chance. Usually you see a Dreamworks, Disney (and or Pixar), nominated. Then if a Miyazaki was released that year it gets nominated usually as well. Despicable Me 2, I think, might make a nomination along with one more foreign title. While Monsters U was fun, I think Pixar might get overshadowed this year.

    • Heather

      I too would love to see Madoka win too. But I can’t see the Oscars picking it over Miyazaki.

  • Trent

    The only animated films that get nominated are either mainstream family fare or artsy foreign movies. Wish they would produce/submit an entertaining, non-pretentious animated movie for adults, like the Bakshi stuff. Hope “The Goon” gets made soon.

  • JWLane

    Oscar Moscar. Apostolo and Rio 2096 look like a lot of fun.

  • Ed

    Another mostly-mediocre year for animated features.

    • George Comerci

      I wouldn’t say so. The only mediocre films this year, to me, were Planes, Escape from Planet Earth, Free Birds, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2, and Turbo. Everything else was pretty interesting and brought something new to the table.

  • Satorical

    The best animated film of the year–by a mile–was Gravity.

    • Cheese

      But isn’t “Gravity” live-action though?

      • It was 80-90% animation.

        • Strong Enough

          so its not an animated movie then. still live action

  • Mister Man

    Surprised to see The Congress and Wolf Children missing from that list. Pretty depressing, as they would surely have made this race much more interesting.

    As it stands,

    – Ernest and Celestine
    – Frozen
    – Monsters University
    – The Wind Rises

    And that fifth spot is really up in the air. None of the other American releases I’ve seen this year are really worthy of being called Oscar nominees…

  • ajnrules

    I wish the Kaze Tachinu DVD would come out in Japan so I can actually watch it before the Oscars. Hoping it can win!

  • No Metegol (Fuss-ball)?? :/

  • How do people already want Frozen to win if they haven’t seen it yet? It doesn’t come out until the end of this month.

    • Jen Hurler

      Although I’m sure this doesn’t apply to everyone supporting it (some people are just die hard Disney fans), lots of people have already seen Frozen through various pre-screenings. I saw it a few weeks ago through the PGA, and I know there’ve been screenings of it here and there for others like DGA and BAFTA for a while now.

      Unfortunately, though, it does seem that many people here are voicing about it both positively and negatively AND admitting they’ve yet to see it. Reading book versions and even the screenplay will not give people an accurate idea of the film, merely the plot. You won’t have the music/songs/score, the delivery/tone/timing of the voice actors, characters acting, visuals, etc.

  • Rufus Chickenplight

    I thought Rio 2096 was a sequel to Rio. Ha-ha.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Where’s The Wolf Children?!!!!

  • Michael Howe

    *Worst case scenario*

    Academy Voter goes to a friends house who has kids, gives them the screeners, and says, “have your kids watch these cartoons, and tell me which one they liked best.”

    Friend says, “shouldn’t you be watching these, since you’re voting?”

    Voter: “Look, I don’t know why they made this stupid category, ok? I got more important things to do than watcha bunch of stuff made for kids.”

  • Cheese

    Disney and Pixar’s “Monsters University” is going to ROAR (HIT IT, KATY PERRY) this year’s Academy Award for Best Animated Picture in AMPAS!

  • Cheese

    Did I forgot to mention that Disney and Pixar’s “Brave” received LOWER reviews than Disney and Pixar’s “Monsters University,” and won the Academy Award for Best Animated Picture at the 85th Academy Awards?

    • George Comerci

      Good point. Maybe the Academy just really liked Brave.

  • Pedro

    I’d like to see Ernest and Celestine. From the trailer it looks good.

  • Satire

    Hell with all of that (Except Kaze Tachinu, sorry Miyazaki-sensei), only Madoka is the only one movie with Religion Group….

  • George Comerci

    I don’t think that popularity is what matters to the Academy. I guess they just liked Brave better that all the others. And while I think Brave was better than all except Wreck-It Ralph, the Academy has its own opinions, after all. Or maybe Brave just won by like, one or two votes. Whatever the reason, Brave just won that year. Even if it was an undeserved win.

  • GS

    My money’s on Smurfs 2!

  • Geomax

    Looking through this, I’m gonna guess the winners going to be either The Wind Rises or Frozen. Madoka definitely should win, but I highly doubt it, as it’s a non-Ghibli anime movie, plus the most of the voters are probably just going to see Rebellion without seeing the show.

  • Jen Hurler

    Cool I can post links to other people’s opinions too: http://blogs.indiewire.com/theplaylist/review-disneys-animated-fairy-tale-frozen-starring-the-voices-of-kristen-bell-idina-menzel-and-josh-gad-20131104
    Still doesn’t change the fact that one needs to see a movie before comparing it to other movies without taking them both at face value.

  • Anb

    Among all of them, I think A letter to Momo is the greatest achievement without a doubt… Too bad the Academy wont go for it…

  • Eomot

    Madoka magica should win it because by far it has the best characters, story line and most probably animation but its only going to go to one of the routine Disney or Pixar even tough half of these news ones cannot hold a candle to madoka magica as a series or a movie sad times

    • Fernando Garcia

      Or maybe some people prefer Disney or Pixar? That opinion does exist.

  • MovieJay

    I thought “Frozen” was very been-there-done-that and the songs overrated and plain. Beautiful animation and a funny sidekick character aren’t enough for me. And the premise that the one sister would act like a hermit for that long is kind of ridiculous. It’s not like she killed anybody. Feels like they made the older sister act like that just to fill out a feature length movie.

    Like how did she avoid her sister and family for those years? What happened at Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner? Did they slide a plate under her door? Why didn’t the sisters just stay connected via social media?

    We wait the whole movie for it to defy our expectations of princess stories, which is kinda lame because it fools us into believing up to that point that Disney has regressed back into all the usual princess in distress cliches.

    And don’t get me started on “Monsters University”. The first one was better, and there is no message in this one except that maybe you should drop out of college or that college just isn’t for some people, which is wrongheaded.

    Just because it’s funny in parts doesn’t make it good.

    I thought that story-wise, animated movies were pretty lackluster this year. As good looking as ever for the eyes but weak stories that weren’t memorable, other than “The Wind Rises”, which has stayed with me since Toronto. It’s not a typically exciting animated movie, so I wonder if it’ll have a hard time getting the votes. It’s a more contemplative movie about the nostalgia for days gone by and a love letter in general from Miyazaki to the Japanese people and the way the greet life with steady, quiet stoicism.

  • David Beljan

    FYI, there are many oscar winning movies that are movies of books…and those got nominated for best original screenplay. If they can for making a few changes then Frozen deserves it as well since they’ve made so many changes.

  • Monster Fortynine

    I hope Frozen wins, it will be the first oscar Disney animation studio win for best animated features. wow.. that is so weird

  • Fernando Garcia

    American animation > Anime

  • Fernando Garcia

    CGI > Anime

  • moviegal

    Epic is the most underrated animated film of the year. It had the best story line and characters and just overall quality of the movie. The only film i think was better quality was frozen. And that’s mostly because Im partial to a musical.