2020 Oscar Category Breakdown: Best Animated Feature

And we’re finally on the downhill. It’ll be category breakdowns every single day from here on out and then it’s Oscar weekend, baby.

Since the theme of this year is brevity, I’m not gonna do the whole rigamarole I normally do. We’re gonna focus on this year and this category and only discuss what we need to know to figure it out. It’s just gonna be how we got this category, what general information you need to know and a ranking of how likely each nominee is to win at the present moment.

We begin with Best Animated Feature, because that is one of the most locked categories of the entire night and we really don’t need to stress about it all that much.

Best Animated Feature

Onward

Over the Moon

A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon

Soul

Wolfwalkers

Based on the list of eligible films, this was the obvious category of five. The only real question was whether or not Pixar would get on twice. Soul was a gimme, Wolfwalkers was a gimme and you knew they always like to vote on Aardman. Netflix had the two movies in contention, with Over the Moon and The Willoughbys, but when you saw how each of the precursors went, you kinda figured Willoughbys was a surprise at best. And there weren’t really that many ‘surprises’ out there either. There was The Croods 2, but that felt like a compromise choice. So it pretty much came down to, “Would Onward get on as well?” And since it’s an original Pixar movie that got good reviews, was generally liked and would have been the favorite in the category if it were the only Pixar movie released this year. Typically when Pixar gets left off here it’s for lesser sequels. So ultimately we got what was the obvious category here.

Of course, that was the only intriguing thing about this category, because even before we knew what the final category was gonna be, we knew what was gonna win.

5. A Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon — They love nominating Aardman, but they never get close to winning. Wallace and Gromit in 2005 was the only time they’ve won, and that was in a three-nominee category without Disney or Pixar in it. This has no real shot.

4. Over the Moon — You could say that this is really #5, but in the end 4 v. 5 is irrelevant. I just have this at 4 because it’s Netflix and they spend tons of money promoting their films and that might get them some stray votes. Plus it’s Glen Keane and that might sway a few people too. In the end, though, it’s not gonna matter.

3. Wolfwalkers — In the end, this might be the second choice, but the fact remains that the remaining two films have a much higher profile going for them and these movies (Secret of Kells, Song of the Sea) have never won. So I know that, while people who’ve seen this as one of the two gimmes throughout nominations and people who like animation will claim this is the second choice and has a shot at winning… why? I mean, I’d be thrilled for them if it happened, but what makes anyone think enough people at large in the Academy not only saw this but would vote for it over the next two films? Kinda has to be the third choice until you see some life out of this.

2. Onward — It’s Pixar. Most years, this would be the automatic winner. But they have two films on this list and the other one has thus far won every single precursor. The reason this is second, however, is because this came out at the top of the pandemic, a lot of people watched this with their kids and a lot of people really seemed to like this. I think that memory will get this enough votes to be considered a solid second choice in this category. I don’t really see how this isn’t second choice by any metric outside of ‘well the other one is more artistic and I think it can win’. Of all the other films in this category that aren’t Soul, this feels like the only one that can legitimately pull off an upset.

1. Soul — This one’s basically a wrap. Almost never has a Pixar original movie been nominated in this category and lost. In fact, Pixar has only lost this category three times ever. One was in the first category in 2001, another was Cars losing to Happy Feet and the third was Incredibles 2 losing to Into the Spider-Verse. So that tells you right there that either this or Onward is gonna win the category. This, meanwhile, has won every precursor so far and is nominated two more times. Plus it legitimately has a shot at going 3-3 on the night. 2-3 is more likely, but it does have a case in the other category. Until this loses a precursor, I’m considering this a stone cold lock and not even concerning myself with anything about this category.

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