The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced the nominations for the 96th annual Academy Awards, which will take place on March 10.
This year’s animated feature category has been tough to predict, with only a few films feeling like locks and so many deserving candidates. It was also the largest field of qualified films in Oscars’ history, with 33 features eligible for this year’s awards.
Hayao Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron feels like the pack leader heading into the Oscars, having recently become the first foreign film to win the Golden Globes animated feature award. The film has been an overwhelming hit with critics, and audiences have shown up in droves to see it. It’s the highest-grossing original anime film in U.S. box office history.
Sony’s Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is another strong contender, winning the Critics Choice Award for best animated feature earlier this month. Directed by Joaquim dos Santos, Kemp Powers, and Justin K. Thompson, Across the Spider-Verse is the sequel to 2019’s animated feature winner Into the Spider-Verse. The film was a runaway success with critics and audiences and was the second-highest-grossing animated feature released in 2023.
Netflix and Annapurna’s Nimona, from directors Nick Bruno and Troy Quane, was a streaming hit for the platform and wowed critics when it was released last summer. This is the fifth year in a row that a Netflix title has been nominated in the animated feature category. Before being picked up by Annapurna, Nimona was a Disney film produced at Blue Sky Studios before that company was shut down by Disney and the film was scrapped.
Peter Sohn’s Elemental always felt like a likely contender to score a nomination. After an inauspicious start at the box office, the Pixar film managed an impressive comeback and became the third highest-grossing animated feature released in 2023 worldwide. The film got mixed reviews when it world premiered at Cannes, but critics warmed to it over time. Audiences loved it, too, and Elemental was the most-watched movie premiere of 2023 on Disney+ and became one of the platform’s top-10 movie premieres of all time in just its first five days of streaming.
Without a doubt, the big animation surprise this year, but an altogether welcome one, was the Academy’s decision to nominate Pablo Berger’s Spanish animated feature Robot Dreams. The film was a major buzz title at Cannes, where indie powerhouse Neon made it one of the first big pickups at the Marché du Film. However, the company only gave the film a small Oscar-qualifying run in the U.S. in 2023 while planning a wider release for 2024, so many people know very little about the movie if they’ve heard of it at all. That strategy looks genius now, as the film’s notoriety instantly elevates with the Oscar nomination.
This year’s animated short category is refreshingly independent, with no major studio fare present among the nominees. We’ve been covering this year’s animated short race extensively, including features on all of this year’s nominees: War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko from director Dave Mullins, Ninety-Five Senses from Jared and Jerusha Hess, Letter to a Pig from Tal Kantor, Our Uniform from Yegane Moghaddam, and Pachyderme director Stéphanie Clément.
Here are the animated titles nominated for this year’s Academy Awards. Disappointingly, no animated films were nominated for any non-animation-specific categories.
- The Boy and the Heron, Hayao Miyazaki and Toshio Suzuki
- Elemental, Peter Sohn and Denise Ream
- Nimona, Nick Bruno, Troy Quane, Karen Ryan, and Julie Zackary
- Robot Dreams, Pablo Berger, Ibon Cormenzana, Ignasi Estapé, and Sandra Tapia Díaz
- Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Kemp Powers, Justin K. Thompson, Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, and Amy Pascal
Animated Short Film
- Letter to a Pig, Tal Kantor and Amit R. Gicelter
- Ninety-Five Senses, Jared Hess and Jerusha Hess
- Our Uniform, Yegane Moghaddam
- Pachyderme, Stéphanie Clément and Marc Rius
- War Is Over! Inspired by the Music of John & Yoko, Dave Mullins and Brad Booker
- The Creator, Jay Cooper, Ian Comley, Andrew Roberts, and Neil Corbould
- Godzilla Minus One, Takashi Yamazaki, Kiyoko Shibuya, Masaki Takahashi, and Tatsuji Nojima
- Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Stephane Ceretti, Alexis Wajsbrot, Guy Williams, and Theo Bialek
- Mission Impossible Mission: Impossible – Dead Reckoning Part One, Alex Wuttke, Simone Coco, Jeff Sutherland, and Neil Corbould
- Napoleon, Charley Henley, Luc-Ewen Martin-Feneouillet, Simone Coco, and Neil Corbould
The 96th Academy Awards will take place on Sunday, March 10, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California.
Pictured at top: Robot Dreams, Elemental, The Boy and the Heron, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, Nimona