Best Animated Feature Category Might Have Five Nominees
Even though we're not an Oscar blog, that doesn't mean I don't like to occasionally talk about awards buzz. One category of the Oscars that I'm always nervous about is the Best Animated Feature Film category, which usually (and deservedly) ends up going to the latest Pixar feature (which it should this year too), but occasionally ends up going to someone else (like when Wallace & Gromit or Happy Feet won). The category has usually featured only three nominees, but word is that might finally be bumped up to five this year. It's not due to a change in rules, it's simply that there are enough animated movies to allow for five nominees.
Here are what the Academy rules state for the Best Animated Feature Film category:
"If there are 8 to 15 qualified animated features it triggers the category in any given year, and if there are 16 or more the nominee count can climb from three to five."
The only year previous that there were at least 16 animated films was in 2002, the second year after the category was officially introduced into the Oscars, and the year that Hayao Miyazaki's Spirited Away won. As we all know, every film needs to play for at least one week in New York and Los Angeles by the end of the year to be eligible for Oscar consideration (I think that still pertains to this category as well). Thankfully distributors are putting out all of their animated movies so that there may be enough to push the number up to 16 by the end of 2009. As of this moment, here are the 16 animated feature films (via Awards Daily):
» Astro Boy
» Battle for Terra
» A Christmas Carol
» Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
» Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone
» Fantastic Mr. Fox
» Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs
» Mary and Max
» Monsters Vs. Aliens
» Planet 51
» The Princess and the Frog
» Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure
I haven't even heard of Evangelion (a Japanese anime?) and don't know how the Tinker Bell movie counts (since I thought it was straight-to-DVD). However, not only is Awards Daily claiming these are the 16, but the LA Times' Oscar blogger Pete Hammond says that there are enough features to push the nominees up to five as well. If he says it, then I guess I should believe it. There's even a chance that the brilliant Belgian stop-animated feature A Town Called Panic may fill in a gap if necessary as well. It's an eclectic list, but enough. And why does it matter that there are five nominees? Well, it helps everyone if there are, right?
There was plenty of conversation and controversy when the Academy announced back in June that they would be upping the number of Best Picture nominees to 10 this year. A lot of people thought it would dilute and water down the nominations and even make the winning movie a less-than-perfect choice (at least until they changed the voting rules in August). Does anyone think that's the same with the animation category? Will it be watered down? I don't think so, especially considering the five that will probably be nominated (9, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs, Coraline, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Up) are actually great movies anyway.
I will definitely be looking forward to seeing if five movies do end up being nominated by the Academy this year and which five they actually are. Personally I feel like Pixar's Up is the shoo-in, but then again I may be a bit bias. Although I assume (and hope) that the majority of moviegoers out there agree, since Up was an incredible movie, on all accounts. Then again, this could be another year with an upset, and something like Coraline or Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs or even Mary and Max could take home the Oscar instead. You never know what the Academy might choose! Which animated movie will you be rooting for?