Oscar Qualified Features

The Academy has released its list of animated features that qualify for Oscar consideration. 14 titles. Had Universal deemed to enter The Pirates Who Don’t Do Anything and if Warner Bros. submitted Star Wars: The Clone Wars, or had Fox entered Space Chimps, we might have had the opportunity for five nominees. As it is Academy members will pick three from this selection:

Bolt – Disney
Delgo — Fathom Studios
Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! — 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky
Dragon Hunters — Futurikon/Peace Arch
Fly Me to the Moon — Summit Ent./nWave
Igor — MGM/ Weinstein Co./Exodus
Kung Fu Panda — DreamWorks Animation
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa — DreamWorks Animation
$9.99 — Regent Releasing
The Sky Crawlers — Production IG./Nippon/Sony Pictures Classics
Sword of the Stranger (Stranger Mukoh Hadan) – Shochiku/Bones/Bandai
The Tale of Despereaux – Universal
WALL-E — Disney/Pixar
Waltz with Bashir — Sony Pictures Classics

If anyone knows where and when The Sky Crawlers and Dragon Hunters are booked for their one-week Oscar qualifying release in Los Angeles, please let me know. I’m curious to see these.

Any thoughts on which three the Academy may nominate?


  • foad

    My first choice,Waltz with Bashir . stunning pictures.

  • amid

    There was one truly remarkable animated feature this year that blew me away and which in my opinion deserves the Oscar. That’s Nina Paley’s Sita Sings the Blue. Unfortunately I don’t think it received an LA theatrical release before the deadline, so hopefully it’ll qualify for 2009.

  • Gobo

    WALL-E and Kung Fu Panda are shoo-ins.

    For the third I’d guess either Desperaux or Bolt, though without having seen them it’s just speculation.

  • http://benmation.blogspot.com Benmation

    I’d say it will more than likely come down to the big studios. WALL-E is a safe bet, and i’d say Kung Fu Panda will probably get the nod as well. I’d love to see either Horton hears a Who or Waltz with Bashir in the top three…but it’s gonna be a tough decision this year!!!

  • Dr. Pepper

    WALL-E

    Waltz with Bashir

    Kung Fu Panda

  • http://twobenswamp.blogspot.com Emmett Goodman

    I hear you on SITA SINGS THE BLUES, Mr. Amidi. I saw it this weekend and thought it was fantastic. And I am devastated to hear about the situation Nina is in right now with copyright issues and finances. I agree, she should be able to submit it next year.

    This year is kind of tough, but I agree that both WALL-E and KUNG-FU PANDA are shoe-ins for obvious reasons. It would be nice if WALTZ WITH BASHIR (or $9.99) made the third slot, because it would gain some credibility for indie features.

  • Dave

    Amid> Agreed.
    I think it’ll come down to Wall-e/Waltz and Panda as nominees.
    I haven’t seen Waltz so don’t know if it’ll deserve to win.

  • http://ambienceofmedia.com/ DW

    Fear(s) of the Dark is another film that wasn’t submitted. It’s disappointing that we only get 3 highlighted films this year when there were more than enough qualified to be entered to get to 5.

  • http://www.maketeanotwar.co.uk Aaron Foster

    Panda is rubbing his hands in glee, look at that! He knows he’s gonna be one of the nominations.

  • ex-indi

    Waltz with Bashir
    $9.99.
    Everything else is crap.

  • Mister Pain

    Space Chimps? Are you kidding? Maybe if they needed to pad for numbers, but that thing is barely cheapest-tv quality design/animation, let’s not even mention the ‘writing’…. another great concept served horribly under-cooked.

  • http://www.segaltoons.com Steve Segal

    I guess Bill Plympton’s Angels and Idiots didn’t qualify either.

    my guesses for nominees:

    Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who! – 20th Century Fox/Blue Sky
    Kung Fu Panda – DreamWorks Animation
    WALL-E – Disney/Pixar

    I haven’t seen the indies, but I’m seeing Sita tomorrow night.

  • Saturnome

    Woah, woah, there’s a couple I never even heard about. I’m kinda curious for 9.99$, and certainly excited to see Waltz with Bashir someday. Surely a nomination would help them get a good release around here.

  • Steve Gattuso

    Kung-Fu Panda
    Wall-E
    Waltz With Bashir

    Even if they could nominate five, I wouldn’t care much about any others but these.

    I’m glad “Sita Sings The Blues” isn’t up just yet. I’d like it to get a chance for ’09.

  • ericC

    SkyCrawlers was… unique. Some really wonderful nuanced animation, strange but interesting story/setting… can’t see it seriously being a contender for any awards though, very odd film all around.
    Does anyone know WHY Idiots and Angels isn’t on this list? I’ve yet to see the film, but the reviews are terrific. A question of it not being submitted? Some kind of requirement it did not meet? Just curious. Would love to see an independent nab this award some day.

  • PorkyMills

    The Oscars are a popularity contest…the winner is most certainly going to be Wall-E.

  • Jody Morgan

    I think everyone agrees that WALL·E and Kung-Fu Panda are certain to get nominations (though it’s equally obvious not everyone agrees they should). It’s tricky to guess the third nominee before Bolt and The Tale of Despereaux have been released; I’m leaning towards Bolt getting the nod, unless Despereaux opens well (or enough Academy voters see Waltz with Bashir).

    On a related note, can anyone hazard a guess as to why Universal and Fox each decided not to submit a qualifying film, since they each have a movie (The Tale of Despereaux and Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who!, respectively) that would stand a better chance at getting a nomination if there were 5 nominees instead of 3?

  • Matt Sullivan

    I wont hope for anything until animated features are allowed to be considered for BEST PICTURE. Not that garbage, demeaning BEST ANIMATED FEATURE category.

    They’re basically telling us, “You don’t make real movies.”

  • http://coffeeandtv.net Tony Wilkey

    I’ve seen Dragon Hunters and it was a real disappointment. The 3d locales and art direction are phenomenal, but the story and characters are shallow and incredibly juvenile. I know it’s a kids’ film, but they could have easily improved these elements without sacrificing a G/PG rating.

    Oh, well.

    I’m also surprised that Studio 4°C didn’t attempt to qualify any of the Genius Party series.

    Anyway, it looks like it will come down to Wall-E, Kung-Fu Panda, and Waltz with Bashir.

  • Eric Graf

    I think Bashir has a good shot at the nom, but it would be for political reasons, not because it actually deserves it. It’s mostly a talking heads movie, with cheap-looking animation and even cheaper histrionics. It gets its power entirely from the subject matter – it doesn’t add any of its own. I’d much rather see Igor get the nom than Bashir.

    $9.99 wasn’t nearly as good as Bashir. Let’s don’t just heap praise on indie features because they’re indie features. (BTW – Fly Me to the Moon is also an indie feature. What you got against it, huh?)

    Sadly, I think the numerous festival runs Sita has received this year would make it ineligible for future Oscars. Anyone wants to tell me I’m wrong, I’d sure be glad to hear it, because if it was on that list up there, it would have a good shot at pulling the upset of the century. And deservedly so. It’s an indie feature worth getting behind (financially as well: http://www.ninapaley.com ).

    Two more for the AWOL list: Roadside Romeo (ran in Artesia a few weeks ago, which should count) and Tinker Bell (two weeks in the El Capitan a month prior to the DVD release, which also should count). If Bolt doesn’t get a nom, Disney will have no one but themselves to blame.

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    Bolt

    Kung Fu Panda

    Wall-E

    I feel that Ponyo will win Best Animated Feature Oscar at the 2009 Awards.

  • http://ambienceofmedia.com/ DW

    ericC –

    Idiots and Angels is indeed fantastic, but it hasn’t had a weeklong commercial run in Los Angeles to qualify for Academy Award consideration. That and the fact there appears to be no plans for one by year’s end is why it is missing from the list.

  • rachel

    My guess is also Wall-E and KFP with the third slot as a wild card . . . haven’t yet seen Waltz With Bashir, but the trailers just made me nostalgic for last year’s Persepolis, which, as another indie animated film presenting a heavy subject, had such irrepressible charm & heart in its seemingly simple lines and seems head & shoulders above Bashir if the trailer is any indication.

    I know there’s some resentment about the big studios always walking away with the prize, but at the same time you have to value what they do–Pixar always produces stunning work and KFP was actually a huge step in the right direction or Dreamworks. Not saying the independents don’t deserve a nod, just saying the big guys actually did a great job this year so at least if they win again they’ll have done something to earn it.

  • Chuck R.

    To Jody Morgan,
    I imagine the big studios are holding back their lesser films because they are more interested in the big win than nominations. I think Wall-E and Kung Fu Panda are very strong contenders for the nomination, with films like Bolt, Waltz, and Horton rounding the list of likely candidates.

    I’m guessing that Fox feels it has a shot at the top prize with Horton. By adding Space Chimps to the qualifying list, Horton is much more likely to be one of five nominees, but then it has to compete with two more films like Waltz and Bolt to get the top honor.

  • Chuck R.

    Two other reasons to not submit a qualifying movie:

    1. Campaigning for films to win requires money and energy. Best to put all those resources behind your best prospect.

    2. Oscar races are political. Waving a sub-par production in the faces of judges could erode the goodwill a studio needs to win for a truly honest effort. e.g. “Hey, Judges! In addition to Wall-E you might also consider Tinkerbell —just in case you’ve got pixie dust for brains and don’t know a film from a marketing ploy.”

  • http://voyagesextraordinaires.blogspot.com Cory Gross

    *They’re basically telling us, “You don’t make real movies.”*

    Yep… It’s like “Beauty and the Beast” slipped in and the Academy was like “Oh gawd, we better not let THAT happen again…”

  • Rob T.

    Though I too deplore its potential “ghetto-izing” effect, I think a separate animated feature Oscar category is as justifiable as the separate documentary feature category.In both cases, they honor film craft of a kind that the traditional Oscar category divisions aren’t set up to honor.

    With few exceptions, the traditional Oscar categories simply aren’t set up to recognize the craft of animated filmmaking. The exceptions–writing, music, sound editing–honor functions with few differences from their live-action counterparts.

    There’s no fair way to rectify this situation short of instituting new categories for storyboarding, animating, vocal performance, etc., along the lines of the Annies, and one sympathizes with AMPAS for not wanting to go there. Yet it would be just as unfair to let animated films compete only in the categories that existed prior to 2001. Thus, the Best Animated Feature category, a stopgap measure–simple, but necessarily imperfect–which, as mentioned above, honors a type of film craft that would otherwise go mostly unhonored at the Oscars.

  • Chuck R.

    Well-put, Rob T.
    I’m in favor of the new category as well. I also give the Academy credit for instituting the short-subject category back in the 30′s when animation could easily have been dismissed entirely, and recognizing animation with special achievement Oscars (Snow White, Toy Story) when it’s clearly due.

  • Michael F.

    $9.99 sounds like a very interesting film. That film probably will not be nominated due to its rather experimental nature though. I think Wall-E will probably win if only for the fact that it’s been the best reviewed film of the year so far.

    Whether or not an animated film will ever be nominated for Best Picture ever again is questionable though. After all, most nominations for that category go to serious pictures. The Academy’s funny bone is practically nonexistant! Annie Hall was the last comedy to win Best Picture and even with some occasional comedies (which most animated films that are in the mainstream tend to be) like Sideways on the list they never get on there! In short I don’t think that Academy would take a high consideration into this format that judges don’t take too seriously like they did with Beauty and the Beast.

    And yes, the Oscars are a popularity contest but not as much of one as the Grammys…if that show was based on actual merit the Hold Steady would be getting more nominations than Rhianna!

  • Iain

    I assume the three are:
    - Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who
    - Kung Fu Panda
    - WALL-E

    Or if “WALL-E” just gets nommed for Best Picture, the lil’ robot’s place for Animated Feature might get taken by “Waltz with Bashir”.

    OR if they actually will do 5 noms
    - Bolt
    - Dr. Seuss’ Horton Hears a Who
    - Kung Fu Panda
    - WALL-E
    - Waltz with Bashir

  • Eric Graf

    “Hey, Judges! In addition to Wall-E you might also consider Tinkerbell —just in case you’ve got pixie dust for brains and don’t know a film from a marketing ploy.”
    —————————–

    You haven’t seen Tinker Bell, have you.

  • Chuck R.

    Eric, No, I haven’t, and if it’s better than Wall-E, or good enough to warrant a “for your consideration” ad, you have my apologies up front.