I was going to write a post about this, but my friend Pete Hammond at the L.A. Times beat me to it.
This has been a pretty good year for animated features and by my count we have fifteen films that are technically qualified for an Academy Award nomination. In order to qualify for five nominees (as opposed the usual 3) the producers of all fifteen of these films must enter their features for nomination. Then a 16th (or better yet, a 17th and 18th) film must qualify – the rules state that five animated features can be nominated if 16 films qualify.
Here are the fifteen that already played (or will play) theatrically this year for at least one week in Los Angeles, in order of release:
1. CORALINE – Focus Features.
2. MONSTERS VS. ALIENS – Dreamworks
3. BATTLE FOR TERRA – Lionsgate.
4. UP – Pixar.
5. ICE AGE: DAWN OF THE DINOSAURS – 20th Century Fox.
6. PONYO – Walt Disney Pictures.
7. 9 – Focus Features.
8. CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS – Columbia.
9. EVANGELION: 1.0 – YOU ARE (NOT) ALONE – Funimation.
10. MARY AND MAX – Sundance Selects/IFC.
11. ASTRO BOY – Summit Entertainment.
12. A CHRISTMAS CAROL – Disney.
13. THE FANTASTIC MR. FOX – 20th Century Fox.
14. PLANET 51 – Tri-Star.
15. THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG – Disney.
What, if any, other features are likely to open before now and the end of December? Perhaps The Secret of Kells, which had only one festival showing in LA. but no U.S. distributor that I know of. Perhaps the stop-mo A Town Called Panic, which recently played in NYC, will be given a run in LA? Maybe Disney, who are playing the direct-to-video feature Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure for one week at El Capitan in Hollywood, CA, next week, will submit it for Academy consideration?
With ten (most likely all live action) films being nominated in the Best Feature category, it only seems fair that the animated feature race is upped to five contenders. Personally, I think there are more than enough good films this year worthy of a shot at the prize.