Oscars 2016 Category Breakdown: Best Animated Feature

Every year before the Oscars I break down each of the 24 categories. I do this to familiarize everyone with the category, how it typically goes, voting-wise, historically and also as a precursor to my picks article, allowing me to get most of the heavy lifting out of the way beforehand.

What I do is go over each category’s history, give you all the previous winners and nominees, then list the current year’s nominees. And then I’ll go over how each of the guilds (if there is a corresponding guild) have voted, how that corresponds to the Oscars (some guilds mean a lot to how a category will play out. Others mean nothing). It’s basically everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision when you make your picks on Oscar night. And then I also rank the nominees at the end in terms of where I see them in terms of their likelihood to win. So you know what the general favorites are.

Today is Best Animated Feature. AKA which Disney/Pixar movie is winning this year?

Year Best Animated Feature Winners Other Nominees
2001 Shrek Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius

Monsters, Inc.

2002 Spirited Away Ice Age

Lilo & Stitch

Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron

Treasure Planet

2003 Finding Nemo Brother Bear

The Triplets of Belleville

2004 The Incredibles Shark Tale

Shrek 2

2005 Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit Corpse Bride

Howl’s Moving Castle

2006 Happy Feet Cars

Monster House

2007 Ratatouille Persepolis

Surf’s Up

2008 Wall-E Bolt

Kung Fu Panda

2009 Up Coraline

Fantastic Mr. Fox

The Princess and the Frog

The Secret of Kells

2010 Toy Story 3 How to Train Your Dragon

The Illusionist

2011 Rango A Cat in Paris

Chico and Rita

Kung Fu Panda 2

Puss in Boots

2012 Brave Frankenweenie


The Pirates! Band of Misfits

Wreck-It Ralph

2013 Frozen The Croods

Despicable Me 2

Ernest and Celestine

The Wind Rises

2014 Big Hero 6 The Boxtrolls

How to Train Your Dragon 2

Song of the Sea

The Tale of the Princess Kaguya

2015 Inside Out Anomalisa

Boy and the World

Shaun the Sheep Movie

When Marnie Was There

They’ve given out this award 15 times. Pixar has won 8 times, Disney has won 2 times. The other five are Miyazaki, DreamWorks twice, Warner Bros. and Paramount. Of those five, only three of them involved Disney/Pixar losing. The other two times, they weren’t even nominated.

The branch has become pretty easy to gauge — when Pixar is on, quality-wise, they get nominated. When they do sequels, they get left off in favor of cool foreign stuff.

This year, there were really only six choices for the category, and they left Pixar off in favor of the double Disney films. Makes sense.

Best Animated Feature

Kubo and the Two Strings


My Life as a Zucchini

The Red Turtle



5. My Life as a Zucchini — It’s cute, it’s stop-motion, it’s well made. Something like this manages to make it on over bigger competition, but the minute it gets on, it stands no shot. Foreign film — no chance.

4. The Red Turtle — It was beautiful, but not enough people will have seen it to vote for it. There’s an alternative contender here, and this isn’t it. This has no shot. The nomination is the reward.

3. Moana — Okay, now’s where we start getting interesting. Curious that Disney has two films on this list and are basically campaigning against themselves. I’m not sure how it was decided that this was the one that isn’t the one they vote for, but it’s ended up that way. This has flown so under the radar since it came out, and it might be the better film on this list from Disney. I can’t see this having a small shot, but not a real enough one to consider it a favorite. There’s no momentum.

2. Kubo and the Two Strings — This movie is beloved. I don’t know if there’s enough firepower there for this to win, but it’s definitely the alternate. Not the favorite for sure, but if there’s anything that’s gonna take down Zootopia, this is the one. That Visual Effects nomination and Costume Designers Guild nominations are not to be taken lightly. This is a legitimate contender.

1. Zootopia — It has a Globe win and a PGA win and a BFCA win. An eventual BAFTA win will all but assure a win at the Oscars. Definitely the frontrunner, likely the winner. Very rarely do you get a consensus like this and not see an Oscar win come through.

– – – – – – – – – –

Tomorrow is Best Foreign Language Film.


One response

  1. Moana has a great soundtrack and some interesting animation, but story-wise it is too run-of-the-mill and the pacing of the movie is off. I guess in another year it would have a shot for diversity sake, but Zootopia is definitely the stronger movie since it actually has something to say about racism. It was also a little bit of a surprise, because most people didn’t think that the movie sounded interesting and then it won more or less everyone over. There is a chance that they will go for the more artistic Kubo, but I doubt it.

    I would give Moana the best song award over the Lala Land songs any day, though.

    February 5, 2017 at 9:46 am

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