GKIDS Heats Up the Oscar Animated Feature Race

Today, family animation distributor GKIDS announced that they will qualify four animated features for consideration in the Oscars Best Animated Feature Film category. The films are Goro Miyazaki’s From Up On Poppy Hill (Japan), Jean-Francois Laguionie’s Le Tableau (France), Joann Sfar and Antoine Delesvaux’s The Rabbi’s Cat (France), and Rémi Bezançon & Jean-Christophe Lie’s Zarafa (France/Belgium).

GKIDS has had an outsized influence in the animated feature category over the past three years, earning three Oscar nominations–Secret of Kells in 2010, and A Cat in Paris and Chico & Rita in 2012. Their strategy has been simple and it doesn’t involve producing a single frame of animation; rather they pick up U. S. distribution rights to foreign animated features that otherwise will never appear in America. It’s a win-win for both GKIDS and the filmmakers.

Even the major film studios benefit from the situation. That’s because the four films that GKIDS will enter this year push the current number of animated feature contenders to 15. A minimum of 16 features is required to have five nominees in the category, and it is very likely that will happen now.

The 15 films currently in contention are as follows:

The Lorax (Illumination Entertainment/Universal)
The Pirates: Band of Misfits (Aardman/Sony)
Madagascar 3 (DreamWorks Animation)
Brave (Disney/Pixar)
Ice Age: Continental Drift (Blue Sky/20th Century Fox)
ParaNorman (Laika/Focus)
Hotel Transylvania (Sony)
Frankenweenie (Disney)
Rise of the Guardians (Dreamworks Animation)
Wreck-It Ralph (Disney)
A Liar’s Autobiography: The Untrue Story of Monty Python’s Graham Chapman
Zarafa (Pathe/GKids)
The Rabbi’s Cat (TF1/GKids)
Le Tableau (Rezo/GKids)
From Up on Poppy Hill (Studio Ghibli/GKids)


  • Aaron B.

    GKIDS is acquire more foreign films and acquiring them faster with each passing year, outstanding. Although I understand that nursing the NYICFF is a high priority for them, I’m hoping that they’ll eventually expand their efforts to distributing their acquisitions more widely (theatrically).

    • Dave, GKIDS

      We’re actually a separate company than NYICFF (which is a non-profit), although we’re sister orgs and share a lot of influences. We’re looking to getting the films wider and wider, beyond just the major cities that have arthouse theaters. Despite the popularity of animation in general, and even with Oscar noms and great reviews, it can be hard to get mainstream attention with a film that does not walk and talk like a conventional CG feature. But we think the more audiences are exposed to these films, the more they’ll learn to enjoy something different.

      • Aaron B.

        Makes sense. Best of luck moving forward, big time.

  • Warhead

    Wait, I honestly thought Disney still held the rights to distribute Studio Ghibli films. What happened?

  • Inkan1969

    Disney is not distributing “From Up on Poppy Hill”?

  • http://www.youtube.com/user/jimgisriel?feature=mhee Jim Gisriel

    Wait why isn’t the The Secret World of Arrietty on this list? Did they submit it last year or does studio ghibli not want 2 of there films to compete against each other?

    Certainly i hope it was or will be submitted for best animated feature. Arrietty was my favorite animated film I’ve seen in 2012.

    • Dave, GKIDS

      Arrietty came out much earlier in Japan, so it does not qualify this year.

      • Sotiris

        Why didn’t GKids submit “Tales of the Night”?

      • Dave, GKIDS

        Tales, although really beautiful, is a 3D conversion of a series of short films Michel Ocelot previously made for French television. Plus some new shorts. But it won’t qualify for the same reason Finding Nemo 3D won’t…

        Still worth seeing though!

    • Andrew Kieswetter

      I’m disappointed that Arrietty isn’t being nominated. I’m also amazed that Ponyo wasn’t nominated two years ago.

  • JM WALTER

    3D Sequels should not be able to compete.

    Seriously How can you even compare a thing like The Rabbi´s cat, or Paranorman with MADAGASCAR 3 or ICEAGE what is it…6?

    • http://dtoons.com Failed Art Student

      The good thing about all these movies regardless of how bad some of them are, is that it allows the nominations to go from three to five, which means more exposure to less known animated films.

  • http://rubikunsreviews.livejournal.com Rubi-kun
  • http://oye-studios.daportfolio.com Seni Oyewole

    How come we’re getting “The Rabbi’s Cat” so late? I literally had to go to another country to watch it a year ago.

  • Eric Graf

    Opening today at the El Capitan – “Secret of the Wings”. Also eligible.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Has the ‘Liars Autobiography’ movie got animation by Terry Gilliam or someone in it?

  • MonsieurU

    OMG, two movies I’ve worked on !!!

    Hopefully some people in the US will be able to see these films. Rabbi’s cat didn’t do that well domestically (that is, in France). Zarafa did okay.

    Enjoy.

  • JMatte

    I was almost giving up on ever getting the chance to see Zarafa and Rabbi’s Cat. So glad that they are getting distributed! Also looking forward to the others as well, but these are the two I had my heart set on.

  • MonsieurU

    Just don’t expect big budget quality. Because by american standards, these films are VERY low budget.
    But we did our best under the circumstances.