Oscars to have only three Best Animated Film nominees

DreamWorks Animation

In a substantial blow to the animated film community, the Academy announced today that only 15 films have been accepted for consideration for the Best Animated Feature prize this year, meaning that only three films may be nominated for that Oscar. Had there been one more film accepted, the category would have increased to five slots. The 15 semi-finalists are: Alpha and OmegaCats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty GaloreDespicable MeThe Dreams of JinshaHow to Train Your DragonIdiots and AngelsThe IllusionistLegend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’HooleMegamindMy Dog TulipShrek Forever AfterSummer WarsTangledTinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue, and Toy Story 3.

At first glance, it seems to me that Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon, both big hits that also scored fantastic reviews, are the best bets, while Disney’s upcoming Tangled and Sylvain Chomet’s The Illusionist might battle it out for that coveted third slot. It’s a shame that in such a fabulous year for animation, so many worthy films now won’t make the cut. But if you look at it mathematically, it’s not so bad: 20 percent of the eligible movies will end up getting an Oscar nomination.

Follow me on Twitter (@davekarger) for more Oscar updates.


Comments (83 total) Add your comment
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  • Fatima

    I’m not sure that it was such a great year for animation actually besides the two you mentioned as sure things. Certainly not up to last year’s caliber.

    • mscisluv

      I agree. Those are really the only two standouts.

    • LOL

      Mega-mega-megamind, baby!

      • San

        Eh… not really.

      • Melissa

        Megamind was great!! Better than Toy Story 3, cuz I hate how Disney always has to have a seriously baddd guy in their films. Can’t we be happy – jeez they are animated for kids! Isn’t life a downer without having to make kids’ movies downers, too?!!

    • pragmatic

      I know not very many people saw it, but Guardians of Ga’hoole was incredibly beautiful and a good time. More fun than Megamind, at least.

  • Mac

    How is Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue eligible? Wasnt that a direct to video title?

    • Phil

      Tinker Bell was given a theatrical screening to qualify it for the Oscars. This wasn’t done because they believed it was Oscar worthy but to add a film into the mix in an attempt to expand the field to five nominees. By submitting Tinker Bell, Disney was trying to create a space for Tangled to be nominated later.

      • Ted Sheckler

        Not to mention, Walmart will not sell any movie unless it played in a theater.

      • Ian

        Either your info is incorrect or WalMart lies. They sell an incredible amount of direct to DVD titles. I can’t even begin to tell you how many cheap movies I’ve bought for my son that never screened anywhere and then we pass them on to friends to get some use out of. In fact I just discovered that there is now a Lost Boys 3 by venturing into the DVD/BD department of Walmart, and after checking into it just now saw that it had no theatrical release whatsoever.

  • Nerwen Aldarion

    The three nominees are going to be Toy Story 3, HTTYD and Tangled, that’s what I’m betting. Tangled is getting a lot of great buzz and of course TS3 and HTTYD are almost assured a spot.

    I do wish they had more slots though

    • David D

      I hope not, if for no other reason than it will be the first time that there are no nominees that AREN’T computer-animated.

      • paige

        sorry but thats pretty much how its gonna go

      • aragorn734

        Methinks it’s already too late for that. Weren’t the 2001 nominees Shrek, Jimmy Neutron, and Monsters Inc.?

      • Ian

        It sounds as if you’re assuming it takes no artistic talent to make a computer generated animated feature. If that’s the case, please post the link to ANY computer animation you’ve done.

  • Nathan

    Might as well just have one category, no way is Toy Story 3 not winning this!

    • Big Walt

      Yeah, I feel like if TS3 gets a Best Pic nom it shouldn’t even be nominated here. But that’s probably not fair.

  • lettergirl

    i admit i didn’t see it, but how in the hell is CATS & DOGS on there? ugh…just the commercials for that looked painful.

    • RyanK

      It’s eligible. The qualifications for eligibility have nothing to do with quality….clearly.

    • Petman1325

      If I’m not mistaken, isn’t the thing live-action with CGI or am I thinking of something else? Shouldn’t even be eligible.

    • Jose

      It’s eligible since it incuded CGI characters.

      • Big Walt

        So was Star Wars Episode 1 eligible? That doesn’t seem right.

  • Melissa

    why even bother, Toy Story 3 will win anyways ;)

  • RBys

    Cats and Dogs cannot be in this list. It has people in it. Also aren’t the animals sort of life like looking in the movie? That would be like nominating Snow Dogs or Air Bud or Snow Buddies just because the dogs lips move.

    • Al

      If Cats and Dogs is on the list, then Yogi Bear should be too.

      • Tony

        According to Academy rules, a film is admissible if at least 70% of the final footage is animation. Clearly they felt Cats and Dogs fulfilled that requirement, although there’s no chance of it getting a nomination.

  • Fog cue

    All of these films look the same.

    • Sal

      You’re an idiot.

  • john t.

    Toy Story 3, HTTYD, and The Illusionist would be my pics. and i’m PRAYING HTTYD upsets Toy Story 3. the Illusionist looks amazing, and considering it’s from the same director of Triplets of Belleville, i’m sure it’ll be a critics’ favorite.

    • Dave

      Ooh I didn’t know The Illusionist was from the same director of Triplets of Belleville. I’m gonna have to see it.

    • Big Walt

      Considering Toy Story has a very good chance of being nominated for Best Picture I can’t see it losing here.

  • David D

    This is so ironic, considering how incredible a year for animation 2009 was — there were so many excellent films that they had a hard time choosing five. (“Ponyo,” “A Town Called Panic,” “Mary and Max,” were left out, or they could have gone with “Shrek 4″ and “Monsters vs. Aliens.”) They’ve also changed the rules this year and NOT counted motion-capture films like “A Christmas Carol” as animated features. There’s controversy about this decision, but again, another worthy choice from a year ago and so few now.

    • David D

      Oh — wait — you’re right — Shrek was this year. So hard to keep these things straight. Okay, they also could have chosen “Horton Hears A Who” last year.

  • David D

    Forgive the cut-and-paste, but I just read this over at Hitfix:
    “According the organization’s bylaws, that means only three films can be nominated for best animated feature. To qualify for five nominees, such as in the 2010 race, only 16 films would need to have qualified.

    It turns out that 16 were submitted, but one was disqualified. It appears that film was “Yogi Bear.” Stunningly, if someone had picked up “Chico and Rita,” which would have easily made the cut, we’d have five nominees this year. The Cuban-set drama which debuted at the Telluride Film Festival is already opening across the world, but has no U.S. distributor.”

  • Cody

    Does anyone else think this may hurt Toy Story 3’s chances of winning this category. I think it does substantially HELP its chances of getting the Best Picture nomination however. But I don’t know that a lot of people would nominate it twice, especially since there are a limited number of nominees in Animation.

    • Cordy

      Are you really trying to say you think Toy Story 3 won;t be NOMINATED? That’s a joke. It will almost assuredly win this category, and will perform the same way UP did last year. This category is only voted on by animators, and there is no way they would not give Toy Story 3 a nomination, and HTTYD is the only one that could possibly upset it, solely because the animation in TS3 was scaled back a little to keep it in line with the past 2 films.

      • Melissa

        She talking about Toy Story 3 being nominated in the Best Movie category, not animated.

      • Big Walt

        No “she” not. You’re wrong.

  • Kim

    How To Train Your Dragon needs to win. That movie is amazing and deserves that golden statuette! ;D

    • Sean

      It deserves. But “far” less than Toy Story 3.
      Based on the movies which has been released so far, I think toy story 3 should win for Best Picture Category, not only for animated films category.

    • Beth

      Thank you! I’ve seen both Toy Story 3 and How to Train Your Dragon and there is no competition. It is HTYD’s Oscar!

    • steph

      I’m hoping HTTYD can pull out a win! I thought it was far more engaging than TS3, and the animation was just beautiful – especially the flying scene with Astrid and Hiccup on Toothless.

  • Laura K.

    Wasn’t the Shrek movie released under the title: Shrek, the Final Chapter? I know it was advertised and merchandised as Forever After, but I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the movie’s name.

    • Tony

      Shrek Forever After is the proper title, but some ads did name it The Fina Chapter. Very confusing and unnecesary, if you ask me.

  • Joe

    We all know that the Academy will give the Oscar to Toy Story 3 but im kind of bumd out that theres only three nominations slot

    Ive seen HTYD and in my opinion was better than Toy Story 3 just because the plot line was pretty much the same as 1 and 2. I know that HTYD had that Cliche story of a son who is not like his dad and community and he works hard to prove them wrong, but it was amazing that Dreamworks out did themselves and not have the Licensed Soundtrack or pop culture jokes. I hope the Oscar goes to HTYD

    Ive heard The Illusioist was O.K. so i hope Summer Wars gets nominated Great movie almost good as Toy Story 3 and HTYD

    • Sean

      I’m sorry Joe, but if you feel TS3 was pretty much the same as 1 and 2, then you didn’t get the point of the movie at all.
      How did it get 99% at Rotten Tomatoes.com if it is pretty much same with the other two?

    • john t.

      i agree. it’s the same “we’re busting out of here” story. it was fairly predictable. Spoiler: i knew where the story was going when they introduced the little girl at the daycare. the claw at the junkyard? saw that a mile away. Lots’o got the same treatment as Stinky Pete (being found by a new owner and now having a crappier lifestyle). while HTTYD may have had it’s predictability at times, i thought it was its storytelling that made it superior, plus its cinematography was impeccable.

      • mari

        But TS3 is so much more than just “busting out”. The 1st TS was not just about escaping Sid’s room. The 2nd TS wasn’t just about escaping the clutches of the toy collector. There is an added layer to all the TS movies. So to say that it is just about “busting out” is missing the entire point of the movie.

      • Frank

        John is right. It’s not only that the main plot was similar to TS2, but the same themes of growing old and moving on were the same. TS3 simply didn’t feel as fresh as the superior second installment.

      • john t.

        oh don’t get my wrong, mari. i FLOVED TS3. that and HTTYD are in my top 5 this year. i’m just giving HTTYD the slight edge. i guess it really depends on the connection with the audience. i enjoyed TS3 for the nostalgia, but i felt it wasn’t pixar’s best. oddly enough, UP is my all time favorite because it explored more of a “darker” side. i didn’t cry during TS3’s pivotal scene(s), but i shed a tear during the twist of HTTYD because in the end, not everything turned out perfectly. again, it comes down to storytelling, and i personally thought HTTYD executed it better :)

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