The Academy has released the list of animated features in the running for the category. In all, 26 films have qualified.
The nominees will be announced on February 8, with the awards ceremony following on March 27.
Here is the full list of qualified films:
- The Addams Family 2
- The Ape Star
- Back to the Outback
- Bob Spit: We Do Not Like People
- The Boss Baby: Family Business
- Fortune Favors Lady Nikuko
- Josee, the Tiger and the Fish
- The Laws of the Universe: The Age of Elohim
- The Mitchells vs. The Machines
- My Sunny Maad
- Paw Patrol The Movie
- Pompo: The Cinéphile
- Poupelle of Chimney Town
- Raya and the Last Dragon
- Ron’s Gone Wrong
- Sing 2
- The Spine of Night
- Spirit Untamed
- The Summit of the Gods
- Wish Dragon
A few initial observations:
- Fewer films have qualified than in the past two years. The record stands at 32, which was achieved in 2019, the last year before the pandemic. Covid has pushed several big films that were due to open this year, including the latest Hotel Transylvania and Minions installments, into 2022 (but it also knocked several 2020 films into this year).
- Disney, which dominates this category in any case, has a full four films in the running this year. We believe this is a company record. Disney inherited one of those four, Ron’s Gone Wrong, through its acquisition of Fox.
- Netflix also has a record number of qualified films in the category: five. Three of those of films are Sony pick-ups – The Mitchells vs. The Machines, Wish Dragon, and Vivo – but next year the streamer is on track to release at least five of its own internally-produced animated features.
- GKIDS is somewhat diminished this year. The indie distributor has a phenomenal track record in this category: it has been nominated 12 times (including for last year’s Wolfwalkers), and as recently as 2019, it accounted for almost a third of all qualified films. This year, it only has three. Netflix in particular has started to pick up the kinds of prestige indie titles that might once have gone to GKIDS.
- The number of qualified anime films has been consistently high in recent years, and so it proves again: six this year are from Japan. The one with the best shot at a nomination is Belle, the latest from Mamoru Hosoda, whose last film Mirai remains the only non-Ghibli anime feature to be nominated at the Oscars.
- Flee, probably the year’s best-received animated feature, has qualified, as expected. But it has also qualified for documentary feature and international film (as Denmark’s entry), and may focus its campaign on one of those categories (which, after all, aren’t sewn up by Hollywood studios).
- A notable absence: Where Is Anne Frank, the new film from Ari Folman, whose Waltz with Bashir earned a nomination in the international feature category in 2009. Based on the life of the famous Holocaust victim, the feature premiered at Cannes but has generated little hype. It doesn’t help that a U.S. distributor has not yet been announced. Folman told Indiewire in September that he’s cautious about striking a deal: “It’s very important that [the distributor is] someone who understands that this is not an art house movie — it’s a children’s movie.”
Images at top, left to right: “Belle,” “Encanto,” “Sing 2,” “The Summit of the Gods”