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Feature Film

Only 3 Animated Features to Receive Oscar Noms

Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced the animated features that have been accepted for consideration in the Animated Feature category of the Academy Awards. (We’ve posted the Academy’s press release in our CB Biz section.)

Fifteen features qualified:
* “Alpha and Omega”
* “Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore”
* “Despicable Me”
* “The Dreams of Jinsha”
* “How to Train Your Dragon”
* “Idiots and Angels”
* “The Illusionist”
* “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole”
* “Megamind”
* “My Dog Tulip”
* “Shrek Forever After”
* “Summer Wars”
* “Tangled”
* “Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue”
* “Toy Story 3”

Under Academy rules, “in any year when 8 to 15 animated features are released in Los Angeles County, a maximum of 3 motion pictures may be nominated.” Had one more feature qualified, the number of nominees would have expanded to five features.

The biggest losers in this scenario are the indies like Bill Plympton’s Idiots and Angels, Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist and Paul and Sandra Fierlinger’s My Dog Tulip, as well as the sleeper anime hit, Mamoru Hosoda’s Summer Wars. A field of five nominees would virtually guarantee one or two of them a nomination, but they face an uphill battle now. It’s not impossible though. In 2003, Chomet’s The Triplets of Belleville scored a nomination in a field of three, and Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s Persepolis did the same thing in 2007. They’ll have to claw their way to the top against a crowded field of big studio contenders like Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, Despicable Me, and Tangled.

  • Spencer

    (Jigglin’ dice) COME ON ILLUSIONIST!

    • Tkelly

      Have you seen the Illusionist? Its the most depressing film of the year.

      Can’t see this being nominated unless Sony buys a ticket.

      • Spencer

        Depressing or not, it’s damn beautiful… And if Illusionist wins it could mean big things for the traditional animation renaissance that’s starting to blossom…

        Of course I say this in the midst of a techno-renaissance, but I think it’s inevitable that traditional animation is going to come around as a hot commodity because of the skill it requires and its uncanny ability to stand out amongst the crowd in today’s special effects CG society.

        Currently in Miami, EVERYONE is doing CG. Doing several live animation events, I’ve come to see that frame-by-frame animation (stop mo or traditional) is something unique that people still love and are amazed by in a magical way that no sole computer can offer.

      • Liesje

        Beautiful or not, it’s damn boring.

  • Bryan K

    So how is Cats & Dogs 2 considered animated, but Avatar isn’t?

    • Spencer

      The Academy designated a proper percentage of how much animation there has to be in a feature in order for it to qualify.

      Still. A valid point, sir.

      • Mark

        I think they adjusted the rules so that performance capture wasn’t classified as animation anymore. Last year’s A Christmas Carol wouldn’t be eligible for the award if it had been released this year.

    • Rob T.

      “Avatar” was probably never submitted to the Academy’s animation branch for consideration, likely because James Cameron didn’t want his film to be viewed as a “cartoon”. What I’m wanting to know is how the “Cats & Dogs” movie made it on the shortlist and the Yogi Bear movie didn’t.

    • I think there should be more precise rules what considers as animation, or not, because lot of features like Star Wars saga or LOTR can be considered as animated features as well. Maybe it’s not a bad moment to question the whole Academy Award system and try to open the public debate on this subject, since there is more and more features like “My Dog Tulip” or “Idiots and Angels” which don’t have a chance with Hollywood blockbusters. IMHO it’s so obvious that Cats and Dogs are not animated feature.

  • GhaleonQ

    Argh. Summer Wars (2009’s best feature-length film, I think) and Idiots And Angels deserve a lot better. The Illusionist will be fine, given Chomet’s establishment in the U.S.

  • This is one of the few categories I still care about at the Oscars and they need to change this rules immediately, if they can expand the Best Picture category to allow ten nominations, they certainly should be able to change the rules on how many animated features can be nominated in a given year.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      You’d think in a situation like this, they’d give in and give us four nominations anyway since it was THAT close? I’d rather there was four, and perhaps give these indies another shot.

  • A pity- I was sure there’d be five this year again.
    I guess toy story 3 will be in best picture too. Deservedly too.

  • Isn’t Tinker Bell a DVD movie?

    • It got a brief theatrical run in LA before going to DVD.

      • Mark

        It really shouldn’t count. Isn’t there some sort of quality control for the films nominated?

      • Inkan1969

        This is not a nomination list. This is a list of films submitted for consideration. So long as the film meets the rules, any film can be voluntarily submitted. But of course very few of such films have even a chance at nomination.

      • Rob T.

        I’m sure one reason Disney submitted the Tinker Bell movie (which isn’t that bad, BTW; better than some of this year’s true theatrical animation, anyway) was to improve the nomination chances of some of the other movies they produced or distributed. Obviously “Toy Story 3” doesn’t need the help, but “Tangled” would have stood a better chance of being in the top 5 than it does for the top 3. Too bad “Earthsea” didn’t qualify, for whatever reason.

      • Inkan1969

        Rob, actually the reason is that “Earthsea” is too old. It’s been years since “Earthsea” opened in Japan. That’s the same reason why “The Trouble with Terkel” wouldn’t qualify either.

      • Rob T.

        Thanks for clarifying. One more reason to be peeved at the Sci-fi channel, whose made-for-TV version of “Earthsea” preempted the American release of the Ghibli version for several years. (Maybe that’s why Disney didn’t push Earthsea the way they did Ponyo, because they knew it wouldn’t be in play for the Oscar. Well, that and they knew it wouldn’t bring in much at the American box office.)

  • Mark

    Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon will almost certainly be in the top three. I’m doubtful about Tangled (although I haven’t seen the film yet), but Despicable Me won’t crack the top three, not a chance. So there’s gonna be one slot left open and I’m sure one of the films you’re worried about will fill the position nicely.

  • I read that “Yogi Bear” may have been disqualified; if it hadn’t been, we would have had the required 16 possibilities to allow a five-nominee slate. Any insider information on this disqualification?

  • amid

    Perhaps we shouldn’t count out “Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole.” This is the Academy, after all, which in 2006 gave the prize to “Happy Feet.”

    • Mark

      I could understand it being nominated for best Art Direction, but not Best Animated Feature. Still, the Academy makes some pretty baffling choices sometimes.

      • Shawn’s Bro

        When the choices become baffling, the award becomes meaningless.

      • Karen

        “I could understand it being nominated for best Art Direction, but not Best Animated”

        I can’t. The “art direction” was horrible.

      • Mark

        I didn’t like it either, but other people I know did. I figured it was a matter of taste than it actually being bad.

    • Rob T.

      I wouldn’t overstate its chances either. This is also the Academy that nominated only one CGI picture last year, along with two stop-motion pictures and two hand-drawn pictures (one of which had hardly been seen by anyone but animation buffs, and darn few of those).

  • Chris Sokalofsky

    I just read on ComingSoon.net that The Academy has just adjusted its announcement, stating that they had now received enough qualified films to increase the nominations to 5. I haven’t seen an official source, can anyone else confirm this?

    Official quote below:

    We’ve already mentioned two of the potential Oscar nominees in the feature-length animation category above–Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon–and with fewer animated features this year than last, that will limit the nominees to three, which means there’s one more slot, which will likely go to Disney’s fairy tale reimagining Tangled rather than DreamWorks Animation’s Megamind because it harks back to more traditional Disney animation.

    UPDATE: Of course, no sooner do I post the above, completely neglecting and forgetting a number of other possibilities including Universal’s Despicable Me and The Illusionist, then the Academy announces that they have animated submissions that they can have five nominations, so probably The Illusionist and Tangled will get in and then one more.

    Read more: The Oscar Warrior’s Fall Awards Preview – ComingSoon.net http://www.comingsoon.net/news/movienews.php?id=71583#ixzz15OrDZjqf

  • Rob

    What stipulates how many shorts are nominated? That’s one category I always feel awards it to the weirdest, and usually far from the best, contender.

  • Johnno

    Ideally I’d wish it would be:

    Toy Story 3
    How to Train your Dragon
    Summer Wars
    The Illusionist
    Legend of the Guardians/or/Tangled

    And then Toy Story 3 wins, obviously, and well deserved. I personally rooting for recognition of Summer Wars and Illusionist as nominees.

  • Darkblader

    I find it very likely that whoever is running the awards on Oscars is braindead for animation. Although its very likely Toy Story 3 will win.(Pixar nearly always wins). I just hope the illusionist wins, it deserves the award. Besides i got a feeling it wont since nearly everytime that they do this. They ALWAYS go for Disney and Pixar. Nobody gives a chance about other animation besides Disney and Pixar. Avatar was just pathetic. And speaking of avatar, I found a very interesting video on somebody slamming down on Avatar.


    • Peter W

      Judging by the way the english language was abused in that video, that “somebody” was you.

  • Inkan1969

    Maybe someone can submit a movie before December 31, pushing the list to 16?

    • amid

      Inkan1969: The deadline to submit entry forms was earlier this month and is now passed. The December 31 date doesn’t mean anything. These are the eligible films for 2010.

  • Toonio

    What I would really want to see is any of the mayor players with BIG $$$ and previous Oscar accomplishments drop from the race to open at least one space to any of the independent films.

    Be the change you want to see in the world.

  • Iain

    Like last year with “Up”, I feel as if “Toy Story 3” is already getting quite a recognition from the Academy with the eventual Best Picture nomination and should step outside of the Best Animated Feature category. Very unlikely it would happen, but I’d figured I would share that little thought.

    Either way, my choices aside from “Toy Story” would be “How to Train Your Dragon”, “The Illusionist”, and “Summer Wars” (where was “Ponyo” last year?)

    My definite no-nos would be “Alpha and Omega”, “Cats & Dogs 2”, and “Shrek Forever After”.

    • Rob T.

      “Ponyo” was a favored candidate for last year’s field of five, although never as sure a thing as “Up”, “Fantastic Mr. Fox”, “Coraline” or “The Princess and the Frog”. The excitement in last year’s nomination countdown came from wondering whether “Ponyo” (directed by a previous Oscar winner) or “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” (an unexpected “family-friendly” hit) would claim the fifth spot. (As it turned out, “The Secret of Kells” was nominated instead.)

  • Vzk

    I’m sure they’re going to nominate only family-friendly movies just so they can make those cringeworthy segments like this year’s Oscars, or the time Happy Feet, Cars, and Monster House were featured.

  • Rob T.

    Hmmm…I guess in some ways the nomination race here just got more interesting, seeing that so many prognosticators had been predicting the same movies for this category–Toy Story 3, How to Train Your Dragon, The Illusionist, Tangled, and Despicable Me. Obviously Toy Story 3‘s spot is secure, but The Illusionist in particular is no longer the sure shot it would have been with five open nominations.

    I’ve been trying to watch all the movies on the Academy’s shortlists for this category, with the aim of writing a book on the subject (unless someone else writes it first). So far this year I’ve seen the Tinker Bell movie plus all but one of the titles that have appeared in my local theaters so far (and I’m not looking forward to watching the “Cats and Dogs” movie, since I didn’t much care for the first one; oh well, at least I have an excuse to put off the Yogi Bear movie). Looking forward to The Dreams of Jinsha, Idiots and Angels, The Illusionist, My Dog Tulip, Summer Wars and Tangled.

  • Steve


    Ive seen almost all the films on the list and I feel this will be whats nominated

    • Animate ED

      These are the exact same three I would guess at too.

  • Jeremy Knight

    Even though the story didn’t entirely compel me, I’d like to see Summer Wars winning, solely for for the purpose of breaking expectations and getting foreign animation the recognition it deserves.

    I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that Alpha & Omega and Cats & Dogs got submitted, though.

  • Dutchie

    I wonder if the academy will nominate L’Illusioniste, after Chomet said “F*ck the Oscars, I don’t wanna be there” and went to a party in Belgium instead last time he was up for 2 awards. People in the US were not happy about that.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Sounds like a true artist to me!

      • kc_am

        It is no secret that Chomet hates everything American so why would the Academy honour him?

        For those who havent seen The Illusionist his pointless disjointed movie is “NOT” very good.

  • Daniel J. Drazen

    I’m thinking they’ll play it safe and go with “Toy Story 3,” Mastermind,” and “How To Train Your Dragon.” While I’d love to see “Despicable Me” and “Summer Wars” rounding out the field of five (if Chris Sokalovsky’s post is true), it’ll probably be the first three in anything like real contention.

  • Lib

    How something like Cats and Dogs can be accepted for consideration, not just as an animated movie, but as a movie in general, is beyond me.

    • Steve Gattuso

      They say they’ll consider it. But if the jury’s consideration isn’t “Over our dead bodies,” I’ll have Scrappy Doo tattooed on my penis.

  • Am I the only person who thought Toy Story 3 was “quite good” but not the greatest thing ever? I watched the trailer and I basically got the plot of most of the movie. You can say the problem is that the trailer explained too much, but I recently watched Scott Pilgrim Vs The World after watching the trailer and reading the six comic book collection and the little changes they introduced still took me by surprise several times during the movie. In Toy Story 3 there were details I didn’t expect but most of the plot was pretty predictable.

    That’s cause there were not big risks and it was pretty similar to T.S. 2. There were a couple of hilarious moments (Mr. Tortilla Head) and the ending was nice, but again, probably the easiest one they could come up with given the situation. I didn’t understand why LOTSO was so evil. Yeah, the flashback was visually dramatic and intense, but the explanation was something along these lines “a kid abandoned him and he turned evil”. So he started being a jerk with other toys? It would have made more sense that he had planned a revenge against humans or something. We didn’t see anything new about the regular characters either. It felt like an homage to the whole group of toys, which is nice, I guess, but I enjoyed Woody’s/Buzz’s interactions in the other two and here there was very little of that.

    I thought HTTYD had its problems too and I won’t extend here , just read Michael Barrier’s opinion in his web cause I think exactly the same. But overall I’d probably pick this one over TS 3.

    • Spencer

      I conferred with a studio head about that film over lunch. He was absolutely ga-ga over it, but I just couldn’t agree with him and said that Wall-E was better. But rather than talking about the film in itself, he talked more about how TS3 was more “marketable” than Wall-E. He had a point, but it said nothing to the actual artistic differences.

      I think TS3 was too much talk and not enough show or action like the previous efforts. The first stands alone as a masterpiece.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Of the films on the list, Toy Story 3 and How To Train Your Dragon are the only ones I’d call shoo-ins. Having seen both films, I would put Despicable Me in over Megamind for the 3rd spot if the Academy goes conservative, and The Illusionist over Summer Wars if they feel a bit more adventuresome.

    That’s if there’s only three noms. If they have expanded to five, then I’d take all of the above films except Megamind. (Didn’t hate it, but it didn’t stick with me as much as the others.)

    And as long as we’re handicapping, I put Alpha and Omega just beating Shrek Forever After and Cats & Dogs for the Razzie. Unless Yogi Bear somehow earns a nom, whereupon it will win in a landslide.

  • Spencer

    Lest we forget that Bill has been nominated twice for the Oscar and never won. If he makes it to the final 3, Idiots has a fighting chance.

    Fighting idiots…. Nothing funnier than that.

  • I’m sure Pixar have enough little statues to melt them down and combine them into a big one…
    I like Pixar and all, but please let something else win this year. *weep*

  • mawnck

    I suggest posters read up on the nomination process before they come up with these fanciful explanations of how the Academy “thinks.” Nominations are not decided by a secret committee meeting in a smoke-filled room.

    Now the winners on the other hand…….. ;-)

    Anyway, I’m going with Toy Dragon Tangled, Toy FTW, with three caveats: Haven’t seen The Illusionist or Summer Wars yet, I think Tangled’s chances will depend a great deal on how successful it is, and this is one CLOSE year. Would love to see Idiots and Angels get in, but not holding my breath. (Of course I wasn’t holding my breath for The Secret of Kells either.)

    I’m pretty confident that Dragon will rule the Annies, since everyone has just recently decided that they hate Lasseter, and it appears Tangled isn’t zorch enough for the cool kids.

  • e

    the truth is very few academy members vote in the animated feature category, their children do. if you know who the academy members are you know they are not going out of their way to watch kids movies. the kids come home after school go through the mail and pull out all the screeners.

  • sera

    Dragon, Toy Story 3 and Tangled should be the three movies nominated. Although to be honest if Tangled had a little improvement in its songs/story I would have wanted it to win. Only because it’s not a sequel and Dragon was cute but the characters didn’t grab me except at the end. However they’re all very good movies and it’s going to be a tough choice.