2011 Oscars Update: Best Animated Feature Shortlist

This is, after all, an Oscar blog. And this is the first major update for the Oscar season.

I’m sure there were others, but these are the first concrete facts we have for a category that matters.

They announced today that 18 films were submitted for consideration as the Best Animated Feature of the year. The most important thing about that number is — we’ll have five nominees this year.

Last year, less than 16 films were submitted, so the category only had three nominees. This year, there will be five. And, from the looks of it — Pixar will not be winning. Scandalous, right?

Here’s the list of films:

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Alois Nebel
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked
  • Arthur Christmas
  • Cars 2
  • A Cat in Paris
  • Chico & Rita
  • Gnomeo & Juliet
  • Happy Feet Two
  • Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Mars Needs Moms
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango
  • Rio
  • The Smurfs
  • Winnie the Pooh
  • Wrinkles

I was gonna post pictures and posters and stuff, but let’s be honest — of those 18, only like 10 have any chance whatsoever.

Alois Nebel, A Cat in Paris, Chico & Rita, Wrinkles — I have no idea what the fuck they are, and to see them make it on would be a Secret of Kells-type shock. Especially considering the amount of strength in the American films.

Now, of the remaining 14, here are the ones that clearly have no shot at being nominated whatsoever:

Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked, Hoowdinked Too! Hood vs. Evil, Mars Needs Moms, Arthur Christmas, Gnomeo & Juliet, The Smurfs.

It’s a combination of lack of quality, lack of box office gross, or, especially in the case of the last two films on the list — too much competition. (And Arthur Christmas, I’m assuming it’ll not be as liable to get votes as the remaining films.)

That leaves 8 films with any possibility of being nominated. Here they are:

  • The Adventures of Tintin
  • Cars 2
  • Happy Feet Two
  • Kung Fu Panda 2
  • Puss in Boots
  • Rango
  • Rio
  • Winnie the Pooh

Now, it’s tough to narrow down because — shit. Right?

You have to assume Tintin. There’s no way that’s not nominated.

And you have to assume the Pixar nomination. So Cars 2 is in.

But where do you go from there?

Winnie the Pooh was magical, but was it noticeable enough to get in? I say the Disney factor, plus the fact that (I believe) people need to watch the films helps it get on the list. But it’s not a lock by any stretch of the imagination. But, if people need to see all the films before voting (like Best Documentary), then this gets in.

Happy Feet Two — does it get in? Probably, right? If the first one won this category (over the first Cars, coincidentally)? If it’s of any quality, one assumes this gets on.

The industry loves Kung Fu Panda. If you remember, it swept the Annie Awards over Wall-E (though I think that’s because Pixar was like, “Just don’t vote for us, we don’t need any more awards, let someone else win”). Does that mean it gets on? Well, here’s its comptition:

Rio — that bird movie. Made lots of money. But it’s clearly of the least quality of the remaining films. Thing is, though, DreamWorks tends to get a film on, quality or not. They got fucking Shark Tale nominated, for Christ’s sake. So don’t rule this out, even though it shouldn’t be nominated at all. Money speaks for a lot.

Puss in Boots — it was pretty delightful, in a kiddie way. I mean, I didn’t like it, but a lot of people found it delightful. Maybe that helps it get on. I say no, just because — quality. But, again, DreamWorks. They have pull. So who knows?

Rango — a lot of people thought this was a lock back in March. Now — looks to be on the outside looking in. I bet DreamWorks can corral more votes than this can. This is clearly of better quality than those previous two films, but in a shootout between this and DreamWorks, I might actually take DreamWorks. This all may be moot, though, since technically Kung Fu Panda is spot #5 and that is also DreamWorks.

Still, though. Tight list. Seems like 3-4 spots are sewn up with 4-5 films all fighting for that fifth spot. (Tough Tintin is technically DreamWorks, isn’t it? So does that mean those other ones don’t need to — ? Does it even matter if they’re from the same company? I just assumed that the industry likes to get the big names nominated .)

Anyway — should be interesting. And it’s nice to be able to talk about the Oscar race before Thanksgiving. Kind of like when the NFL Draft happens, and it gives you something to talk about in the dark period between seasons.

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