The New York Film Critics Circle (NYFCC) has picked the stop-motion/live-action hybrid film Marcel the Shell with Shoes On as the year’s best animated feature.
Over the past 21 years, only two animated features picked by the NYFCC have missed out on an eventual Oscar nomination, Waking Life and The Lego Movie, giving a major boost to Marcel the Shell with Shoes On’s campaign. Other recent NYFCC winners include The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021), Wolfwalker (2020), and I Lost My Body (2019).
Earlier, there were questions about whether even Marcel would be allowed to compete – in other words, if the film had enough animation in it to qualify for the category – but the Academy announced last month that the film does meet its standards for an animated film. And just yesterday, the Academy officially confirmed that Marcel is indeed in the race for best animated feature.
Adapted from Dean Fleischer-Camp and Jenny Slate’s series of viral shorts that have collected more than 50 million views on Youtube since debuting in 2010, the feature received glowing reviews and managed an impressive $6.3 million box office haul in a very limited theatrical release from A24.
Marcel’s big screen debut plays out like a documentary, turning on the inch-high shell that lives with its grandma Connie (Isabella Rossellini) and a pet piece of lint named Alan.
Content but not necessarily happy with their isolation, Marcel sets out and find a community for Connie and himself with the help of a guest who rents the Airbnb, in which the two live. As Marcel expands his search, he finds help in all sorts of unexpected places, eventually even meeting his tv idol, 60 Minutes’ Lesley Stahl.
Produced by Cinereach Production, Kirsten Lepore was animation director with Stephen Chiodo as supervising animation director and Edward Chiodo as animation producer.
Fleischer-Camp directed the feature adaptation from a script he wrote with Slate and Emmy-winning producer/director Nick Paley, based on a story the trio wrote with Elisabeth Holm, a producer on the film.