Most of the major awards for films released in 2022 have been handed out now, but with Oscars voting wrapping up tomorrow and the awards less than a week away, we’ve picked our favorites from the animated feature, animated short, and visual effects categories.
These picks aren’t endorsements. We’re not speaking about the quality of any of the films. We’re only predicting who we think will take home trophies on March 13.
The favorite. Despite being one of the last animated features to release in 2022, Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio felt like the favorite for most of the year. The film is a technical marvel, features an A-list voice cast, has Netflix marketing money pushing its campaign, and del Toro has the strongest awards pedigree of any filmmaker in the animated feature category. Over the past several weeks, the film won the Golden Globe, Critics’ Choice, VES, BAFTA, and Annie awards for best animated feature.
If not Pinocchio, then who? The obvious answer feels like Disney’s Turning Red. For starters, it’s a Pixar film and Disney has historically owned the animated feature category, taking the trophy 13 of the last 15 years. When it hit Disney+ it became a cultural and streaming hit overnight, and the film’s catchy original pop songs quickly became viral hits. Not “We Don’t Talk About Bruno” viral, but viral nonetheless.
The favorite. None of the shorts in this year’s field seem to have quite as much momentum as The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse; last month it scored a BAFTA and an Annie. Similarly, none of the other four nominees have the marketing power of that film, which was acquired by Apple and has seen a corresponding PR push that dwarfs what many features are able to do.
If not The Boy…, then who? This was the hardest of the three categories to predict. At the Annie Awards, Portuguese indie filmmaker João Gonzalez’s short Ice Merchants took the top prize (The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse’s win was for special production). Sara Gunnarsdóttir’s My Year of Dicks won a Cristal for best tv production at Annecy. Lachlan Pendragon’s An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It already has a student Oscar win. And none of the shorts bring creator credentials like those of The Flying Sailor’s multiple Oscar-nominated directors Wendy Tilby and Amanda Forbis.
The favorite. Perhaps one of the least in-doubt awards at this year’s Oscars is the best visual effects prize. In any other year, films like Top Gun: Maverick or The Batman would be in with a shout. But this isn’t any other year, and there is practically no doubt that James Cameron’s Avatar: The Way of Water, which could almost certainly qualify as an animated feature if its producers were so inclined, will take home the Oscar for best visual effects. Bolstering the film’s case, beyond its multitude of tech innovations, The Way of Water was the big winner at last month’s Visual Effects Society Awards, taking home nine prizes from its record-breaking 14 nominations.
If not Avatar, then who? With all due respect to the other nominees, and they are due plenty of respect, it’s gonna be Avatar.
Cartoon Brew’s 2023 Oscar Picks
Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox, and the Horse
Avatar: The Way of Water